Sawyer Strelnieks–Staff Writer
We all have our own hobbies. Some of us like collecting baseball cards, painting pictures, or playing a sport. But Zachary Sanford has found his niche tying dress ties.
Zach started experimenting with different knots for dress ties at his older sister’s wedding two years ago. He realized that every guy always wears the same knot with every tie they wear, often called the half-Windsor knot.
Bow ties are also a common tie worn for more formal events. Zach has learned several ways to tie them to make the tie stand out from the ordinary bow knot worn by most guys.
“You see all the girls wearing all these fancy dresses with no girl wearing the same dress or style of dress,” said Sanford. “But what can guys do that makes them different? Sure, guys have different suits and ties, but all the knots are the same.”
Ties are commonly one of the first things that gets noticed when a man is dressed up. If you were to comment on a guy’s attire, often the first thing that comes to mind is “I like your tie.” Believe me, we’ve all done it.
With this in mind, Zach began experimenting with how any guy can add a spin to how he formally dresses by finding a way to stand out in the crowd with one simple trick that doesn’t take very long to do.
“This can be a way of a guy showing that he is more cultured, giving him a way to stand out because he’s not like the other guys,” said Sanford. “You can draw attention to yourself by having a different tie knot, which is what people look at.”
However, Zach doesn’t tie dress ties primarily for attention. Instead, he sees it as a work of art and a challenge for the day. When he completes a complicated knot, he feels good about it and gets to show it off at the same time.
Zach’s interest in tying ties started years ago as he researched and watched video tutorials. He would practice tying and then show off his work at events such as weddings.
“There’s so many directions you can go with tying ties,” said Zach. “I enjoy tying ties because I can get attention but also because I like working with my hands. It’s a pastime.”
The key is making a simple knot look complex, with all knots having the same basic structure. As Zach became familiar with many knots, he realized that there are only four ways of starting any knot, and that they all finish in drastically different styles.
Most of the knots Zach ties take no more than a minute to complete, once mastered. He learns by watching a video of someone else doing it, and then repeating it himself. Zach will often watch a video before going to bed, and then will wake up knowing how to tie a new knot.
“I’m a visual learner,” he said. “Once you get through the beginning, you can tell where the knot is going. You just let the tie flow.”
Zach currently knows how to tie seven knots by memory but has tied over 50 different knots and has begun experimenting with his own variations. Now that he has the skill to tie different ties, and enjoys doing it, he wears ties to more events that he normally would not have worn a tie to.
“When people dress up on days for their exams it changes your mindset,” said Sanford. “It’s the fact that you’re dressed up and ready for the day; but also, you’re professional.”
The expectation to dress up will be a part of many students’ future careers. Zach believes that now is the time to start practicing this, just like we are practicing for our future jobs right now by studying and doing internships.
One of the many YouTube channels that Zach watches is Patrick Novotny, who uploads step-by-step guides on tying various ties.
With the weather continuing to grow colder at Dordt, Zach’s next challenge is scarf tying. He sees it as a great way to stay warm, and also a way to look good while being bundled up. If you would like to learn more or have any ideas, feel free to contact Zach.