Ties and Father's Day are tighter than a half-Windsor: The month leading up to the holiday accounts for a quarter of annual neckwear purchases. But even with 30 million sold in America last year, men just don't buy ties like they used to, according to Marshal Cohen, a fashion-industry analyst at market-research firm NPD Group. "The traditionalist who is buying the old brands has an ample supply already," he says.
Instead, small companies are flourishing by selling neckties to men who don't have to wear them. "The more avant-garde, the more boutique-branded, the more the consumer gravitates toward it," Cohen says. Take, for instance, Emil and Sandy Corsillo, brothers who began producing tiny runs of dead-stock-fabric ties two years ago. Their Brooklyn, New York-based brand, the Hill-Side, has seen sales increase sixfold since then. Hill-Side's roughly handsome selvage ties and chambray pocket squares are now stocked in 45 North American shops, including J.Crew. "We're not fighting against the overall casualing of society," Sandy says.
As it turns out, the key to getting men to knot up is positive reinforcement. "When a guy wears a tie and gets a compliment, he's 16 times more likely to buy another tie within the year," Cohen says. Trust us: Whether your father is a starchy Wall Streeter or a guest blogger for the Sartorialist, he'll look great in any of these.
A version of this article appeared in the June 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.