50 Years Ago: The Rolling Stones Are Asked to Save the British Necktie Industry
British teen rebellion isn't the only thing the Rolling Stones were being blamed for in 1965 — they also had the declining employment prospects of the nation's tie makers on their narrow young shoulders, too.
That was the case according to Tailor and Cutter magazine, anyway. On March 19, 1965, the publication ran an editorial pinning the slumping popularity of the tie on a new crop of young celebrities, led by Mick Jagger and the rest of the Stones, and asking them to consider the impact they could have on their fans' wardrobes — and, by extension, tie makers' fortunes — if they fancied things up a little.
"With position comes responsibility. It is a thought we recommend to the Rolling Stones," reads the article in part. "We would urge pop stars everywhere to give at least passing consideration to the financial straits in which the manufacturers are likely to find themselves if the next generation goes eternally open-necked."
Admitting that the Stones "are not the only pebbles on the beach," Tailor and Cutter pointed out that "an authoritative lead from the No. 1 spot on the Top 20 would be clearly welcome. It might do more for the necktie than all the tie weeks from here to forever."
Jagger, responding on behalf of "the numerous little huddles of curious folk who supply such an enormous proportion of teenage entertainment," quipped, "The trouble with a tie is that it could dangle in the soup. It is also something extra to which a fan can hang when you are trying to get in and out of a theater." He also scoffed at the idea that adding a money purse to the end of a man's tie might help spur sales, suggesting that it would "produce a nation of rich hunchbacks." Conceding that the band was "really sorry for the tie industry," Jagger concluded, "We won't change our ways."
Of course, the tie industry could always count on the dapper Charlie Watts for sales — and in the years after the Stones' initial rise to fame, Jagger was one of the first rock stars to embrace the allure of dressing well and pursuing forward fashion. As for the U.K. tie-making industry? Sales have weathered more than one downturn since the Stones came along, but the market for a well-made necktie remains alive and well.
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