At the Ramaz School in upper Manhattan, ties are part of the mandatory school uniform. At the age of 15,
At the Ramaz School in upper Manhattan, ties are part of the mandatory school uniform. At the age of 15, one student decided to spruce up the required garb by making his own.
Now in Lionel, dress codes have been relaxed, but Baruch Y. Shemtov ’09 still designs and produces his own line of high-fashion neckties.
In 2003, Shemtov spotted a light blue bandanna in his bedroom and decided to sew it into a crude but striking skinny tie. A novice at sewing, he sealed his loose stitches with iron-on name-tags leftover from camp. “So it said BaruchShemtovBaruchShemtovBaruchShemtov all the way up and down the back of the ties,” he says with a smile. “Everyone at school loved it and wanted me to make bandanna ties for them.”
Shemtov spotted an opportunity. After painstakingly making a number of sample ties at home, he pitched them to a manufacturing company and soon struck a deal with Takashimaya, an upscale Japanese department store in Midtown. Right then and there, the store bought his line, which includes a pink and green “double tie,” a kimono tie, and a bold metallic mesh tie.
In the last year, the local overachiever has gone national. His line of ties and women’s T-shirts premiered in Los Angeles, selling on Rodeo Drive. He now takes business advice from Donald Trump and appears everywhere from CNN to Nylon magazine.
But Shemtov remains humble and wants to keep his options open; he’s still considering jobs in everything from business to television to politics.
“I came to Harvard to understand the world better, and it’s worked out amazingly,” he says. “Being here and seeing people like Walter Mondale and John Edwards, these unbelievable people who are actually making a difference in the world, it’s inspiring.”
Luckily for Shemtov, inspiration doesn’t seem to be a problem.