Style, handmade: Blake Ashland looks to Carolina heritage

Blake Ashland & Co., Blake Zanardi (front)

Staying true to the state’s textile heritage, they do everything the old-fashioned way. They source all of the materials locally and each piece of clothing is cut, sewn and assembled by hand right in their studio. Currently, they specialize in accessories: bowties, neckties, pocket squares and formal sets. As Blake Ashland continues to grow, they hope to create an entire line of clothing that is 100% handmade in the U.S.A.


Like many other small start-ups, Blake Ashland really began as a project during Blake’s senior year of college. He had worked for Chapel Hill’s local fashion designer Alexander Julian all four years while at UNC. During his senior year, chapter brothers approached him to see if he could design a custom bowtie and necktie for the UNC chapter.

“Eager to make something special for my fraternity and always up for a challenge, I said ‘Yes!’ and Blake Ashland was born,” Blake recalls.

While there are many tie companies already in existence, Blake Ashland will continue to push the envelope for many years to come.

“As a company, we share not only a unique creative vision, but also one of change. Too many companies conform to a mold. They become complacent and comfortable with what they are doing – something we have made our mission not to do,” said Blake. “From a design standpoint, we have a bit of everything from simple/traditional plaids and seersuckers to Andy Warhol and Japanese kimono-inspired silks. And while we want to pay our bills, we also want to make a difference within our community. From creating American jobs to fundraising and collaborating with local and national nonprofits, we hope to follow in the footsteps of other social entrepreneurs by providing phenomenal products that also foster change.”

Born and raised in the Tar Heel State with backgrounds in modeling, merchandizing, styling and design, the men behind Blake Ashland are working tirelessly to bring one of North Carolina’s oldest industries back to the forefront.

“We are working to revitalize our textile heritage while creating a new and exciting bespoke brand that exudes a classic sense of elegance and traditional haberdashery, yet distinctly unique and modern,” said Blake. “Inspired by your grandfather’s wardrobe, but made for you.”

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Blake Ashland & Co.