Bill Nye x Nick Graham: The Science Guy debuts bow tie collection

The Science Guy has become The Fashion Guy.

The Science Guy has also become The Fashion Guy.

Bill Nye debuted a new collection of bow ties with New York designer Nick Graham on Monday.

Nye, known for pairing eccentric bow ties with lab coats, modeled a blue piece from his new collection (which includes bow ties decorated with periodic tables and planetary symbols) on Monday morning at Graham’s showroom near Bryant Park. 

Nye, who has wanted to have his own line of bow ties for years, met with two other designers before deciding to work with Graham, who seemed much more qualified for collaboration based on their “synergy,” Nye said. 

Nye, who admits to owning hundreds (rough estimate: 400) of ties, says the reason for wearing a bow tie is primarily function. “When you lean over it doesn’t flip into the flask,” he said. “I got started on bow ties a long time ago and never went back.”

Hundreds of bow ties have accumulated in Nye’s Chelsea apartment thanks to their durability. “It takes a long time to wear out a bow tie,” he said.

Nye, who often refers to himself in the third person, is staunchly anti clip-on, at least, for himself. 

Before he was The Science Guy, Nye learned to tie a bow tie from his father. He practiced by tying it around his leg rather than in a mirror. A former Boy Scout, Nye also believes that there are 36 knots everybody should know, but a square bow is his knot of choice for a bow tie, as both sides balance each other perfectly for optimum style. Thanks, gravity. 

But what scientifically makes a good bow tie? 

“The material has to make a good knot, the pattern must be small enough to read — not microscopic — and you want the tie to be cut properly, ” Nye said. On his new line, Nye uses thick polyester, as opposed to polyester that might be too thin to hold a knot. Nye and Graham will also release silk ties, for a “couture collection.”

Nye’s silk bow ties will be manufactured in Asia, which Nye noted may be a point of contention for some. “Asia is where silk worms live,” he said. “If you go to Wisconsin there’s no silk worms.” Nye wasn’t too keen on making a garment out of Midwestern dairy products. 

Climate change is a key issue to Nye, which ties in well to the fashion industry. 

“Wearing Bill Nye bow ties is a very good start [to being a conscientious consumer],” Nye advised.  

Nye believes that solution to climate change is talking about it, similar to how pertinent issues like whatever “Kim Last Name is wearing” are discussed.

In terms of fashion, Nye acknowledges that part of style is that it is continuously evolving. He looks back to a time when his mom made things because “it was cheaper than buying.”

Now that the price of clothing is so low, attributed to the cheap cost of labor in Asia, consumers can easily buy (and get rid of) pretty much anything. And that’s not great for the climate, thanks to carbon emissions.

To solve this, Nye proposes a fee (not a tax, because that word makes people cringe) on carbon dioxide production.

“When you burn fossil fuels nobody pays for the waste,” he said. This proposed fee would increase the cost of shipping garments across the ocean and would raise the cost of clothing made overseas. “It might encourage people to manufacture clothing in the U.S. or Canada.” 

Nye also thinks that paying laborers more and having the price of clothing increase, “could be a great thing for everybody,” Nye said. “It would be a very easy, reasonable way to redistribute wealth that would benefit everybody.” 

The technology to make bow ties is all now in a computer, with software guiding the textile machines written in the United States. “What we export now is not so much the clothes but the idea to make the clothes — there’s no reason you can’t shift that back.” 

Nye believes that even if prices in inexpensive stores increased slightly people would continue to shop there.

Nye’s 12-piece bow tie collection will launch on NickGraham.com on Tue., Nov. 10 and his newest book, “Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World” also comes out on Tuesday. So, now you can read in style.

Melissa Kravitz