Introducing our Big Brain 2012 Finalists.
Aaron Kimberlin grew up in Chandler, graduated from Arizona State with a design degree, then took off for Chicago to get a Master's in Urban Planning.
"I wanted to learn everything I could about a city," he explains. He's home now and landed a nice day job: Assistant Director of PURL, ASU's Phoenix Urban Research Laboratory, where -- among other things -- he's heading up the first-ever Phoenix Urban Design Week, starting April 9.
So are Phoenix and Chicago anything alike?
Not at all, Kimberlin admits.
"With Chicago, the things found you," he says. Here, you have to find them. Or make them.
And so when Kimberlin's grandfather died, leaving a pile of vintage ties that Aaron inherited, the urban planner knew what to do.
No one was wearing skinny ties like these, although the patterns were cool. But bow ties -- already big in other cities like New York, San Francisco and Portland -- hadn't hit Phoenix yet. Aaron Kimberlin set out to take care of that.
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He hired a seamstress, designed a website, and came up with a name -- Dapper + Dash -- broad enough to someday include his other ideas (he's mum about this, for the moment). He'd only worn a bow tie once in his life, with a ruffly tuxedo shirt to a New Year's party.
Kimberlin kicked off the line with a party at The Mercantile in Phoenix, the exclusive local purveyor (you can also buy them online at dapperanddash.com). And now he's looking for a second seamstress.
The bow ties are made from ties purchased at estate sales and vintage fabrics online, "anywhere I can find cool patterns," Kimberlin says.
So far, his grandfather's ties have remained untouched. But it might just be a matter of time.
"I don't have the heart," Kimberlin says. "Not yet."