Author Archives: Eric Stefenson
Here at Bird Dog Bay, we get a lot of comments on our brands name, as well as the naming of our products… The usual questions are Where is Bird Dog Bay? or What is “Dog Park Dos” or Who is Gus the dog?… Even more common than those questions is the always entertaining, Who the hell comes up with all these names?!?
Steve enjoys brainstorming new ideas, especially when it comes to naming. Every mailer we send, every tie we design, is carefully, yet in the same manner casually named. A lot of times Steve will ask our opinions, and sometimes to give him ideas for design names… Yet at the end of the day Steve Mayer is a master tie namer!
The name of our brand, Bird Dog Bay, is a perfect example of Steve’s ability to conjure up humble and spot on names. Steve rescued Gus, our friendly mascot and lousy “Bird Dog” from a kill center in Illinois…Every morning Steve would leave his home for work, and Gus, would stare our sadly from Steve’s “Bay” window of his home on the west side of Chicago. Eventually Steve began designing our line of neckwear in that very home. Bird Dog Bay, really has come to represent home, wherever that may be… From the inlets of New England, to the warm Gulf waters of South Florida, to the Pacific Bays of California…
What we sell is a very unique product. Our neckties are seen as gifts, collectibles, and to some a simple addition to their everyday attire. We have Texas Longhorn ties, sock monkey Christmas Ties, Fly Fishing ties, Cowboy Ties, Dodo bird ties, Golf ties, American Flag ties, and the list goes on and on… Of course our fan favorite Dog and Hunting ties always come back every open season, yet all of the other ties, are carefully scripted colored, and named by Steve.
One example of a name, I enjoy, is “Birdie on Three”… A whimsically hand drawn white bird is hazardously yet playfully picking up a golf ball on the third tee of a golf green colored tie. A birdie also refers to the ever eluscent (at least in my golf game) stroke under par after the completion of a hole… This tie is just one of the many examples that depict whats in a name here at Bird Dog Bay.
What is houndstooth?
Countless people ask us what the pattern means or represents… Interestingly, it can mean many different things. To people from the state of Alabama, and crimson tide fans across the globe, it represents the tradition of their beloved football program. The famous black and white check pattern covered legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s famous wool fedora. It has become a symbol of the University program in many ways and continues to be seen across the Tuscaloosa campus during tailgates, and other events. In fact, Alabama has become so connected to the pattern that the pattern created a lawsuit over the proper usage of the pattern. Check out the incident here. http://www.al.com/news/tuscaloosa/index.ssf/2014/05/university_of_alabama_settles.html
Countless fashion designers also use the pattern to cover anything from women’s skirts to mens dress shirts… It comes in different sizes, colors, and fabrics… It is seen is countless manners. It has found a way to be a staple in classic American style. How did this come to be, you may ask? Lets look at the history behind houndstooth.
Houndstooth is also known as dogstooth, making it even more of a perfect pattern for us here at Bird Dog Bay. It is a two tone textile pattern characterized by broken checks or abstract four-pointed shapes, usually in black and white, although other colors are and can be used. Here at Bird Dog Bay, we even created a christmas houndstooth, using red and green. The classic houndstooth pattern is an example of a tessellation. Houndstooth checks originated in woven cloth, usually from wool, found in the Scottish Lowlands, as a clan pattern that was easily recognizable, but are now used in many other materials, like woven silk! From Scotland, it found its way to England mills, in and outside of London around the Industrial Revolution… Eventually British fashion found its way across the pond, to our great country… The pattern has recently made a revival in American fashion… It also had quite a showing during the 1970’s!
The traditional houndstooth check is made with alternating bands of four dark and four light threads in both warp and weft or willing woven in a simple 2 by 2 twill, two over/two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass.We use the pattern to make houndstooth cufflinks, houndstooth cummerbund sets, houndstooth neckties, and houndstooth bow ties! We even have pre tied houndstooth boy’s bow ties…
In essence, houndstooth has become a classic traditional pattern that pairs incredibly well with everything from formal attire, to a white oxford shirt and khakis for a Southern tailgate. Roll Tide!
Summertime seems to bring an elated feeling of jubilance here in Chicago. The city seems to double in size and opportunity. Every bar seems packed, every beach filled, and every apartment rooftop crowded. At each of these locations there always seems to be one constant…Beer. Ah, yes that delightful fermented beverage that brings people together around the world… Beer has even found its way onto one of Bird Dog Bay’s necktie designs… Yes. A beer themed tie.
