Founders (and brothers) Shep & Ian Murray, who grew up in Greenwich, Conn., and spent summers at Martha’s Vineyard, were both unfulfilled and unhappy as grown-ups in their Manhattan corporate offices. So in 1998 they quit their necktie-wearing jobs in order to sell neckties, founding a now greatly expanded clothing company on whimsical and varied tie designs.
They quit their necktie-wearing jobs in order to sell neckties.
These colorful, campy creations took off because they are simultaneously corporate and casual, perfectly presentable workday wear that nevertheless scream “weekend,” reminding each wearer that "the good life" can be — at a maximum — five days away. The "Brew Ski" tie, for example, sports rows of tiny beers on skis. Other tie motifs include college and pro sports teams, palm trees with sailboats, guitars, mermaids, wine bottles (with openers and glasses) and Vineyard Vines' signature whale icon.
But aside from neckties and bow ties, the Vineyard Vines store includes all things prepster, and the entire family is covered. Darling little ties and bow ties, dresses, jackets, shirts and sweaters offer a more colorful alternative to Brooks Brothers for little boys and girls, while their older counterparts have a much larger selection of both dress-up and Northeastern Nantucket-esque casual wear.
At the official wine-and-hors d'oeuvre opening on Market Street Wednesday night, founders Shep and Ian, as laid-back as their story suggests, happily chatted up children, conversed about their own families, gamely posed outside in front of the pink whale logo-come-to-life, and answered customers' questions (cufflinks have done well in the past and may hit stores in December; holiday ties will be in next week).
The intent to sell the "the good life" in iconography with clothing is what generates the ambiance of Vineyard Vines. If you’ve been looking for a bright green pair of corduroys with tiny whales all over them — or something similar to wear to golf or a lawn party during our milder weather seasons — then this is your shop.