Breaking the Tie



Everyone from the modern man to men who wish they were on Mad Men knows that the right tie can pull together any outfit. Whether tucked neatly behind a blazer of a sleek suit or prominently displayed on smart shirt, it punctuates sartorial structure with the right amount of panache. Keeping with this concept, Los Angeles-based men’s accessories brand Gentry launched its collection of premium neckwear and accessories including tie bars and pins for the discerning gentlemen. We recently caught up with Annie Imamure, one half of the founding team, to get the skinny on its pieces.

Life + Times: Where did the concept of Gentry come from?
Annie Imamure
: [My partner] Greg and I were sitting around looking at his tie collection one day and we thought, “We should make these.” Honestly, that’s how it started. My mom cut our tie pattern and Greg’s uncle, who is in the jewelry industry, made our first molds. Our goal is to make men’s accessories for today’s modern gentleman. We wanted our pieces to be accessible to a generation that wasn’t taught to wear accessories such as a tie bar or tie pin. We use non-traditional materials for our neckties but choose material that still has a classic undertone.

L+T: What’s the concept behind the name?
: We like to think that our brand is not only a menswear brand but also an aspirational lifestyle. The “gentry” class is thought of to be one of well-bred, wellborn people; aristocracy. There’s something about a throwback to tradition that comes with the name and we work very hard to uphold its definition.

L+T: Why ties?
: We just love them. A tie, as well as accessories, can polish an outfit. There are many ties on the market so we work hard to produce neckwear that walks the line of fashionable and classic. We use a classic cut with non-traditional materials.

L+T: Can a tie really pull together or destroy an outfit?
: I think it can do either depending on the tie. A great tie can do wonderful things to an outfit.

L+T: What’s the idea behind the packaging?
: We wanted to present our pieces in a way that consumers would appreciate all of the offerings, but also we wanted to give our generation a guide in accessories. Our fathers were taught how to wear everything from a collar clip, to a tie pin, to a pocket square and the tradition of these pieces was lost in our generation. We wanted to make accessories that young men may not be familiar with accessible. Every box set comes with a guidebook with instructions from how to tie a tie, to how to fold a pocket square.

L+T: What materials does Gentry focus on?
: As far as neckties we look at everything except silk. We love our linens for spring and wools for fall. As far as jewelry, we focus on metals like steel and copper, as well as precious metals such as silver and gold.

L+T: Outside of fashion, what are your inspirations?
: 1950’s and 1960’s culture, art and literature. All of our box sets are named after authors from that time period, like Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Salinger.

L+T: Who is the ideal Gentry customer?
: Anyone who is interested and has an appreciation for classic menswear with a modern twist. (Gentry)