Blog

Jabots, Bow Ties, and Bad Asses
March 20, 2018

Jabots, Bow Ties, and Bad Asses

The Jabot

It would seem easy to assume that the bow tie derives its name from it’s “bow like” look, but you would be wrong. The bow tie actually derives its name from the French version of the cravat, or jabot (pronounced “ja-bow”). It’s pretty hard to imagine the jabot as badass, as it was a frilly lace thing of substantial size. That said George Washington did wear one and I suppose he could be considered a “badass”. US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Notorious RBG, not only wears a jabot but is said to have a large collection of them from all over the world. It’s safe to say she is a badass.

Read more

Sensu, Hanakatoba, Seigaiha, and Colorful Neckwear.
November 19, 2017

Sensu, Hanakatoba, Seigaiha, and Colorful Neckwear.

We love Japanese fabrics that are chock full of imagery and meaning. The "Fans & Flowers" necktie and batwing bow tie by Olaf Olsson are no exception. The fabric we used for this neckwear includes folding fans, four different flowers, and a wave motif, all of which have deep meaning and long histories in Japan.

Read more

Kasuri: the Traditional Art of Japanese Dyeing and Weaving.
November 02, 2017

Kasuri: the Traditional Art of Japanese Dyeing and Weaving.

Traditional Japanese Kasuri fabrics are created using a method of weaving together threads that have a pattern dyed into them. The patterns are created using a resist dyeing technique known as Ikat. This resist dying technique is combined with traditional indigo dye making to create the distinctive blurry edge patterns that make Kasuri textiles so unique and beautiful. 

Read more

Mount Fuji, Hokusai, and Olaf Olsson Neckties and Batwing Bow Ties
August 23, 2017

Mount Fuji, Hokusai, and Olaf Olsson Neckties and Batwing Bow Ties

Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan. It lies 60 miles to the south-west of Tokyo and on a clear day it is possible to see the snow capped peak of the mountain from the city. Mount Fuji, with its perfectly symmetrical cone, is one of the sacred symbols of Japan. It is also a religious center and is surrounded by temples and shrines and thousands of people come to the mountain every year to visit and climb this majestic natural wonder. The mountain has inspired great artists and photographers to try to reproduce it’s beauty. The most famous reproductions probably being the “36 Views of Mount Fuji”, by Katsushika Hokusai.

Read more

Katagami, Katazome, and Olaf Olsson Neckties and Batwing Bow Ties
August 13, 2017

Katagami, Katazome, and Olaf Olsson Neckties and Batwing Bow Ties

Katagami is the Japanese art of using paper stencils to create patterns on cloth and paper. Katagami has been used in Japan for centuries with evidence of stencils that date back to around the 6th century. It gained increased popularity during the mid to late 1800’s when Japan opened up trade with the west.

Read more

The 1970's and Weapons for Kids
June 12, 2017

The 1970's and Weapons for Kids

I felt so lucky when I found the cache of vintage 1970’s fabric that I used to develop my “Lost in the 70’s” necktie collection. It also reminded me of how outrageous the 1970’s were on so many levels. Fashion, cars, advertising, lifestyle and so much more. It also made feel a little bad for the kids of today. While I’m sure making it through childhood alive and in one piece has it’s benefits, something seems lost with the sterile, overly cautious lives that kids lead now. I’m sure they don’t know what they’re missing.

Read more

Wabi Sabi and the Tea Master
May 14, 2017

Wabi Sabi and the Tea Master

In late April of 1591 one of the greatest Japanese tea masters of all time, Sen no Rikyū, committed Harakiri at the request of the great Samurai General Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Rikyū is widely regarded as the person who created the modern aesthetic of the Japanese tea ceremony, having converted it from one of lavish opulence, to one of austere simplicity. The simplicity, asymmetrical irregularities and natural quality that Rikyū applied to the tea ceremony would also become the basis for the Japanese aesthetic of life and design known as Wabi Sabi.

Read more

Hanakotoba, Ikebana, and Olaf Olsson Neckwear.
May 06, 2017

Hanakotoba, Ikebana, and Olaf Olsson Neckwear.

Hanakotoba is the ancient Japanese art of assigning meaning to flowers. In many cultures flowers can be seen as having some deeper meaning than just their pleasant smell and appearance. During the Victorian Era, in the western world, Floriography assigned specific coded meanings to different flowers. Even today florists still pair certain emotions and meanings to specific flowers. Red roses symbolize love and passion, while the mimosa, represents chastity.

Read more

Don Shelby, name sake of the Shelby know AKA the Pratt knot, and Olaf Olsson neckties.
February 19, 2017

Don Shelby and how to tie a perfect Pratt Knot

When Jerry Pratt, an executive at the US Chamber of Commerce, walked into the Minneapolis WCCO TV station he had no idea he was going to create the next movement in necktie knots. All he really wanted to do was help his favorite news anchor, Don Shelby, tie a smaller more symmetrical knot in his necktie. Within a few years the necktie knot that Jerry Pratt showed Don Shelby would be the hottest thing in neckwear knots. It was also the first new necktie knot to be introduced in almost fifty years.

