For champions of neckwear, knots are more than just a means of securing a tie; they are a canvas for artistic expression. Despite the excess of online tutorials, not every individual finds the finesse required to navigate the labyrinth of neck-tying intuitive. Like many, I too confess to relying on YouTube to guide me through the seemingly elusive art of knotting a tie, grappling with a process that, to my brain, remains enigmatic.
Enter the realm of “The Man Who Invented Fifteen Hundred Necktie Knots,” Boris Mocka who has elevated the simple act of tying a tie into a creative pursuit. Explore the intricacies of the world of necktie knots, where tying a tie becomes not just a sartorial necessity but an art form with surprising mathematical complexities.
Boris Mocka’s diverse journey has seen him navigate through various roles, from being an art student and a delivery person for weed to participating in underground kickboxing and managing a deli. However, it wasn’t until his forties that he emerged as a prolific inventor of numerous distinctive knots, a departure from the conventional four-in-hand, Windsor, or Pratt styles. Among his creations is one named the Jawbreaker, aptly titled for its ability to leave onlookers in awe due to its unexpected shape and intricate folds.
In 2015, a group of researchers delved into the world of necktie knots, publishing a paper intriguingly titled “More Ties than We Thought.” According to their calculations, there were an astonishing 266,682 possible tie knots. However, when one of the paper’s authors is introduced to Mocka, a maestro of tie knots, it becomes evident that the paper had underestimated the complexity of the art.
Boris Mocka asserts that at a certain juncture, he had crafted a greater number of necktie knots than anyone else worldwide, leading him to humorously dub himself a “tieknotologist.” While the general populace accustomed to wearing ties may be well-acquainted with the common four-in-hand knot, and perhaps the Windsor and half-Windsor variations, Mocka’s expertise extends far beyond these conventional styles.
The true number of possible necktie knots once believed to be around 266,682, now appears to stretch far beyond a million. Tying a tie is no longer a mundane ritual; it has become an exploration of uncharted creative territory, with Mocka as the pioneering linguist of this novel sartorial language.
Inspired by The Man Who Invented Fifteen Hundred Necktie Knots by Matthew Hutson for The New Yorker