RVA Fashion Week is almost upon us, and that means runways, models showing off this season’s trends, and all of Richmond’s creative and unique designers selling everything from clothes, to hats to jewelry. One particular designer that caught RVA Mag’s eye last year was Miranda Classic Ties.
Philip Miranda, along with his wife, Jessica, launched their online bowtie business in 2015 to make custom bowties and ties for a local customer base. They have since earned a large following making their ties out of used and vintage fabrics.
As a Jehovah’s Witness volunteering 70 hours a week, Miranda is particular about looking his best for his congregation – he’s been devout since his youth, and believes in the power of looking presentable to spread his message.
“It really started out as a hobby,” Miranda said. “One day, I was looking for a Herringbone tweed bowtie, and I couldn’t find one anywhere. The ones I did find were extremely expensive. So I decided to make one.”
After purchasing a tweed jacket from a local thrift store, and a very basic sewing machine, Miranda taught himself how to follow templates and repurpose fabrics.
“I did a lot of research,” he said. “With anything I want to do, I always do a lot of research. I watched many, many videos and learned how to sew and make bowties and ties — ties were the hardest part.”
Miranda still has his original tweed bowtie, but his work has expanded to dozens of unique items. From wedding orders to lapel pins, pocket squares, and custom pink velvet bowties, Miranda does it all.
“The quality of stuff you find in stores, even the high-end ones, is often not that good,” he said. “I have made a bunch of different bowties and ties made from wool, and I have never seen anything like them in retail. Wool is such a rich fabric to work with; the wool pieces I have are probably my favorites.”
While younger generations often dress more casually, Miranda has not given up hope that formal wear will make a comeback.
“In the 40s and 50s, people dressed up all the time,” he said. “This style is classic — it’s never going to die. There will always be that guy who can sport a bow tie and a jacket at all times, and look good doing it.”
Still, many people have misconceptions about dressing up, Miranda said.
“Sometimes people get the wrong idea, that people who dress formally are rich or snobby,” he said. “But I’m neither rich or snobby.”
Miranda emphasized the power of a nice bowtie or a suit — it’s more than an article of clothing, he said.
“Dressing up makes a person look better, but it also makes a person feel better,” he said. “It can help communities to dress up too, and bypass the uppity-ness of wearing formal wear. It’s all about the confidence a suit and tie can give you.”
Handcrafted bowties and ties, as well as links for special requests, can be found on Miranda’s Etsy page.
“I can make a bowtie, tie, pocket square, or lapel pin out of any fabric,” Miranda said. “If you send me the fabric, I’ll make the tie.”