Tie&Apron – A Lot More Than Just a Fun Gift Idea
Internationally registered trademark Tie&Apron is an unique brand that combines the elegance of a necktie with the utility of an apron. Result? A chic one-piece tie-apron for men, that combines both practical and playful values. The creative mind behind the brand is Andres Labi – an interior architect and designer from Estonia, who is also a founder and a partner of a small interior design studio called Ruumilabor. One November afternoon, we invited Andres to Wuruhi for a cup of coffee to chat a little about the beginning of the brand and how it has developed over the years.
The beginning of Tie&Apron
„Like most great things in life, the story of Tie&Apron began quite unexpectedly. It happened one night when I was invited to a dinner party,“ starts Andres to tell the legendary story of Tie&Apron in a fairytale like way. And it must be admitted – the story is truly fascinating!
Andres continues: „While serving the meal, the host – who was dressed in a black tie and a black apron – was in a constant struggle to stop his tie from dipping in the food every time he leaned forward to pass the next dish to the guest. While witnessing this struggle, I couldn’t help but see that the host’s black tie and apron seemed to merge into one another so fluidly, creating the illusion of one single elegant piece of clothing.“
Fascinated by this intriguing contradiction and eager to save other such stylish hosts from the same failure of functionality in future, Andres thought: „Why not combine the tie and apron into a single piece of clothing? They are so often worn together anyway.” The idea of putting the tie and apron together seemed so cunningly simple that Andres rushed home and so – the world’s first tie-apron was designed!
Developments and internationalization
The brand was founded already in 2013, and since then a tie-apron has received several important developments. “If at first it was more of a tie, then today it is more of an apron. In order to make cooking even easier, we have also designed different pockets, and at the request of our customers, we have also created aprons for women and children,“ mentions Andres and adds that in addition to that, aprons are also designed for baristas, bartenders and bakers.
Besides formal and conceptual innovations, Andres has also begun to enjoy experimenting with different patterns. The most recent pattern of a black-silver striped tie-apron is designed by Andres himself. “The idea of a tie-apron is more of a concept than one and only finalized design, therefore the possibilities to play with details and patterns are endless. We also try to keep up with what is happening in the world and think of more sustainable solutions for both the material and the packaging,” speaks Andres about future thoughts and confirms that there is no room for boredom when designing and creating tie-aprons.
In addition to Estonia, the uniqueness of tie-aprons has been noticed in other parts of the world as well. „Today, the design concept of tie-apron is registered worldwide and has reached almost all European and non-European countries through larger and smaller customers,” Andres tells. Despite continuous product development and internationalization, it is noteworthy that tie-aprons are still made as they were seven years ago – in the small Estonian borough Virtsu, with the help of Andres’ business partner, clothing designer Mariliis Pikkar (Marimo Fashion).
Unique symbiosis of functionality and fun
Andres admits that the attitudes towards tie-aprons are different. This serves also as a confirmation that such a concept is still new even today. „Tie-apron has received recognition at various international fairs, fashion and design weeks. Mostly, both individuals and businesses see it as a product that creates positive vibes once it is worn. However, if one doesn’t bother to delve into its design story, tie-apron may seem something too childish or impractical,” says Andres, explaining why some people consider tie-apron to be suitable just as a fun gift idea.
In fact, and while tie-apron surely is a great gift idea (it even has a super cool recycled packaging!), it also has many practical values. On the one hand, one should not forget its most elementary function, which is to ensure that clothes remain clean while cooking and serving. For that reason, it is a particularly valuable design concept for those who work in a hotel, restaurant or catering industry and who often have to wear a tie and apron together, anyway.
On the other hand, the design of a tie-apron has become extremely user-friendly and needs-based, thanks to the feedback of both hobby and professional chefs. And last but not least, tie-apron offers a great opportunity to finally learn how to make such a complicated thing as a tie knot! „To be honest, before creating a tie-apron, I didn’t know how to make a tie knot either,“ Andres gently smiles.