BOWS NOUVEAU

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: LUCY EDWARDS

Meet Gregory Bruce, the talented and unconventional creative talent behind emerging bow tie brand Bows Nouveau. Gregory shares with Imagista his unique journey as a designer as well as some pearls of wisdom he’s learned on his life path. Imagista loves his unique designs and approach to men’s style.

Gregory’s unique, hand-made bow ties, and custom facemasks are available directly from his website. Each stunning tie is one of a kind and is remarkably well priced.

bowsnouveau.com

Imagista: How did you get into designing and making your own custom line of bow ties? Why bow ties?

Gregory Bruce: I’ve been wearing bow ties since I  was a youngster. For most of my adult life, my wife bought my wardrobe, and that included the bows. When I had the opportunity to buy one for myself – it was my birthday, I was going to treat myself – so I went downtown to Lord & Taylor and my god I never knew how expensive they were! Like a hundred and fifty bucks and they were mostly made in China!  All this time I hadn’t noticed how easily they frayed probably because there were always new ones. So, it was right then and there I decided: You know what? I can make my own.

Imagista: What is special and unique about your designs?

Gregory Bruce: It began with the thought of making a slender bow tie and developed after some fits and starts into the shape when tied like it’s namesake the “Butterknife”. The first time I created one that was good enough to wear in public a guy – another bow tie wearer – stopped me on Fifth Avenue, complimented me on the tie, and asked me where he could buy one.  That was the light bulb moment when I thought:  “From Me!” The asymmetric design evolved later along with the hashtag #nomoboringbows (no more boring bows).

Imagista: Tell us what goes into the making of the actual bow ties?

Gregory Bruce: The choice of fabric is essential to my design because, when tied, each side must be in opposition to the other. There is then the cutting of the pattern, sewing the parts together, attaching the necessary hardware, and, in the case of my hand-tied bows, actually tying them.

Imagista: Previously you worked in advertising. What role did you play when you worked in that industry and why did you stop working in that field?

Gregory Bruce: I was, in turn, a Copywriter, Radio & Television Producer, Creative Director. During all those iterations, several things held true: bring your whole self to every project, be passionate, on time, and on budget. And if you and your team are not happy, don’t stop until you are.

You know, it honestly troubled me that with all the tools and skills I’d developed and all the work put in keeping abreast of the ever-changing technology – you have to understand that during my time in the biz, over four decades – we went from typewriters to MACS, from analog to digital in audio and visual production techniques to hear from “powers that be” that at 63 years old, I was no longer viable.

Imagista: How did you get into designing and making your own custom line of bow ties? Why bow ties?

Gregory Bruce: I’ve been wearing bow ties since I  was a youngster. For most of my adult life, my wife bought my wardrobe, and that included the bows. When I had the opportunity to buy one for myself – it was my birthday, I was going to treat myself – so I went downtown to Lord & Taylor and my god(!) I never knew how expensive they were! Like a hundred and fifty bucks and they were mostly made in China!  All this time I hadn’t noticed how easily they frayed probably because there were always new ones. So, it was right then and there I decided: You know what? I can make my own.

Gregory Bruce: It began with the thought of making a slender bow tie and developed after some fits and starts into the shape when tied like it’s namesake the “Butterknife”. The first time I created one that was good enough to wear in public a guy – another bow tie wearer – stopped me on Fifth Avenue, complimented me on the tie, and asked me where he could buy one.  That was the light bulb moment when I thought:  “From Me!” The asymmetric design evolved later along with the hashtag #nomoboringbows (no more boring bows).

Imagista: Tell us what goes into the making of the actual bow ties?

Gregory Bruce: The choice of fabric is essential to my design because, when tied, each side must be in opposition to the other. There is then the cutting of the pattern, sewing the parts together, attaching the necessary hardware, and, in the case of my hand-tied bows, actually tying them.

Imagista: Previously you worked in advertising. What role did you play when you worked in that industry and why did you stop working in that field?

 

Gregory Bruce: I was, in turn, a Copywriter, Radio & Television Producer, Creative Director. During all those iterations, several things held true: bring your whole self to every project, be passionate, on time, and on budget. And if you and your team are not happy, don’t stop until you are.

You know, it honestly troubled me that with all the tools and skills I’d developed and all the work put in keeping abreast of the ever-changing technology – you have to understand that during my time in the biz, over four decades – we went from typewriters to MACS, from analog to digital in audio and visual production techniques to hear from “powers that be” that at 63 years old, I was no longer viable.

Imagista: Who are some of your creative influences and/or general inspirations to you as both a designer and in life?

Gregory Bruce: You know, there are things that stick with you. The genius of Bernstein’s “Young People’s Concerts”, Judy Garland Live at Carnegie Hall, Stevie Wonder, and Thelonius Monk. I read all the sci-fi classics from Isaac Asimov to Roger Zelazny. All with futures that ranged from the fabulous to the dystopian.  I wanted to be a classy smart-ass like William Powell in the “Thin Man” movies, too. On my birthday re-watched one of my favorite movies “The Game” with Michael Douglas. Not to mention that I love me some sci-fi horror flicks. I am rather complicated.

Imagista: How do you stay inspired and keep things fresh?

Gregory Bruce: I am driven by the need to stay up with the times I live in but not in the ways one would think. I don’t watch – hell I haven’t owned a television in about 10 years – no. I do listen to the radio; WNYC here in NYC, the BBC, CBC, AL Jezerra Radio. I believe because none are beholden to commercial sponsors, I am hearing truths.

I stay in touch with old friends and new via the various social media venues. I have separate pages for myself and my company on Facebook and Instagram. I am also a member of several Facebook groups that keep me entertained about activities from my youth such as Drum and Bugle Corps. 

Imagista: Where would you like to see your brand in the new two to five years?

Gregory Bruce: In the next two years I’d love to see my ties worn and talked about by influential people like Steve Harvey, Nick Cannon or Women like Lady Gaga, Janelle Monae –  there are also a few football players and baseball players as well as a couple of Governors I’d love to see wearing my designs. I think concentrating on those who already do wear bow ties will encourage those who think the bow tie should only be worn at “Events” that it can be an everyday item.  It certainly has been for me.

And in five years? I truly don’t know because success might mean too much work for me alone but when that happens and I can stick to selecting fabrics and overseeing a cadre of people to do the finishing and assemblage a mini-factory perhaps … that would be the beginning of real success.

 

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Photography by Michael Williams @michaelwilliamsphoto
Creative Director: Lucy Edwards @lilo10029
Bows Nouveau: @bows.nouveau
Imagista @imagista