While I do not put (almost) never tie, it may seem hard for me to write about the brand Howard’s. But its history, and especially the enthusiasm and passion of Frederick, are all elegant amateur can not reasonably go to the supply side of this dynamic home.
When Hugo Jacomet ( Parisian Gentleman) introduced me Frédéric, the founder, I was very intrigued by his story because Fred was not at all intended to be known for its ties…
The History of Howard’s Ties
From the automobile to the tie: the course of Frédéric
In fact, Frédéric is basically a car enthusiast (I would even say a passionate runner).
He stopped school at 16, which did not prevent him from applying a few years later to Ferrari. At the time of the interview, he realizes he can not find the ultimate tie he would wear.
His parents then push him to embark on entrepreneurship. Still frustrated at not having found the desired tie for his upkeep, he literally left in the mountains-near Como in Italy-to discover the technique behind this accessory.
They are also the attention to detail and technicality found in a tie, that really please him; Reminding him of his past as an engineer.
When I asked Frederic what had been the determining factors in the success of his project, he said that it was his love and absolute respect, as the product of know-how behind.
He also told me that he always showed an insatiable curiosity, because he did not hesitate to call the best “cravatiers” to ask a lot of questions, to the nerve. And guess what? Most of the time, he had answers provided and complete. But the story is not over…
Howard’s ties: a very French house
We had to find a name for his mark. At the time, Frédéric was barely 20 years old, and it was frequent that he was taken for the son of the owner, while working alone in his mark. This required a name that reassures.
This was the time when the English names were fashionable: Weston, Wicket, Hartwood or Hartford, among others. His mark thus was called Howard’s, while it is 100% French.
Very quickly, he starts developing his own ties, but he feels limited in the choice of colors and finishes manufacturers. He wants to make a product that looks more like him, and he began to develop his own colors.
To understand Howard’s, you should know that Frédéric love having the choice: he is the type to grow 20 colors and textures, while others will offer five variations.
This explains the profusion of colors when you enter the shop, but this has an advantage: there will necessarily be one for you.
Ties with originality
And yet, Frederic begins to tire…
He deplored the lack of novelty in the world of the tie, and think increasingly find another activity. But before he decided to make a final series of ties, which resembles it completely, by not putting any constraints in terms of prices or finishes.
Even if you stop, you can do it while having fun, hence the more whimsical colors.
Why ties Made in France? He explains this choice by a lot of pragmatism: he works very closely with experienced people, very flexible on orders, with very reasonable deadlines, since he does not have to wait 3 weeks Production happens.
For him, working with French people allows him to express precisely what he really wants in terms of technical details.
It is this series was a success, and that put him on the front of the scene of the little world of blogosphere sartoriale where Hugo PG is one of its greatest promoters in France, alongside Julien Scavini.
Precisely, let us see the peculiarity of his ties.
Test: Howard’s tie details
Me who loves the fabrics well textured, I am here served with silk grenadine. Attention is the silk woven, which is still different from a silk tie fabric (which I also love). To obtain such a complex texture, silk is woven on old looms because modern crafts go too fast.
So I focused on a three-ply tie lined with a woolen interlining. Howard’s offer is plethoric, there are also seven unlined neckties that I expose later in this article.
The finishes are obviously impeccable, with many details that are rarely seen in this price range:
We are faced with a very nice product, at a price accessible to all, which does not have to be ashamed of what offers the big luxury houses. It is surely one of the best value for money in tie in this price range (from 70 € to 160 € for 7 ply cashmere models).
Besides, I want to tell you that as long as you wear a suit in shades of gray or blue, with a white or blue shirt pale, you do not really make the overthink on The color of the tie, because they are bases of color so neutral that they will support almost all shades.
Also consider the wool ties, which are an excellent alternative:
And if you like more textures, and want something more raw, but also more original, Howard’s recently released silk ties “Shantung”, with this irregular side very characteristic:
The Shantung silk has a “fluted” appearance (Hugo de PG also speaks of “scratched” appearance), due to the irregularity of weft threads used for weaving, because they are rougher threads. It shows a rendering richer, it’s a bit the same philosophy that Japanese subjects who see the irregularity of manual labor as a top imperfect beauty ( wabi-sabi ).
It is therefore an original material, which gives a certain cachet to an elegant outfit.
Why invest in a tie?
Indeed, between a tie at 50 € and one at 100 €, one may wonder what are the differences, and what justifies the price.
There is obviously the material itself. You can imagine a tie Silk grenadine, or made of a specially developed color for the brand, not going to cost the same as a banal entry-polyester…
But the art of a cravatier involves picking the interlining, which is a little spine of the tie. It is this slightly rigid fabric that we do not see, but that gives the “hand” to the tie.
A beautiful tie has a certain fluidity in his fallen, falls and moves nicely with its carrier, unlike polyester ties which are sometimes too rigid.
It is for this reason that the ties unlined are very appreciated by the Italians, because they have a very particular lightness, very… Italian finally.
There are then the famous ties seven folds unlined, acclaimed on blogs. They are made of a single piece of tissue that we will bend… seven times to provide a form of tie. The result is very technical and spectacular:
But this kind of product is primarily aimed at connoisseurs, to craft lovers, and more generally of beautiful objects, those who are sensitive to handmade products. Because in fact, tie three plies is at least as intrinsically good a tie seven folds, if one is based on the usual criteria: duration in time, seams, etc.
This is why there is finally little sense to ask whether such a mark makes quality ties. What to watch, rather it is the choice of materials (Is the color worked? Is she pretty?), And the technical installation.
It’s up to you whether you are sensitive to this craft or not. Personally, it matters more and more to me.
The brand also offers shirts made in France, between 105 and 120 €. The finishes are very classical, but Frédéric showed me an extremely promising prototype, with very nice English seams on the sides, and fine seams.
I did not try, I know they exist in two cuts (straight and curved), but knowing the passion that Frédéric puts into his products, I am very confident about the quality.
Besides, if you have the time to talk with him, the story of the choice of the workshop for his shirts is incredible, and was an adventure in itself, as it had to fight against the difficulties of Made in France (ie unenthusiastic workshops, little open to new, painful conditions of purchases, and so on).
So much so that he thought of relocating the manufacture of its shirts in Morocco, Portugal and Romania (at constant quality), until he dropped me: “Benoit, finally, I stopped everything. I have not managed to relocate because I did not want to leave (he talks about his current french workshop), not after all the relationship that had been woven together “.
Indeed, the workshop knows it very well now, and it now enjoys great flexibility on order quantities. More than ever, he is determined to develop new things with him, including the famous English seams!
At the time I met Frederic, he had a few prototypes of scarves to show me. His reasoning was the same as for the creation of his ties: what novelty could he bring to this accessory? How to inject Howard’s paw?
Instead of turning to knitting wool as 99% of the other scarves, he continued to use precious and original fabrics of Vitale Barberis Canonico, with his usual finishes (like his ties): roulottage Hand embroidered daisy, and travetta that finishes the seam.
For more interested, know that Hugo Jacomet speaks much better than me in his latest article on Howard’s.
The Howard’s boutique in Paris
You understand that we strongly recommend this brand, especially if you have to wear the tie daily. They are very beautiful pieces, with a real personality. And the kind of gift that makes sense to a connoisseur.
Note that Howard’s has a unique boutique at 45 rue d’Amsterdam to Paris, where Frédéric will welcome you personally. He is passionate and very good advice, who will be happy to refer you to the shirt / tie / pocket chords.
There is also an eshop on the brand’s website, which can be very valuable to a last minute choice for New Year.