Baton Rouge maker sells handcrafted bow ties

When Travis Robertson started wearing bow ties in 2015, his whole perspective on style changed. He says he started dressing classier, feeling better and gained a new appreciation for the art of handmade bow ties.

After watching how-to videos on YouTube and buying a vintage sewing machine, the New Orleans native started making bow ties from old Goodwill shirts and suits in 2017. A month later, he was selling his handcrafted designs in various patterns, colors and styles.

“Bow ties are like the gateway drug to dressing better,” Robertson says.

Up until the COVID-19 pandemic, T.Robertson Bow Ties was setting up shop at a booth in Main Street Market downtown and Mid City Makers Market.

Now, Robertson sells his stylish ties primarily online until markets reopen.

Robertson can make a bow tie for any occasion. He works with an array of fabrics, such as African wax fabric  for wedding party bow ties or a flamingo-patterned material to complete a look for the Spanish Town Ball.

Since beginning his business, he shifted from using repurposed materials to high-quality cotton fabrics from New York and Los Angeles. He looks for lively patterns to meet each client’s taste, like funky ’70s prints, plaid, vintage styles and patterns with local flair for the Spanish Town and Mardi Gras parades and LSU and Saints games.

His backyard studio is like his home away from home. When he sews, he is in his happy place.

Before work, the full-time Woman’s Hospital network administrator spends his mornings cutting fabric for his tie shop and then returns home in the evenings to sew and finalize his designs.

Business has looked different for Robertson since the pandemic. After the city’s mask mandate went into effect in early July, he added face masks to his shop.

Whether he’s making masks or bow ties, he hopes to encourage people to dress and feel better.

“I would love to see men go back to wearing more suits and dressing up,” Robertson says. “It makes people more receptive to you.” trobertsonbowties.bigcartel.com

This article was originally published in the August 2020 issue of 225 Magazine.