An Unusual but Beloved Bow Tie

Seeing leading men at various awards ceremonies wearing the same thing proved the spark for Monisha Robinson to create Mocaro, pairing silk and precious metal for an avande garde bow tie

Article by Andy Barnham

Inspiration can be a weird and wonderful thing. Take Mocaro who offer bow ties; on first inspection it is easy to assume the combination of fine silks and precious metals comes from a passion for menswear and jewellery. Whilst this is, ultimately, true the path taken is much more engaging with more twists and turns than someone who’s forever been a dandy.

Talking to Monisha Robinson, the founder of Mocaro, the story of her brand started in her teens when she did work experience with Matthew Bourne’s production of Edward Scissorhands in Sadler’s Wells in 2005. Gaining experience in theatrical costumes, working on Edward’s own costume, she fell in love with fabrics and material. Pressing fast forward and several years later in 2011 Monisha started at the London College of Fashion reading fashion design and business. Outside of her studies, she sold ladies accessories at Spitalfields when fate intervened. A male friend, helping at her stand, decided to wear a female necklace in the shape of a tie and garnered so much attention that it sparked a Eureka! moment. This, coupled with a gnawing sense that the womenswear market she had been studying was saturated, led Monisha to look at the men’s scene which she found ripe for plucking, being comparatively dull at the time. This idea, reinforced through watching various music award ceremonies and seeing leading men in virtually the same outfit with little deviation, led her to see a niche in an industry she believed to be conservative and relatively standard.

“What can I make different? Where’s the gap in the market I asked myself?” continues Monisha as her journey led her to conduct work experience in Hatton Gardens with the idea of creating luxury accessories incorporating metals and fabrics, which led her to ties.

Sourcing her silk from a silk mill in Macclesfield, it’s clear Monisha is very hands on with how her ties are made. “It’s 100 per cent pure silk and I choose the texture and colour and I am involved in every process,” with the benefit of UK production also allowing her to oversee product and build a relationship with the mill. Back in London she has understandably chosen her precious metals to come from Hatton Gardens and has registered her own hallmark with her metals being processed by the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office in London.

The result, taking a year from initial design to prototype to final product, is anything but conservative and standard. Whilst purists may bemoan the fixed nature of the bow ties, it’s clear, on closer inspection, that there’s no other way to incorporate the precious metal clasps that fix the knot in place. Reassuringly heavy in the hand the weight of the ties is nonetheless not weighty enough to feel like you’re wearing an anchor around your neck. The same can be said of Mocaro’s slim ties which have a metal plated tip. All Monisha’s ties are hand crafted, but she’s keeping the location and means of the final assembly under her hat as she is keen that all the embellishments and signature touches remain special and unique to Mocaro.

With her silk produced in only small production runs, each item while not unique is certainly special as only a limited number of ties can be made per run with no intention of being repeated for now. Feedback from customers has been glowing; “The ties are often sentimental and worn for special occasions,” says Monisha, “And when men wear my ties, they gain in confidence.” It’s not hard to see why American singer Gregory Porter is a fan with a number of Mocaro items in his wardrobe having found Monisha through word of mouth.

And the name? “My family are from Jamaica, but my uncle’s partner was an Italian lady. So it’s Mo- from Monisha and caro means ‘beloved’ in Italian.” Given the feedback, her items certainly are that. riddle_stop 2




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