A month or two ago my good friend Jacob asked me if I had any experience with Conrad Wu ties – he had just ordered one himself, and was very excited to see the product firsthand. I admitted that I was not familiar with the company, but after perusing the website I was very intrigued and subscribed to their blog in hopes of learning more. I was pleasantly surprised the next morning when Conrad Wu himself reached out to me, thanked me for my interest, and offered to send me a sample to try.
The first thing that attracted me to Conrad’s ties was the great selection of materials. Most of the ties have subtle, classic designs, but they all feature great materials and textures that are normally reserved for ties well above the $100 mark. Many of the ties are made out of textured silk or wool; the silks in particular are very enticing, and I ended up requesting the brown shantung silk seen above. Shantung silk is a variety of raw silk, who’s nubby texture comes from the fact that the silk is produced from wild silkworms rather than on silk farms. The shorter threads and differences in production create the subtle gnarly texture seen above. Many of Conrad’s ties feature some form of raw silk, although he also has ties made of more traditional materials.
As for construction – all of Conrad’s ties are made in New York City (except for the knits, which are German) and are composed of very nice European materials. The ties are three-fold construction, lightly lined, and are untipped with a hand-rolled edge. Conrad’s ties range from 8-8.5 cm (3.15-3.35″) in width, and have a slight taper up the tie. What I mean by this is that the tie stays fairly wide up the length of the tie, rather than slimming down quickly. Many people only use the tie’s end width to determine its size on the body, but the shape plays a large factor as well (this is something that I’ll write more about later on). Essentially, given the hearty materials used, the shape, and construction of the tie, I’ve found that Conrad’s ties give a substantial knot with a deep dimple (the knot below is a single four-in-hand). This is just a matter of preference, but worth knowing depending on what you are looking for.
I have one other tie made of raw silk, and this one has significantly more texture – again, just something to know depending on your personal preference. Nonetheless, the texture is still subtle and not very noticeable from a few feet away.
Another important aspect of Conrad’s ties is the price. They seem to range from about $70-95, which, although not inexpensive, is impressive given the material and construction quality. Like I mentioned before, many of the materials he uses for his ties are very hard to find at prices below $150 (they’re usually found at high-end companies like Drake’s). Also, use this as a point of reference – a full-priced tie from J. Crew costs between $65 and $90, and I can say from experience that they are completely inferior to Conrad’s (and also way too skinny) If you are looking for a well-made tie with unique fabric, hand-sewn details, and an honest price, Conrad Wu could be a great option.
Also – Conrad has an affiliate thread on styleforum; he will often post new ties and sales here, so it’s worth keeping an eye on if his wares appeal to you.