History of silk ties

History of silk ties

People have been making silk ties since 210 B.C in some form or another. When you go back in time to this era people like the first emperor of China Shih Huang Ti who when he died was so afraid of death that he wanted his entire army slaughtered so that they would be with him into his next life, thankfully for them his advisors persuaded him to take life size replicas on his journey. Many will have seen the result of this in the Terracotta army cited near the city of Xian. All of these soldiers had one thing in common; each wore some form of neck cloth or silk tie.

Moving on in history we can find that in Roman times in the year 113A.D the Emperor Trajan installed a marble statue to commemorate a great victory over the Dacians and on this statue you will find figures that are wearing three different types of silk ties , some being just simple cloth and others being knotted types. This is the only known fact of Trajan's soldiers wearing some kind of tie or neckwear and historians believe that it is for the same reason that Shih Huang Ti's army wore them i.e. to be visibly honoured.

Lois XIV of France found that he loved the very dazzling and colourful silk neckties worn by the Croatian soldiers in 1660 and historians believe that from this word the French word for tie was born, Cravat. This has been proved in history by the fact that up until the French Revolution the king had a special elite brigade of soldiers called the Cravate Royale. Other sources had surmised that the word Cravat has come from the Turkish word kyrabacs or even the Hungarian word Korbacs, both of these can be interpreted to mean long slim whip like garment. Since then the French courtiers and military personnel began to make use of this idea and started to wear these flamboyant forms of silk ties many making up very unusual silk ties with unique types of embroidery or different use of fabrics.

Back in England in the 1660s King Charles had reclaimed the throne which had been lost under the Puritan revolution. After nine years over seas in exile all the wealthy returned to England and brought with them all the European delights which included huge wigs, very flamboyant clothing in dashing colours and also the cravat. Many paintings from the 17th and 18th century show these forms of silk ties or cravats most of which were made in lace. England was a big manufacturer of lace at this time but like even with trends today people always thought that things from overseas had more kudos. King Charles was once reported to have spent £20 and 12 shillings on a single cravat and in those days this was about five times the annual middle class salary.

Just a few years before the 19th Century we find the trend setter Beau Brummell who was a rugged prize fighter of working class origins named Jem Belcher who took to wearing a blue silk bandanna or silk tie covered with large white spots containing blue bird's eye centres. So very soon Englishmen all over the country took upon this fashion idea and started to wear by the thousands this simple form of silk ties or bandannas. Then in the 18th and 19th centuries British sailors were often seen wearing a silk scarf or cotton bandanna which was the forefront of the silk tie. The well dressed man about town should be seen wearing clothes that are simple stylish and functional, George Bryan "Beau" Brummell commanded in the early 19th century. Brummel essentially invented what has come to be know today as the "British look" complete with the silk tie.

Brummell much preferred the starched white cravat or silk tie and as he made his daily rounds from the park to various gentlemen's clubs he would be seen to change his silk tie or neck cloth some three times in a day. This style of wearing silk ties or neck cloth was adopted by noble people and working men and even to his friend the Price Regent who later became King George IV. Men of lesser being and wealth could very easily imitate this upper class fashion by wearing silk ties them selves.

The Zingari Cricket Club, founded by a group of Cambridge University students in 1845 were the first to create sporting colours that they then used in Blazers caps and silk ties, then in 1880 the rowing club of Oxford University's Exeter college one men's club invented the first school silk tie by removing the ribbon from their hat bands and then tying them with a four in hand knot. So they then went on to order a set of silk ties in the colours from their hat bands and so created the modern school tie. This moved on to many a different school making different silk ties for different grades and clubs or for different levels of achievement.

These silk ties had such an appeal for the Victorian middle class as the industrialization allowed for mass production of silk ties so that men could stand out from the crowds and assert their social superiority or to proclaim their allegiance to a certain group.

In the 1880s the British army decided to get rid of its brightly coloured uniforms that has always made them such good targets! But they retained their brightly coloured silk ties in various stripes that each regiment had adopted. These silk ties not only preserved their traditional colours but also provided creativity for the drab new uniforms. The Royal Rifle Corps sported rifle green and scarlet silk ties. Today rules on who may wear the more than 200 regimental silk ties are very strict .Many of the prestigious London stores ask customers for proof that they have the right to wear these silk ties, this then pushes up the price that collectors are willing to pay for the rarer silk ties.

Women did not start to wear silk ties until the late 1800s but it was not until during World War One that as millions of women headed to offices and factories while men were at war that silk ties made their mark.

In the 1920s a pioneering Paris fashion designer called Jean Patao invented the designer silk tie using different fabrics from women's clothing. Then in the 1960,s designers from London's Carnaby St devised the Peacock look and churned out silk ties in a huge variety of Flowered, abstract and psychedelic patterns. Mod silk ties (or modern silk ties) were the fore runner to the hippie movement but they often dispensed with silk ties all together often favouring colourful scarves or open neck shirts with large medallions or chains.

Today many designers produce a huge different style of silk ties all over the world while other silk ties are made under licence.