TYING ONE ON “MODERN FAMILY’S” JESSE TYLER
FERGUSON (RIGHT) AND HIS FIANCÉ JUSTIN MIKITA, OF THE AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR EQUAL RIGHTS, WANT THOSE FIGHTING FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY TO BE ABLE TO WALK OUT IN STYLE. THE PAIR HAS CREATED A COLLECTION OF BOW TIES TO SERVE A FITTING DOUBLE PURPOSE: BE A CHAMPION FOR LGBT CIVIL RIGHTS AND
Photo: Mike Rosenthal
BE FASHIONABLE WHILE DOING SO. Their Tie The Knot foundation donates the neckwear’s proceeds to pro-equality organizations; the Human Rights Campaign was its first beneficiary, receiving up to $50,000 from the couple’s sold-out fall/ winter collection launched last fall. Equality interviewed them recently.
How has your Tie The Knot foundation been going? Any surprises? Jesse: We love that people like the product enough to buy it but are even more moved that they want to buy the bow ties because of the cause. We also have been so astonished by the amount of attention and support the foundation has received from other organizations. An example of this is when Sheila Simon, the lieutenant governor of Illinois, reached out to us to create a bow tie lobby day and bring attention to the marriage equality bill they were trying to pass in Illinois. It means a lot to us to be able to be a part of that history toward marriage equality. Justin: It’s also so cool to see our bow ties out in the world on strangers. I love that something so standard in a person’s wardrobe can now represent something so important as marriage equality.
By Melissa Cruz
…And how is working together as a couple? Jesse: It was very easy because it was something we were both so excited about. Justin: It’s a blast. We both carry strengths that the other lacks, which makes us perfect partners. When it comes down to it, what’s really key to tying a bow tie? Practice? Patience? Vodka? Jesse: What’s most important is that the practice doesn’t come an hour before the event that you need the bow tie for. Your tie collection is inspired by items around your home and community. What’s up next? Jesse: We still have a collection heavily based on textiles we love. I had an old vintage pocket square that served as an inspiration for one of continued on p. 27