Xavier Underwood, 22-year-old founder of Patch Work, currently resides in Washington, DC running his own bow tie company. As I sat down with Xavier, I got to know him, his style, and his purpose.
From the moment I learned about Patch Work this question was lingering in my mind: Why bow ties? I thought it was a great and original idea yet was curious what sparked it. Xavier began to tell me about his two collections in high school: bow ties and fitted caps. He said they were, “different; no one was really doing it.” During his sophomore year at Virginia Commonwealth University, he realized something: “It turned from a habit to a feign. I was spending so much money on [bow ties]…It got to be too expensive so I taught myself how to make my own.” He began to get a lot of compliments and positive feedback and started buying and collecting fabric, often going to local vintage shops and using their old tablecloths and curtains.
Is the business self-run or does it consist of a team?
“People submit suggestions…but for the most part, it’s just me. I have a small creative team to help with ideas [and] I just hired a brand manager for marketing.”
Patch Work’s creative director along with the team contribute ideas yet Xavier does all the photography, makes the bow ties, and runs the website. Along with the bow ties chosen by Patch Work, they also do custom designs. Some recent examples were red bandanna bow ties made for the Kappa Centennial and tweed ones for the 2011 DC Tweed Ride & Celebration.
Where do you see the business going?
“It has a lot of potential, it’s something that hasn’t been done…It’s currently in three places: the DMV, Oakland, CA and Richmond, VA.”
He hopes to also venture internationally to Japan and Scotland.
Is there a plan to open a Patch Work store?
“Yes, but no time soon.”
Xavier wants to focus on branding the product and further establishing itself as a company. He wants raise demand so that a store would be sure to receive positive feedback. He also hopes to branch out to other items besides bow ties.
What is purpose/mission/motto of Patch Work?
“A lot of people like to get real formal when they go out, dressed up, “wannabe” high-end. There’s some who like to be kicked back, chill. I do it for the grey area in-between. Patch Work is something that hasn’t been done before. My aim is to present a product basically that everyone can grow to love. Patch Work is doing just that.”
Luckily for me, at the end of the interview, I received my very own Patch Work bow tie. I look forward to seeing what will become of this unique company in the future. Check out some of Patch Work’s bow ties below and get your own here!