Robert Talbott – The Prince of ties

For over forty years, Robert Talbott has been America’s most premium maker of hand made neckwear. He launched his first shirt line in the year 1992. It was a huge risk since being a leader in the tie industry does not guarantee the same success in a different clothing line. The startup happened by them buying a highly popular shirt maker that excelled in craftsmanship.

In the year 1990, Robert Talbott shirts took over Lucerne shirt makers. Immediately after that they hired Mark Calder, a leading Californian designer who specialized in international and chic look. He worked paralleled with Robert Jensen leading to the birth of Estate lines of dress shirts. Robert Talbotts estate neckwear line made by Robert Jensen came in the picture a few years later.

The company’s life and story is considered legendary in the American fashion industry. In the middle century a successful Wall Street investment banker gave up all and heads west with his wife. They were settled in California with very little money to startup their own business. However, they entrepreneurial zeal and goal lead them to successfully start a factory of hand sewing neckwear in a two car garage. Around 50 years later, the small startup catering to some tie lovers went on to be the largest neckwear maker in the world. Robert Talbott passed away in the year 1986 but the business is still being run successfully by his wife Audrey.

The company very strictly adheres to the principals followed by Robert when he was alive. Everyone who had known Robert was aware that he believed in the philosophy of quality and not money. He always had the zeal to be the best and wanted to feature in the top of the American fashion industry. The reason why robert talbot ties went up was due to the fact that he stuck to making high quality products making hand craftsmanship a top priority.

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The firm initially was into making bow ties but Robert always wanted to expand into a full clothing line. He devised new strategies to be the number one player in the market. Robert Talbott sevenfold strategy created wonders for the company.  However with time the sevenfold technology died down as it involved use of double the amount of silk of ties leading to higher cost process. It became extremely difficult to find hand sewers  who knew working with this technique. But Robert got lucky in the year 1985 with Lydia Grayson – a leading specialist in sevenfold technique in Chicago.

In order to become globally know, Talbot started showcasing his collection in the European trade fairs and exhibitions as well. The firm exhibited its collection in the well known Pitti Uomo show in Rome consecutively for three years. This presence got the firm closer to leading European tie and shirt makers like Charvet, Lorenzini, Asser etc.

The estate shirts have an international look and feel to it. They do not believe in following the latest fashion but in creating a classic look. Their styles include the popular collar styles like elongated point, cutaway, button down etc.  The unique point of Robert Talott shirts is that they are sewn by hand and the silk gussets, buttons are specially made in England. No other company has ever put so much handwork like Talbott.

Talbott’s sport shirts are also popular. The material is soft with one piece tailored and spread collars. Their other expansions include waistcoats, vests and robes. This is a mark of the company’s large market share in the luxury fashion world. Robert Talbott very rightly adhered to his saying –“Take the top and run with it”.

Author: Grace Smith – Contact her on  Google +.
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