Read more

Katsushika Hokusai and Olaf Olsson neckties and batwing bow ties.
February 04, 2017

Katsushika Hokusai — The Old Man Mad About Art

Katsushika Hokusai was a Japanese artist born on October 23, 1760 in Edo Japan. He left an enduring legacy of art that still influences the world today in many forms that range from fine arts, fabric patterns, and Manga. In the west he is most famous for his work "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji", a series of landscapes that depicts Mount Fuji from different points of view and in different seasons. From this series "The Great Wave of Kanagawa" is the most widely recognized. "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" was created by Hokusai in the 1830's while he was working under the name "Gakyō Rōjin Manji", which translates to "The Old Man Mad About Art".

Read more

Shibori and Olaf Olsson Neckwear, Neckties, and Batwing Bow Ties.
January 29, 2017

The Japanese Art of Shibori

Shibori is the Japanese art of dying fabric and garments using a technique of resist dying that produces intricate patterns. It is an ancient art in Japan that dates back to around the 8th century. Shibori would be familiar to most modern westerners as Tie-Dye. Although Shibori and Tie-Dye use basically the same techniques to creates patterns on clothing the results are very different.

Read more

Batwing bowties, Olaf Olsson, Walter Gropius, Bauhaus, and Modernism.
January 22, 2017

Walter Gropius, Modernism, and Batwing Bow Ties

Walter Gropius was one of the most highly regarded architects of the 20th century and one of the founders of the Bauhaus movement in Germany. He was head of the Bauhaus school from 1919 until its closure in 1933 by the Nazis. He was also an avid wearer of batwing bow ties. Six of his batwing bow ties are housed at the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Frances Loeb Library.

Read more

Tying a Batwing Bow Tie (or any other bow tie)
January 08, 2017

Tying a Batwing Bow Tie (or any other bow tie)

Tying a bow tie is often thought of as being very difficult. But once you’ve taken a little time to learn, we think you’ll find it’s as easy, if not easier, than tying a necktie. Follow the directions below to get the basic knot down. Once you get the hang of it, make five or ten time more bow tie knots in a row. After that you should have it for good. The diagram uses a batwing bow tie style, sometimes called the straight or slim bow tie. It is less common than other styles of bow ties and has no flares at the end.

Read more

The Batwing Bow Tie
January 06, 2017

The Batwing Bow Tie

The Batwing bow tie, often referred to as the straight or slim bow tie, is not as well known as the the common butterfly bow tie. It is usually 2” or less at the ends and creates a beautiful small bow tie that is modern, elegant, and understated. Even though the batwing bow tie is on the smaller side, lacking the flared ends of the butterfly bow tie, it has been worn by some of the largest personalities of the 20th century. While similar to the Diamond Point Bow Tie, the Batwing Bow Tie is flat on both ends rather than pointed, giving it a more symmetrical look than the diamond point. 

Read more

Sashiko, Boro, and the Indigo Patchwork Necktie.
December 27, 2016

Sashiko, Boro, and the Indigo Patchwork Necktie.

The Indigo Patchwork Necktie by Olaf Olsson is a heavy weight cotton printed with traditional Japanese Sashiko patterns arranged in a random patchwork. This tie gets it’s inspiration from the long history of the Japanese folk art known as Boro and the decorative stitching technique called Sashiko. This functional embroidery technique was traditionally used to strengthen well worn garments, but in modern times is often purely decorative. Sashiko and Boro also represents the idea of re-use and the valuing of well made things that are meant to be kept and cherished for a long time. It’s beauty also suggests that mending to “make do” is not enough, one must also mend to make beautiful.

Read more

An Indigo Matsu Bow Tie
December 18, 2016

An Indigo Matsu Bow Tie

The evergreen pine tree, or matsu, was loved by Samurai warriors as a symbol of everlasting prosperity. Another symbol of prosperity in Japan is the deep blue fabrics dyed with Indigo dye, some of which date back over a thousand years. This is why we love using the pine needle on the deep blue Indigo Matsu bow ties and neckties by Olaf Olsson.

Read more

The Indigo Komon necktie and bow tie use the samekomon pattern from Japan.
December 15, 2016

An Indigo Samekomon Necktie

Imitating the look of sharkskin has a long history in fashion. While most people are familiar with the sharkskin suit, most are unfamiliar with the ancient kimono fabrics of Japan known as samekomon. The Indigo Komon necktie and bow tie by Olaf Olsson takes it’s inspiration from both of these beautiful fashion statements.

Read more