The Midtown establishment aims to bring back the modern-day gentleman
Where fashion statements tend to be throwbacks or forward-looking, ties are somewhere in the middle. It’s the most obvious thing you see when a man wears a suit, but when choosing between a necktie or a bow tie, most opt for tradition.
Ne’Gyle Beaman, owner of Bleu Bowtique, wants to shift perception by offering Midtown Detroit handmade bow ties. The reasoning is simple – they stick out, but in a good way.
“The bow tie is daring,” Beaman says. “It’s a guy who’s comfortable with how he looks. You know it’s going to be noticed. It draws such a big conversation.”
Beaman’s own history is a conversation starter. The insurance agent and former City of Detroit electrician knew he wanted to launch a bow tie company, but initially, he outsourced it. Disappointed by the results, he ditched the idea of having a New York-based company manufacture his products and taught himself how to use a sewing machine. Trial and error – and nights taking apart bow ties to see how they were made – finally resulted Bleu Bowtique in 2013, first as a series of pop-ups and, today, a store in Midtown.
His customers have come from Chicago, Grand Rapids, Toronto and other places, often explorers of Detroit’s “comeback” narrative. Word-of-mouth has helped, and he’s noticing a cultural shift – one that does look beyond the expected while embracing the unexpected.
“There’s no place in the city that I know of personally where you can get a handmade bow tie,” Beaman says. “With the comeback of Detroit, the re-emergence of the gentleman, I’m expecting to come back as well. If you look good, you feel good. You have a whole different attitude that day.”