Our Story

Carbon Cravat - The Bow Tie Made From Rockets


Building a rocket requires the highest quality carbon fiber, and lots of it. But as aerospace
companies shape and mold this advanced material, thousands of pounds of it are simply
discarded as scrap. Far from regular consumer-grade carbon fiber, this material has
unparalleled strength and durability, meant not for decorative car panels but important
structural components on rockets headed to space. 
That’s why, in 2015, Ryan Olliges founded the company 121c, hoping to remanufacture this
post-rocket carbon fiber and to save precious aerospace-grade material from the landfill.
Now, 121c has paired with Crooked Branch Studio, manufacturer and retailer of handcrafted
wooden bow ties, to bring carbon fiber bow ties to the mass market with unprecedented
quality and attention to detail.
In the process, we developed two prototypes, subtle variations in manufacturing techniques
that lead to dramatically different looking products. The first one is:

The Original Tie

It all started with the Original classic carbon fiber bow tie, which is crafted out of a flat sheet of carbon fiber. After being
compressed and cured in an industrial hot press, the sheet is precision cut by a water jet
and hand finished. This process gives the tie a glassy, mirror-like surface, a product of the
high-polish presses used to compress the carbon fiber. It also ensures that the tie reflects
light differently depending on the angle (the top photo is it straight-on while the bottom is
when the fibers catch the light).
The flat tie possesses the distinctive ‘basket weave’ carbon fiber look found in high-end
cars and electronics, a perfectly uniform intricate layering of carbon fiber threads into a
single, fabric-like sheet. It’s a perfect gift for any space or automotive nerd, turning boring
formal wear into a fun conversation starter.
However, in addition to the Original tie, we also developed:

The Contour Tie

The Contour carbon fiber bow tie is an alternate to the Original tie that has been surface-machined to a
smooth, three-dimensional contour. We created this product because we recognize that
many customers love the three-dimensional look of classic, fabric bow ties (and the contour
found on our wooden bow ties). The contouring process machines the many layers of
carbon fiber that make up the material, leaving a silky-smooth satin finish and giving the tie
a smooth curve from top to bottom.
In the process, the machining process creates a flowing, interlocking look that gives the
impression the material is moving (don’t worry, it’s not, the carbon fiber is rock solid and will
not flake). This tie works great for both formal and casual outfits with a carbon fiber pattern
that you will not find anywhere else, let alone in a bow tie.