Durham designer mastering the art of the bow tie

CorrespondentJanuary 2, 2013 


Marcus Hawley makes stylish Natty Neckware bowties in Durham. $38 - $55. Get them at Kindred Boutique, 131 S. Wilmington St, Raleigh or Art of Style in Brier Creek or Cameron Village. Or


Unlike a lot of fashion designers, Marcus Hawley never dreamed of creating clothing. While he definitely had a strong sense of personal style, his fashion experience was limited to retail work at Banana Republic.

But like so many designers, Hawley found his creative inspiration in an unsuccessful search for the perfect item – specifically the perfect bow tie.

“I wasn’t seeing anything I liked,” he explains. “And at the time, most stores weren’t even selling them at all.”

So he bought a pattern and some fabric and made his own.

“I got some help from my mom because I didn’t have any background in sewing,” he says. “I didn’t like the original pattern, so I thought, ‘Let me tweak it.’ I went through a couple of prototypes, making it bigger, and that ended up being my design.”

After wearing the finished product to work, he earned not only compliments, but an offer from his manager at the time, Kendra Leonard, who was about to open her own boutique, The Art of Style.

“She said she really liked the bow tie and wanted to carry my stuff in her store,” he says.

Shortly thereafter, Natty Neckware was born.

Hawley now has a full line of bow ties, in an array of fabrics and colors. Made in Durham, the ties are available on his website (, as well as at both locations of The Art of Style (Cameron Village and Brier Creek) and Kindred boutique in downtown Raleigh.

Hawley recently started making custom neckties in addition to the bow ties, and he has plans to expand to a full accessory line that will include cufflinks, tie links and more. But no matter how much his business grows, Hawley says he will always keep the focus on the item that inspired him to be a designer – bow ties.

“Having a bow tie is definitely a statement piece,” he says.

“You walk into a room and you’re immediately noticed. To me, it’s kind of like art around your neck.”

Prepare for your wedding at bridal show

Triangle brides-to-be can taste food from local caterers, see arrangements by area florists and get a peek at the latest in bridal fashion at The Wedding Show, Saturday and Sunday at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Held in the Jim Graham Building, the show will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 in advance at and $15 at the door.

Fashion contest openfor high school seniors

With so many outstanding local designers, there’s no denying the Triangle is a hotbed for fashion talent.

The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham looks to discover some of the area’s most up-and-coming designers with its Passion for Fashion Scholarship Competition.

Through Feb. 14, high school seniors slated to graduate in 2013 can enter the competition’s Fashion Marketing and Merchandising and Retail Management category by submitting images of a fashion trend board, predicting the next big trends in fashion.

One local winner will earn a $3,000 tuition scholarship to the Art Institute and a chance to win the national prize of a half-tuition scholarship to the Art Institute, a trip to New York City, a shopping spree and more.

For details and to enter:

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