Lately, there has been a lot of buzz over raw silk ties. I’m a big, big fan. However, almost without exception, all of the good ones are made by Drakes of London, who seems to be the only producer of slubby versions. To me, the slubs are what give raw silk ties their true charm. Unfortunately, while Drakes is undoubtably one of the best tie makers in the world, they cost about $150 per tie, which can be too expensive for many men.
Fortunately for you, I’ve found a reasonable alternative. Mountain and Sackett has two ties made out of English noile silk. The company has a nice shot of the two ties on their homepage. I have the brick red one and really like it.
As I’ll explain later this week, raw silks are often taken from cocoons where the silk worm has been allowed to chew through. In a typical silk production, silk worms are killed while they’re still in the cocoon, so that a single thread of silk can be drawn out. When the silk is taken from a cocoon with a hole in it, the fibers tend to be much shorter, which can result in a rougher hand.
Noile silks are similar. These are the short fibers left after silk has been combed through or spun. When this material is woven, the fabric ends up being nubby and has flecks of color throughout the yarn. It actually looks so similar to raw silk that it’s often mistaken for it. The only difference is that it’s a bit more matte and lacks the sheen of traditional silk. One could probably describe it as a “cotton looking version of raw silk.”
Thus, Mountain and Sackett’s noile silk tie a really great option if you’re looking for a raw silk-esque tie at an affordable price. It’s not a slubby as Drake’s, but it’s certainly more slubby than J Press’ raw silks, and priced at about 50% less of each. Its lack of sheen also makes it feel a bit more casual and even ideal for summer wear.
Lastly, just as a note, I think Mountain and Sackett is one of the best kept secrets out there, which is strange because they exhibit all the things menswear enthusiasts care about. The company is over 50 years old, based in New York, and produces completely handmade goods in the US (except for their knit ties, which are made in Italy). These ties knot and drape beautifully. I get as nice of a dimple on my Mountain and Sacketts as I do from some of my luxury-end ties like Kiton, Brioni, and Hermes. Most importantly, they’re one of the most affordably priced at around around $60 per tie. The quality to price ratio here is really incredible, and I encourage you to take a look at their catalog.