The History of Stonehenge, Ltd.
NEW YORK (August, 1994)-Stonehenge, Ltd., may be known for its collections of neckwear based on the artwork of Grateful Dead guitarist and vocalist Jerry Garcia, but it's the company's "Molecular Expressions" ties which are solidifying its reputation for revolutionizing men's fashion.
Combining elements of art, science and fashion, Stonehenge's "Molecular Expressions" collections have provided consumers with beautiful designs from nature, while educating them about compelling subjects such as vitamins and moon rocks. Its current "Molecular Expressions" line, the "Cocktail Collection," provides an education on drinking and driving.
This is just the latest in a series of revolutionary neckwear lines by Stonehenge.
Transposing Art onto Neckwear
Based in New York, Stonehenge was one of the first major neckwear manufacturers to transpose artwork onto neckwear, including the works of Garcia and late jazz trumpeter and composer Miles Davis. More than conversation pieces, the company's ties quickly became some of the hippest, most commercially successful ties in the world.
Its innovative neckwear required innovative marketing methods, which earned Stonehenge a reputation for "breaking rules" in the industry. Ties were made available in limited editions only, leading them to become collectors' items. Table top cards were used to draw attention to the ties, and informational hang tags gave consumers a feel for the uniqueness of the products they were purchasing.
These elements, combined with the fashionable patterns and colors of the ties, helped make Stonehenge neckwear the leading seller in many departments and specialty stores.
The company's first major milestone came in July 1992 with its introduction of the "J. Garcia Art-In-Neckwear" collection. The ties quickly became sought-after collectors' items, and the overwhelming choice of those who wore ties and those who didn't, from "dead heads" to Wall Street brokers to President Clinton and members of Parliament.
The phenomenal success of the ties prompted CNN to call them "the power tie of the 90's," and led Stonehenge to introduce four additional collections based on the rock legend' artwork. Together, the ties have amassed multi-million dollar sales.
Almost one year after introducing the first Garcia line, Stonehenge, through its Michael David Production subsidiary, ushered in a line of ties based on Davis' artwork. The nine designs in the initial "Art of Miles Davis in Neckwear" collection won their own widespread critical acclaim, generating brisk retail sales and enhancing the company's identity as a neckwear innovator.
Three months later, in September 1993, Stonehenge introduced its first "Molecular Expressions" line of neckwear, featuring colors and patterns based on the molecular structures of vitamins.
Ties in "The Molecular Expressions Vitamin Collection" recreate the brilliant molecular patterns of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Biotin (Vitamin H), and para-Aminobenzoic Acid (Paba). Like the Garcia and Davis lines, vitamin ties were seen as revolutionary and rapidly became collectors' items, prompting a second collection featuring several new vitamins.
The ties were so successful that they began to take on a life of their own. Stonehenge President Irwin Sternberg received hundreds of encouraging notes and letters about the "Vitamin Collection" from NASA, the U.S. Department of Education, The American Medical Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition and others.
Science Advisor to the President, Dr. John Gibbons, gave President Clinton one of the ties to wear in a White House staff meeting. And Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) used a Vitamin E tie to punctuate a point during a hearing on his "Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act," which was televised internationally on C-SPAN.
In addition, various celebrities, from Branford Marsalis of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" to Shadoe Stevens of "Dave's World" were spotted wearing the ties. CBS' internationally televised program, "How'd They Do That," hosted by Pat O'Brien, aired a segment on the ties, which celebrated Stonehenge's "beautiful and affordable fashion, which has educational factors behind it."
Ties for Tibet
In April 1994, Stonehenge continued blazing its revolutionary path with the introduction of "Ties for Tibet," a collection of ties based on spiritual designs of the Tibetan culture. The timeless patterns and colors reflect Tibetan artistry, and recreate the country's beautiful woven rugs, which are rarely exported.
Moved by the plight of the Tibetan people, Sternberg earmarked a portion of the proceeds from sales of the ties to the Tibet Fund, a resettlement project for Tibetan refugees. He also presented the Dalai Lama with a framed collection of these ties, and in return, was blessed by His Holiness and favored with a Tibetan prayer scarf.
Moon Rocks, Cocktails Follow
Later that year, in June, Stonehenge launched its second "Molecular Expressions" collection. Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the first Apollo landing, these ties recreate the molecular structures of actual lunar samples -- lunar lava, lunar soil, lunar breccia and meteorites -- collected during Apollo missions 11, 12 14, 15, 16 and 17.
Sternberg presented Apollo 11 astronaut and American hero Dr. Buzz Aldrin, on of the first men to walk on the moon, with the first complete moon rock collection at the international launch of the collection June 2 at Macy's Herald Square in New York. On July 19, Apollo 14 astronaut Alan Shepard launched the "Moon Rock" collection at Macy's Pentagon City in Washington, D.C.
Aldrin and Shepard were not the only space authorities to register approval of this revolutionary collection, however. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) commented that the concept was "unique and creative."
Stonehenge's current line of ties, "The Molecular Expressions Cocktail Collection," is a partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Ties in the Cocktail Collection recreate the molecular structures of 10 popular alcoholic beverages: beer, wine, champagne, gin, scotch, tequila, Bloody Mary, Gin and Tonic, Screwdriver and Kamikaze. MADD's renowned "martini glass and key" logo is woven into the back of each tie as a permanent reminder of the dangers caused by drinking and driving.
The Cocktail Collection will be officially unveiled at an August 9 press conference in Los Angeles held jointly by Stonehenge and MADD. Attending will be Brown, Stonehenge President Irwin Sternberg, MADD Spokesperson John Tesh, host of "Entertainment Tonight," and Dr. Robert E. McAfee, President of the American Medial Association.
To escalate awareness of its initiative against drinking and driving, Stonehenge and MADD have asked the Governors of all 50 states to proclaim August 9 and "Tie One On For MADD Day." In addition, newscasters throughout the country will be given Cocktail Collection ties to wear on this date and asked to inform viewers about the campaign.
Because the combination of art, science and fashion has proven to be so popular, Stonehenge plans to continue this concept in future neckwear collections.
Started as a Private Label Manufacturer
Stonehenge's success did not come overnight, however. The company was incorporated in 1984, a partnership between two men familiar with the neckwear industry-Sternberg a 14-year veteran of Jos. A. Banks Clothiers, and his friend, Natan Brach, an executive of a major tie company.
The company started out as a private label manufacturer, supplying ties for cataloguers and retailers such as Land's End, Nordstrom and Dayton Hudson. Producing ties in updated traditional styles, the company earned the respect of its customers by turning out quality handmade ties at competitive prices, often 30 to 40 percent below the cost of similar products.
Now, with the introduction of "The Molecular Expressions Cocktail Collection," Stonehenge continues to revolutionize the world of men's fashion, and find new ways to bring important educational information to the public.
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