So this past fashion week was my first time wearing a bow tie since I was like four years old. And here's what I found. The bow tie as with anything in fashion has immediate typecasting connotations to whoever sees it. Bookish, nerdy, 'cute on a short person', quirky or 'scholarly fellow' are words and phrases I hear connected with the bow tie. However, on me as with any fashion accessory, it's how you make it your own that determines how you will be received. I think that with anything I wear, there has to be the slightest ounce or more of alluring masculinity which I usually try to achieve through proportion, balance with my own body shape and fabrication. Ahh fabrication! My virgin-like delving into the realm of the ominous bow tie expected to just stumble upon the right silk and proportionate print for harmony but then I discovered something. Seeing as how I was always one of those people who considered the bow tie only for the glen-plaid donning, accent yielding, library frequenter, it became sort of a quest to dispel my inner myths about this 'tie of legend' if I was ever going to be comfortable with it. Instantly I thought to hone my choice of sweaters, shirts and slacks in order to do so. Yes that works, but wait!!! What about putting more masculinity, texture and hardware and the slightest dash of sex appeal derived from those three into this 'statement tied like a package atop my collarbone'. This is what I discovered with The Art of EMJ; a line for when haunts of 'the bookish' just don't sit well and your confident 'inner-machismo' calls.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Eric M. Jenkins, designer and owner of The Art of EMJ at the Nolcha Lounge during fashion week. It was then that I realized the sophistication and passion of what he was doing by refusing to allow his neckwear to be typecast. Instead he presented a rather impressive showcase of bow ties that danced with the sensuality of masculine references. For example, leather, metal, industrial closures and horn buttons all adorn some of the bow ties in his collection. What's pleasantly familiar are the appeals to our vintage and Americana sensibilities through using hardware and skins we men may all have in our closets. Items like the closures on our toggle coats, the perforated leather on our driving or golf gloves and the clasps on our rain slickers all make the collection familiar in elements but new in the way the elements are showcased.
Mr. Jenkins pulls whimsy out of his intelligent approach by referring to his line as "bringing James Bond to the jungle" or "bringing the party to anyone's Governor's ball". Its clear that The Art of EMJ's bow ties were meant to be seen, hence the name, but also to replace the complicated fussiness with suaveness in relation to adjusting a bow tie. Conversation pieces are created by showcasing the way the tie is adjusted through the presence of the hardware and actually when presented on the supple yet strong leather, the conversation could move from 'pieces in the news' to 'pecks on the neck'.