Billionaire, Richard Branson, evangelizing against neckties.
Fellow LinkedIn members might have noticed an interesting post from noted billionaire and influencer Richard Branson this past Monday. There are a lot of posts on the site, but this one stood out because it discussed a topic close to home for SKINNYFATTIES. For those not on LinkedIn, Mr. Branson posted a piece titled, “State of Entrepreneurship: Want to Be More Creative? Lose the Tie.” In the post, he argues just that: ditch the tie. We disagree with his premise wholeheartedly.
Can you blame us? Ties are kind of our thing.
We first must object to the waste of perfectly good ties. Throughout the post are pictures of Branson cutting up people’s ties, supposedly freeing their necks of their burdens. SKINNYFATTIES might take a scissor to a tie, but only as part of the tailoring process. (Speaking of which, click here to find out what we do with the tie scraps.)
Branson cutting a necktie.
Branson tries to link the suit and tie to the traditional workplace, something he believes is outdated. He writes: “There’s a reason very few creative people wear suits and ties. Audacious ideas rarely spring from boardrooms and office cubicles. They come from getting out and about and experiencing life in its most inspiring settings. Creativity doesn’t wear a uniform, nor should creators. Business people should lose the suit and tie, and dress comfortably.” He also points to Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs as examples of innovators who ditched the suit and tie for something more comfortable. Ironically, they arguably created their own uniforms; Jobs had his black turtleneck and jeans and Zuckerberg has his hoodie.
He also admits that his argument relies a bit too much on symbolism: “Suits aren’t totally to blame for lacklustre working environments, but there’s freedom that comes from breaking down barriers, and giving people a sense of self-expression and enjoyment while working.”
Branson shows a lack of imagination when it comes to fashion. I mean— he argues for the Hawaiian shirt! There’s trying to free workers of their sartorial shackles and then there’s being plain old tacky. Despite what he might think, you can wear a tie without being stuffy. An outfit that I like to wear is a shirt with a waistcoat/vest. I roll up my sleeves and unbutton the top button if I need to. With a pair of jeans, it’s a slightly dressier casual look. With a pair of nice pants, it’s creative formal. I let the tie, tailored of course, be the statement piece.
To be serious, we disagree with his post because SKINNYFATTIES itself is proof that you don’t need to ditch the tie to be entrepreneurial. Branson can afford to have big ideas about comfort in the workplace – he’s the boss. Not of all of us are in that position and need a realistic picture of entrepreneurship.
The story of SKINNYFATTIES is one of adapting and making the best (and more) out of a situation. In 2012, Our Founder and CEO was looking for work and needed interview clothes. Joshua taught himself how to tailor his wide ties so that they better fit his body type. Within months, he was offering the service to other people. Ties didn’t get in his way; they helped him create a new business.
SKINNYFATTIES Founder & CEO selling ties in July 2012.
So, you can ditch the tie if you really feel it’s stifling your creativity. It may or may not help. Or, you can keep your tie and slim it down to better suit your needs. You know exactly who you can count on to help you get that done.