Steve explains how our “Hoppy Hour” tie came to be…
“One of my best buddies, Matt Gallagher, is the head brewer and co-owner of Half Acre Brewery in Chicago. He started as a home brewer when he lived next door to me in Humboldt Park, and six years later he has built one of the biggest, most respected microbreweries in all of Cook County. At the start, he planted three strains of hops in the front lawn to get the business started; now just a handful of summers later those hops grow all the way to the roof and Matt still comes back to that house to harvest them for a special small batch every fall. Here’s a nod to my buddy, an inspiration to me and this design. Swing by the taproom if you’re ever in Chicago and get a brewery tour: http://halfacrebeer.com/
FYI: Modest ass kissing gets you free Daisy Cutter Pale Ales for life.”
“Hoppy Hour” comes in three colors and is worn best alongside a cold pint… Cheers!
Swing Batter Batter, Swing…
It is difficult to think of something more American than the game of baseball… The smell of the fresh cut grass, the sound of the rowdy crowd, the sights of people crowding into iconic ball parks to enjoy our country’s national pastime. The dog days of summer seem to find a way to bring out baseball fans, even those not remotely interested in the great sport.
In Chicago, the energy and enjoyment surrounding the game of baseball seems heightened with two storied and beloved franchises calling the Windy City home. Here at Bird Dog Bay, the office is split on which team in Chicago reigns supreme, but we can all agree that summer in Chicago means baseball!
On one side (the south side) you have the iconic black and white clad hit-men, the Chicago White Sox. Known for their hard nosed and passionate fans, along with their 2005 World Series Champion team, the Sox (as they are called by most Chicagoans) pride themselves on the their performance, beautiful ballpark, delicious hot dogs, and die hard fans. Any game at US Cellular (the cell) is sure be a hit!
On the other side (the north side) you have the storied lovable losers, the Chicago Cubs. Playing their home games at the historic Wrigley Field, (which is celebrating its 100th season) the Cubbies continue to keep their passionate and devoted fans hoping and wishing for a World Series appearance. The brick, the ivy, the bleachers, the manual scoreboard… all create an atmosphere that is unparalleled in baseball. If only they could put together a winning ball club!
Steve, being a native and loyal Chicagoan, immersed in the great baseball tradition of the city could not go another collection without making a baseball themed tie. Alas, “The National Past-Tie“… A whimsical yet traditional tie that “ties in” a classic repetitive pattern with intricate drawings of a pitcher an batter! This baseball tie is sure to be a home run with any fan of the game! The rich blue silk color seems to give the necktie and warm and jovial summer feel, while transitioning well into the Fall and Spring. The lime green bow also lights up a summer outfit in a playful way!
Whether you are sitting at home, the office, or at the ol’ ballpark, grab a maxwell street Polish, an Old Style and tie on a National Past Tie! A sports themed tie that is both professional and fun!
USA! USA! USA!
The sense of unity and appreciation for this great county started recently with the advancements of Team USA in the world cup and continues with the 4th of July weekend on the horizon. At Bird Dog Bay, we are excited to celebrate this special holiday with all the festivities Chicago and our country has to offer: Whether you will be attending attend the Freedom Fest at Navy Pier, or simply have a neighborhood cookout and watch the nighttime fireworks, the 4th is an amazing time to gather with friends and family and celebrate our Independence Day. Show your patriotism with us this 4th of July, by sporting sporting the classic American flag with our ‘Star & Stripes’ tie in blue (pictured above), America’s favorite companion ‘Black Lab Heaven’ tie in red (shown above), or our traditional ‘America’ socks (pictured below).
Don’t forget, wherever you are in Chicago and across the US of A, be “Proud to be an American!” Happy Fourth of July to everyone!
The world cup has seemed to gain some steam here in the United States! Being based in Chicago, we at Bird Dog Bay have seen first hand the intersection of patriotism and the passion for sports create a powerful movement. Grant park was filled to capacity with fans, young and old, looking to catch a glimpse of the US Men’s soccer team performance on a large screen monitor placed in the park for the Ghana and Portugal games.
The passionate energy has carried over to our ties here at Bird Dog Bay. Steve’s World Cup tie is a phenomenal example of our excitement and support for the sport and the US Men’s team. Whether you will be chanting the “I believe” US soccer call at the local pub, or sneakily watching the match on your desktop a t work, the world cup tie is a perfect complement to any outfit to show your support! The world cup is an exciting event that brings together people from all over the world and seems to divide and unite folks in mysterious ways. Pictured below is a intern David Johnsen sporting the ‘World Cup” bow in green!
Make sure to “score” with this fantastic sports themed tie that will become a wardrobe classic any day between the next 4 years… and for the next World Cup in Russia! Whoever you are rooting for, this tie has you covered. Soccer, futball, whatever… This world cup has proven the excitement has captivated the United States, and is here to stay.
