Bowtie Behavior: Queer Brand Spotlight

Bowtie Behavior: Queer Brand Spotlight

This year, we've partnered with several companies to shine a spotlight on who they are and what they do. Our latest collaboration features the incredible Bowtie Behavior! To celebrate, Bowtie Behavior & Urbody will be hosting a giveaway from 10/30-11/2, where one lucky winner will receive a $50 gift card from Urbody and another $50 gift card from Bowtie Behavior. Read on for the exclusive interview.

Tell us about the person/people behind the brand Bowtie Behavior. Please share name, pronouns, where you’re from/where you live, what you’re passionate about, or anything else to help the audience get to know you.

My name is Robin Williams (She/her) I am from the Bronx, NY, and first generation born to Jamaican parents. I am passionate about fashion, creative expression, and sports! Before starting Bowtie Behavior in 2014, I was a college basketball coach - I have a diverse background that includes filmmaking, modeling, journalism, digital marketing, and communications.

What are you doing in your free/leisure time?

In my free time, I like to watch sports and sports documentaries lol. I like watching documentaries in general actually, I love history. I also like to listen to music, read, and learn so I spend a lot of time writing down my ideas and figuring out ways to soak up new knowledge so that I can bring my creative thoughts to life.

Can you share a bit about your journey of figuring out how to use fashion, and specifically bowties, as a tool for self-expression and self-love?

So, I grew up playing sports from a young age so I was somewhat classified as a tomb boy, but also a girly girl at the same time because I've always been into clothes, makeup, and pretty things lol. But as I grew older I found it challenging to figure out what my actual style was, or how to express both the feminine and masculine sides of my personality so when I discovered bow ties, it was like the perfect blend. I actually got into bow ties on a whim, it was not intentional at all - my best friend was getting married and the theme for her engagement party was a bow tie theme, I couldn't find an affordable bow tie that fit my style so I decided to make one. I won "best bow tie" at the engagement party, and that's how Bowtie Behavior was started! Once I started the company, I realized just how much fun bow ties could be, and how they could be used to express my fun side, my masculine side, and my girlie side, all in one. I began finding fun ways to demystify the image of bow ties as being stuffy, formal, and for "men only" by creating bow ties that were fun and colorful. In order to help market my bow ties, I had to find a way to make them less intimidating to the average buyer, and that forced me to think of ways to incorporate bow ties into my own style, and found that it was easier and more fun then I could've imagined. Now I am on a mission to redefine how bow ties are viewed by merging street style and formal wear and stressing the importance of seeing bow ties as a genderless item because it is - we all have a neck, regardless of gender lol. So it has been a really fun journey for me watching my own personal style and self-expression mature along with my brand story.


We LOVE the aesthetic and styles you have available. What speaks to you about the looks and colors you offer?

Thank you! I am inspired by people and colors. When I choose a fabric for a bow tie, I go with what speaks to me and whatever pattern I'm drawn to. I love patterns and I love bright and unique styles so I tend to gravitate towards that. Another fun fact about my process is that once I choose a fabric and then create the first sample of the bow tie, I then name the bow tie according to whatever pops into my head once it is finished. It's really an "off the top of my head" process. Many of my collections are inspired by a feeling or experience though, for example, I once had a line inspired by outside. It was the first line of bow ties I created after the pandemic, it included a bow tie with a Scrabble pattern called "Sundays in Prospect Park," one with a fish pattern called "Botanical Gardens," and another vivid pattern called "Summer Nights." All of my bow ties are created with the intention of invoking positive vibes, creativity, and expression.


What tips might you give someone who wants to incorporate more bowties or Bowtie Behavior-inspired looks into their wardrobe?

My best advice would be to start off slow lol. But also, go with a pattern that you absolutely love. My personal motto when I'm choosing an item of clothing or choosing an outfit is "Do I love it?" If the answer is yes, then I know it is the right piece for me, even if I'm not sure how I'm going to wear it yet. It's the same with bow ties. The best outfits and our favorite clothing items are those that bring us joy by just looking at them, so when choosing a bow tie, choose the one that speaks to you and I guarantee you'll find a way to rock it. Another piece of advice, you don't have to wear bow ties with collared shirts! Try wearing a bow tie untied with your favorite T-shirt as a great way to get comfortable with bow ties, and to merge it with an everyday look.


So now that we know more about you, can you tell us about your business, Bowtie Behavior?

I started Bowtie Behavior in 2014 in New York. My best friend was getting married and the theme for her engagement party was a bow tie theme, I couldn't find an affordable bow tie that fit my style so I decided to make one. I won "best bow tie" at the engagement party, and that's how Bowtie Behavior was started! Once I had created a line of stylish, and affordable bow ties, the next thing I wanted to do was make bow ties less intimidating and more accessible, so I began to take a streetwear approach to bow ties in order to achieve that and inspire more people to see bow ties in a new way. My next mission with the brand is to completely do away with how bow ties are seen as a men's accessory and show people that bow ties are genderless (as is all fashion) and not only are they genderless, but they are fit for all occasions. Right now I am in the process of expanding Bowtie Behavior's products to offer shirts and blazers, and my ultimate goal is to have a brick-and-mortar location.


What are some of the brand’s values?

Bowtie Behavior's brand values are:
1. Live authentically. If it's in your heart and in your mind, it should be put into the universe.
2. Everyday is a Fly Day! This is and forever will be the brand motto lol.
3. Everyone Deserves to Feel Fly. All people regardless of race, age, or gender identity deserve to feel good when they look in the mirror.

As a fellow small business owner, I know how hard it can be to find a work/life balance and take care of yourself. How do you find time to prioritize your mental, physical, and spiritual health?

Every day is a work in progress. I come from a single-parent household and was raised in a Caribbean family, where work and hustle culture are the norm. So it has been an ongoing battle to find a work/life balance that works for me but I do try to be intentional about setting work hours and setting boundaries with customers and clients. Right now, I am in a season of reimagining my relationship with urgency, so I give myself more time to answer emails and respond to calls/texts, and I am more realistic with what is a high priority vs. not which has helped a great deal. My favorite self-care line to use is, "I do not have the capacity right now." Ha! It works every time and also keeps me honest about my health. 

Do you have any favorite Bowtie Behavior items or collections?

My favorite bow tie is the "Flower Field" self-tie bow tie. It is from my Vivid Dreams Collection (which was inspired by a series of vivid, colorful dreams I was having). I love the Flower Field self-tie bow tie because it goes well with a lot of my outfits but still gives a pop of color.