Ties can cost from anything between $30 to $500. This is a large range to consider, not to mention material and make that one has to grapple with when choosing a tie. Over pay and you feel like a fool. Set yourself a shoestring budget and one may risk feeling like a bigger fool when standing beside more discerning colleagues. Either of which are situations you want to avoid.
To help get the most out of your next trip to the ties boutique, we sat down with H N Tiong, General Manager of Andrew’s Ties Milano, who shared with us how he identifies a new tie from one that has been hanging on the rack for a year. Unless you are a fan of "vintage fabric", you would not want a tie designed years ago. Colours and prints matter (yes, not all blues are the same), and it would be wise to keep the following tips in mind.
A typical Andrew's Tie's Milano display. Bright colours, vibrant prints.
Cufflinks.com.sg [CS]: Thank you for making time to speak to us Mr Tiong. For starts, can you tell us how long have you been in the business of men’s accessories?
Mr. Tiong [T]: My pleasure. I entered the ties and silk industry about 25 years ago after I graduated. I started out specifically in the business of necktie fabrics and it was there that I met the Giussani family, a three-generation weaver in Como, Italy. They introduced me to the owners of Andrew's Tie in Milan and I was amazed by their business philosophy, craftsmanship and ability to maintain a comfortable price point.
By the late 90s, Singapore’s financial sector boomed and men started to need ties and cufflinks. I saw the opportunity to bring designer ties into our market and in 1997, opened the first Andrew's Ties Milano store. I saw that Singaporeans became more discerning and wanted more options. With the help of the Zegna Group, we started to distribute other international designers like Leonard, Aquascutum, Church's and Les Copains.
[CS]: How do you decide what ties to bring into Singapore and whether a new collection should be brought into our market?
[T]: Good question. We are first and foremost an Italian fashion company. So we have to follow the seasonal trends regardless of the markets. Prints and width of corporate ties don’t deviate much. But the colour is very important. For example, gold was a nice colour years ago, but not anymore. In contrast, brown and forest green, which was considered "old-ish" in the past, has become a staple colour worn with a navy suit.
Mr. H N Tiong, GM of Singapore's largest men's accessories purveyor
[CS]: Last question, how can a gentleman ensure that he is not buying something dated, or perhaps even "unwanted"? How can he choose a tie that is in-trend?
[T]: I like how you used the word in-trend. Because when we talk about corporate ties, it is not about being "fashionable", but we are looking for the appropriate and in-trend colour. The easiest way is to look out for the number of ties available for each print or colour. Collections are launched with about 3 or 4 colour in each design. For example a Daisy Floral-Print tie will be available in 3 or 4 colours; never just one colour. Therefore, if a tie is only available in one colour or one design, chances are that it has been on display for a long while.
Second, I will give you a hint. A new car has a particular scent. A new pair of shoes should have the smell of fresh leather. In the same way, a newly minted tie will have a distinct smell: the smell of colour dye. But if you ever do this, please do so discreetly!
The Singapore Andrew's Ties boutique at Republic Plaza, Raffles Place
Lady Lina of Andrew's Ties Milano: dedicating herself to the business since 1991
Shop a curated selection of Andrew's Ties Milano accessories on our web store