Tied in Knots with Reef

Reef KNotsTo many characters, ties are a relic of a bygone era.

As has is the case with the gentleman’s hat, there has been a dramatic downturn in its everyday use – even in the workplace.

Even worse, some actually celebrate this trend.

I can only think that either these shlubs are having flashbacks to the horrors of school and are unable to execute the simplest of knots or, perhaps more likely, they can’t get the bally thing around their fat necks.

That said it is not just office workers who now bare their necks but too the elegant factory workers – who in halcyon days would shuffle along in corduroys, soft collared shirts and a rumpled tie stuffed under their tank tops.

Nevertheless, there are still many chaps who love the long scraps of silk, feeling that it elevates a suit or even a casual jacket. I am a proud member of this group.

Like most I had long scrimped together my ducats to acquire the gentleman’s wardrobe classics: a Hermes or a Salvatore Ferragamo tie. The French and Italian designers have for many generations offered superb quality – they still do – and are instantly recognisable by their respective designs.

Their dominance may now be coming to an end, for me at least. And, in recognition of this revolution, my ever-swelling arsenal of ties now includes English as well as continental patterned silks.

The new kid on the block is Reef Knots, the brainchild of Patrick Dudley-Williams.

The ties are not quite as expensive – roughly £75 – or as renowned as their European cousins. But I find the combination of vivid, bold colours with a repetitive nautical pattern (hence the name Reef!) totally compelling.

And, as a proud Briton I am always keen to support almost anything from Blighty (I draw the line at red wine from the West Country as it makes Romanian plonk look veritably scrumptious).

Reef Knots is a genuine newcomer, starting in 2012 when Dudley-Williams, who worked in the city, was unexpectedly made redundant. Even though he had no experience in the fashion industry and three young children to support he walked away from the corporate life to build up a small haberdashery emporium.

He writes on his website that the thinking behind his idea was to ‘make silk ties that reminded people of life outside of their suit’ – this is summed by the company motto ‘summertime – all the time’.

The handmade screen-printed silk ties showcase designs that take their inspiration from the ‘ocean and the summer’.

Certainly over the past year the Reef ties that I own have given a light joie de vivre to my outfits; whether it is at the racecourse, weddings or at a long luncheon! What’s more the comments have almost always been always been positive!

And, like a bowl of strawberries and cream it is lovely to have something bright red, English and proud hanging around ones neck.

That said I will be expecting to be wearing a Hermes should I ever have a wedding day of my own!


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