Walking down Old Street in Clerkenwell, East London you’re equally likely to run into neon-clad hipsters as pinstripe-wearing city gentlemen. To say the area is one of the most vibrant in London is an understatement. But 30 years ago, before most people even knew where Clerkenwell was, Michael Drake snatched up an old brewing facility and an adjoining townhouse to house Drakes of London. So, with recording studios and hedge-fund offices mere meters away, Drakes is still crafting some of the world’s finest ties right in the heart of central London.
Drakes Ties London
Many things have been written about these objects of culture and style, yet hardly anything is known about the history of Drakes company. Hence, we decided to pay the founder Michael Drake a visit.
Upon walking through the front door, I was warmly greeted by an affable Michael Drake, clad in a chartreuse sweater and plum socks that made him look right at home in the hall full of multi-colored silks. He was so kind as to give us a tour of his tie manufacture and then sat down for a short interview. Their knit ties are among the best, and now you can get the same quality at Fort Belvedere for a more affordable price.
Video Interview with Michael Drake – Summary
First, we learn how Drakes got started. While working as head of a design department, Michael Drake realized that there was an opportunity for starting a scarf business. In the process, someone suggested to him to make ties as well and so he ended up with a partner. Together, they founded Hill & Drake which produces scarves as well as ties. When famous shirtmaker Turnbull & Asser wanted to buy his partner’s business, the two partners split their ways; Michael Drake was unwilling to give up his independence and decided to go off on his own.
Second, he talks a little bit about Madder Silk – the material Drakes’ ties are famous for. Third, we learn about the differences between a quality tie and an inferior one. Of course, it must be handmade and he also remarks that most ties are too short, resulting in ties that are longer in the front than they are in the back. Last but not least, Michael Drakes reveals what his favorite ties look like.