When you hear the name, Rafiki, you might imagine a wise baboon in a Sunday sauna squashing bananas, who helps a young lion live up to his true potential (what true friends do). That imagery of Rafiki brings good feelings to me. There is another Rafiki, though, of which you may not yet know . . .
Rafiki—probably one of Wood Leon's most eye-catching, mind-bewildering, architecturally-complex products. Some of you may already be familiar with Rafiki, but, for those of who aren't (and even for those who are), let's take a deeper dive into this daring dandy of a tie.
Born in about 2018, Rafiki is unique in an already unique line up of neck lumber. The main body of this curved, wooden bowtie is actually one piece of wood! It starts off with three layers of birchwood glued together, creating a 3-ply. The grains are then crossed, making it stronger, while still allowing for flexibility. Then, if desired/requested, the wood is stained.
The main, one-piece tie body is laser cut (making the holes/spaces in the ties), then soaked in water followed by bending the tie over to help create the main shape. With the last additions of the elastic hook as well as a center piece (often wood) and wool backing—voila, you have Rafiki!
What is awesome about Rafiki is how unique it is. It was the first tie of it's kind—3-D with one piece of curved, flexible wood as the main body. When you're wearing this tie at that wedding reception or barmitzvah or perhaps the reveal of a new Tesla Pikachu, you are almost guaranteed to stand out. It is the only tie quite like it, and resonates well with the dapper unconventional. Be careful, though. Because of its design, it is understandably more fragile than the Wood Leon neckties (So, keep it a healthy distance from your pet hamsters.).
You can get a Rafiki tie in its natural, lighter-colored birch, or in a black, bergundy, or chestnut brown stain. The wood for all Rafiki ties is birchwood, a good wood that allows for the plying process.
Rafiki is Swahili for friend, and we certainly hope that you find a friend in this wonderful piece of apparel. This was actually the name and word that came to Spencer Hughes when he finished his first Rafiki tie—maybe the same way Ziggy Zozzfozzel came to Dr. Seuss.
In the future, when you're wondering how in the world you can stand out in this complex society of dress, style, and competition, we hope you remember, behold, and suit up a Rafiki tie—and others will likely behold you.