Thursday, May 26, 2011 ... My Amazing Cousin The Purveyor Of Socially Responsible Neckwear

Yes, that's my gorgeous cousin Heather surrounded by children. She is doing something extraordinary with her life and her happiness shows. As it should.

When Heather was in college, she made belts. Beautifully handworked and drop dead chic, any belt she delivered to Theodore's on Rodeo Drive sold out. Immediately. Nice, yes? Ambitious girl making fashion products? Yes to all of that. But this is not your ordinary Heather, no. All the money from the sale of the belts was sent to an orphanage in Vietnam.

Not that long ago, Heather started another business. Ties. Bowties. Bespoke and exquisitely made, available on her website FIGS Ties. Heather hasn't changed really. With each tie sold, she purchases a school uniform for a child in Kenya where poverty rages and children cannot afford the required uniform. That's pretty incredible, isn't it. 

I sent my gorgeous cousin a few questions because I can't imagine how she gets it all done. Lots done actually. Her answers are below. Yes, I am very proud of what she does.

I just did a quick Q and A- let me know if you have any other questions or if this is what you wanted? xx00hh

Q & A

Q: How do you begin these projects with the marketing, manufacturing and selling?
A: Making a FIGS tie always begins with selecting and importing the highest quality fabrics and translating our designs into production.  The fabrics come from Italy, Northern Ireland, Britain, Australia - and are then hand sewn by our tailors in New York and Los angeles featuring our signature leather tie keepers and red bar tacks. 

Q: How did you find the way to donate a uniform with each tie sold?
A: Donating a school uniform to a child with the sale of each tie – Threads for Threads – is the heart of our company.  As such, it is so important to us that the communities we serve are a part of the process and are behind the mission as much as we are!  By employing tailors from the areas we help; and embracing personal relationships with our school communities, FIGS isn’t just a Los Angeles-based operation – it is global. 

Q: The cashmere project - when did this start and what made you think of it?
A:  FIGScashmere arose out of our resolve to fill a void in the scarf world for ridiculously soft cashmere.  Scarves have always been a mainstay of my wardrobe and it seemed like a natural progression for FIGS’ offering of neckwear.  They are a staple of basics and add a third dimension to an outfit. – it’s 100% ridiculous. 

Q: Tell us about your recent trip to Oxford.
A: I am so fortunate to have received a scholarship to study at the Oxford University School of Business.  I recently returned from my studies with the Finance Programme for Senior Executives and had an amazing experience.  Tre-cool. 

Q: Do you have help with the projects?
A: Team FIGS is behind every tie, each step of the way. We have an energetic group dedicated to seeing each tie serve two interwoven ideals – revitalizing the concept of dressing for success by supporting a child’s education, one tie at a time.  
For ever tie sold, FIGS gives a uniform to a child in need. 

Facts (of course any other salient facts, like your museum association, etc)
  • Clinton Global Initiative tie maker
  • Whitney Museum of American Art collaboration with artist Charles Ledray
  • Tom Colicchio’s Craft Restaurant collaboration
  • we do weddings and custom ties for individuals


  1. Wow, this is a really amazing concept. I'll have to forward it to my friend, Lauranne who is working for a company in Africa producing responsible cotton t-shirts.

    I also have a giveaway going on at my blog, if you're interested, for a $20 gift certificate to Green Apple Paperie. They make the most amazing products!

    xo Ashley

  2. What a wonderful initiative! Hopping over to check out the site!

  3. Beauty, brains, talent and kindness! It must run in the family.
    (I visited her site, she has such integrity.)

  4. I'm a huge fan of everything she and this label stand for! Bravo. And I'm not surprised she's your cousin :-) xo

  5. I love hearing about initiatives like this. Considering how shallow people's perceptions of fashion are, it's always good to know how the industry can benefit charities. I'm a sucker for soft scarves too and the bow ties are fab! And she looks like a very chic lady!

  6. This is the sort of post that makes my day, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is learning about such an outstanding project. From a writing perspective you have to know I love the information as blog fodder, as a fashion lover I am entranced by the new take on an old standby.

    Another home run Madeleine. :)


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