At this rate, Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson is going to design a bow tie for every possible life occasion. The multi-talented actor first teamed up with The Tie Bar in 2012 to create an affordable line of bow ties with a purchase price that almost entirely benefited Ferguson’s charity Tie The Knot, which supports the fight for marriage equality in the US.
The collab has raised over $500,000 since then, and marriage equality is the law of the land, but Jesse says Tie The Knot's mission is just as critical in today's poltical landscape. This month, Tie The Knot is launching its very first formal wedding collection at The Tie Bar on May 16th, inspired by Jesse’s own nuptials to his husband Justin Mikita four years ago.
In addition to that, a new chef-inspired bow tie is out now in honor of the James Beard Awards, the awards gala celebrating chefs and food culture that Jesse hosted in Chicago on Monday night. Before food's big night, we got Jesse to talk food and fashion, his best wedding style tips for men, and to namedrop his favorite Bravoleb.
Have you wanted to design a formal bow tie collection for a while?
The great thing about a bow tie is it's so extremely versatile. Bow ties can be both formal and informal. That's sort of what we love about our wedding collection. These patterns and colors are trending with what's popular in weddings today, but then they can also be rolled out into a more casual wardrobe as well. It won't just be for a wedding, it can be something that you wear way after your wedding and remember your wedding fondly from.
What did you and your husband wear to your wedding?
We had custom-made tuxes from a designer that I don't know if they're in business any more, Band of Outsiders [Editor’s note: It is, but with new designers]. It was very classic. We didn't wear matching tuxes, I wore a dark gray one and Justin wore a navy tux. We had bowties, of course.
Of course! Do you have any wedding fashion tips for men?
I think my tip would be to be comfortable in what you're wearing. It's a day that's going to be heavily photographed. You want to make sure you look back on those photos fondly. You should be confident in what you're wearing.
Also, know that it is a very special day. It deserves to be special. I think you can take a little bit of a risk, and a great place to take that risk is with the bowtie. I think it's a great opportunity to set a tux apart from other looks.
The Tie Bar
Can you believe how much has been accomplished since you started Tie the Knot?
Right. When we started Tie the Knot, we had seven states that had marriage equality. We wanted to obviously improve that number, so we wanted to raise money for the people who were in the trenches fighting for marriage equality. Obviously now we have full federal marriage equality in all 50 states and now what we're raising money for is the great need of protecting that privilege.
I think it's easy to pat ourselves on the back, and we certainly should—we've come a long, long way. But there's still so much work to be done for LBGTQ people. Federal equality in the workplace [for example]—you can basically be married on a Saturday and lose your job on a Monday because you married the person that you love in several states. I think a lot of people don't understand that. We have a lot of work to still do.
Do you feel fired up in recent months?
Oh, certainly. Our current political climate has been great for business, to say it lightly. It certainly has reinvigorated Justin, my husband, and I and all of us at The Tie Bar. We are very excited with what we can do. It kind of reminded us that we can't be complacent.
Switching topics, how do you go about designing a James Beard Award food-themed tie?
I really have to give a lot of credit to everyone at the Tie Bar. They did a great job at taking the lead on that and creating a whimsical and fun tie that's also subtle and not over the top. It's really beautiful. I'll be wearing it on the awards on Monday. I think we have given it to some chefs; I'm excited to see some people wear it on the red carpet.
Do you think there's an intersection between food and fashion?
Obviously chefs have to wear clothes? [Laughs] I'm such an outsider with the culinary world—I'm such an admirer. I don't know how to answer that authentically. I will say that there is certainly a correlation between equality and the culinary world, both in just gender equality and LBGTQ equality. The great thing about the James Beard Award bow tie is that's all money that's going towards the James Beard Foundation and it's going to be used for LBGTQ equality in the culinary world. That's really exciting.
Do you have any Bravo shows you watch?
I'm actually a huge fan of Top Chef. That's one of my all-time favs. I check in with the Real Housewives every once in awhile. Why not?
Is there any Housewife you think is stylish?
They're all incredibly stylish. I'm a big fan of Bethenny [Frankel]. I know her socially, I think she's a really cool person and I've gotten to hang out with her a little bit. I think she's quite remarkable.
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