“Last Sunday was a double whammy of a day. Some people embraced the warm weather, opting for yard work or an outdoor BBQ. Other folks–yours truly included–watched Bubba Watson pull away from Jordan Spieth to claim his second green jacket in three years. And while Sunday was great for The Masters, the warm weather, the return of “Mad Men,” and so many other things, Sunday was also good as it was Palm Sunday–meaning Easter and candy was one week away.
Easter, as I’ve come to learn, is a big holiday around Bird Dog Bay; not for any real reason, save a widespread love of sweets and the opportunity for Steve to draw another handsome Spring tie. Featured below are two offerings–“Tasty Peeps” and “Easter Tie”–which are available in our studio now, just in time for this Sunday’s festivities.
The first, “Tasty Peeps,” is our new offering for Spring 2014. Available in coral, yellow, and blue, this tie features a bunny and his ideal meal, a couple delicious Peeps. This tie is an absolute perfect choice for any occasion next Sunday, providing an air of personality without being outrageous. Its repeating pattern exudes an air of formality, but upon closer glance, features nothing but the Easter Bunny and the classic marshmallow treat.
Another Easter tie, titled, well, “Easter Tie” is another option for this year. While Steve’s title is a bit basic, the tie is anything but, featuring cute chicks and the occasional bunny. Originally done for Spring 2013, the design proved to be a mainstay in our collection, the perfect accessory for those desiring a bunny tie or chicken tie in his Easter basket. “Easter Tie” is available in Green and pairs perfectly with a navy blazer, oxford, and loafers.
If “Tasty Peeps” and “Easter Tie” are a bit too much for you, as always, Bird Dog Bay has you covered. Other great seasonal options include “The White Stripes” or “Neapolitan Plaid,” each in an array of colors, for a more formal look. Regardless, whether next Sunday’s plans include a trip to Mass or a get-together with friends and family, make sure to knot up with one of Bird Dog Bay’s Easter ties to attract cute chicks or some-bunny special.”
We here at Bird Dog Bay pride ourselves on being something along the lines of Renaissance Men. Perhaps not in the classic sense–we do appreciate both the sciences and the humanities, mind you–but in a more modern sense: one of never being out of place. From the outdoor barbecue and suds get-togethers to the champagne-glass-and-pinky-out affairs, we like to think we can get by almost anywhere, especially when accompanied by our silk goods.
Speaking of those upscale shindigs: why the bad rap? Too often, gentlemen to whom we’ve spoken complain. From the tux and stud set to the stiff conversation, it seems as if all fun is absent when made to gussy up. Ever want to jazz things up a bit? Stick it to the man? If so, Bird Dog Bay has you covered for your next formal event with our one of a kind cummerbund sets.
Ah, it’s that time of year–the time where some abandon schoolwork, others abandon real world work, and all descend on warmer climates for a week of sun and relaxation.
While Bird Dog Bay is undoubtedly rooted in some more formal settings, we nonetheless have a variety of goods which can serve one well in the sand or dinner at the club. Featured below are a few of our goods tailored for this time of year, all of which are available at online at http://www.birddogbay.com.
The first item is our ever popular Gus Cap. Featured in five different colors with a leather adjustable strap, our Gus Cap is named for none other than Bird Dog Bay’s favorite misbehavin’ four-legged friend. Perfect for those warm rays, the Gus Cap will do a fine job of keeping the sun out of your eyes whether posted up with a cold one in the sand or a stogie on the front nine.
Perhaps a visor is more your style? We’ve got those featured, too.
While many of us don caps while out and about on the town, there are those who don’t … and there are also those whose hats are commandeered by their significant others! To ensure your Bird Dog Bay fix is accounted for, however, we also offer our Embroidered Gus T-Shirts! Like our Gus Caps, the Gus Tee is ideal from the trip from your cabana to the waterfront. Featured on the front left breast of the shirt is again our famous Gus, and this showcase will ensure you’re “top dog” in the waves.
Many spring break destinations are chosen to shed the jackets and ties of corporate life; rest assured, however, if you need to “put on the dog” for a nice dinner out, we have you covered, as well.
Up first is our new “Shark Week” tie. New from our Spring/Summer 2014 line and coming in coral, turquoise, and blue, “Shark Week” is the perfect whimsical twist for a seaside venture. “Shark Week” features both Great White and Hammerhead sharks, not to mention the inclusion of a small Scuba Steve, too!
While “Shark Week” is a surefire winner, perhaps you’ve opted to visit Amity Island and don’t wish to revisit the summer of ’75. In this case, our “Neapolitan Plaid” tie, also from our Spring/Summer collection, is definitely up to the task of keeping you in order. Available in green, pink, yellow, and blue, this tailored take on a classic plaid allows one to stand out in just the right way, perfect with a navy blazer and oxford at a seaside dinner.
No matter the location and no matter the setting, Bird Dog Bay has you covered for every occasion. Make your Spring Break a memorable one with Bird Dog Bay.