Essential Pittsburgh
4:46 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Keeping Ties In Their Place

George Howard with his creation, the Ziggi Tie Piece.
Credit Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Men’s fashion is famously static; while women’s fashion has changed greatly over just the past decade or so, men’s fashion really hasn’t changed that much over the past half-century. But every once and awhile, something catches on and changes the direction of men’s clothing. Local entrepreneur George Howard believes he has created that something.

His creation, called the Ziggi, is a small piece of cloth that attaches to a shirt’s buttons and goes through label tag, holding ties in place. Howard said that he created the Ziggi out of necessity: during a photo shoot last year, his tie would not stay in place.

“Susan Taylor [past editor of Essence magazine] was here in Pittsburgh and ... she liked my look. She liked my jacket, my tie, and my shirt. So she called the cameraman over to take a picture of us, and when I got to see the pictures, my tie clip in the picture had turned, which totally ruined the whole picture and there was nothing that we could do with it. So I then went on a quest to find some way to control my tie so I wouldn't have those type of tie blunders, and then I came up with the Ziggi tie piece.”

The idea has even attracted interest from ABC’s Shark Tank.

“I had an opportunity to go to Columbus, Ohio, and audition at the Shark Tank's casting call. I presented my Ziggi tie piece to them, they got to hear my full pitch, got to see all my materials, and I presented to a room full of smiling faces. I handed the Ziggis out to the people I was interviewing in front of, and they were holding them, they enjoyed the softness of them, then at the end as I walked out the door they were calling me the Ziggi man, so I figured that was a pretty good sign."