Big Brain 2012 Finalist: Aaron Kimberlin

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

You submitted nominations for awards given to the Valley's emerging creatives and the results are in. Introducing our Big Brain 2012 Finalists.

Leading up to the Big Brain Award awards announcement and celebration on April 7Chow Bella and Jackalope Ranch will introduce the finalists.

Up today: Aaron Kimberlin

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.

Adaptive reuse.

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.

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. 

These ties are different -- preppy and edgy and equally appropriate with a suit or jeans.

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."

Meet the finalists on April 7 during our Big Brain celebration, Artopia. And check out the other Big Brain Awards finalists we've profiled so far: 

Visual Art: 
Lindz Lew
Andrew Hadle
Thomas Greyeyes

Jon Ashcroft
Victor Moreno
Sweet Salvage

Greg Kerr
Ashley Eaton

Performing Art: 
The Torch Theatre
Dulce Juarez

Esther Mbaikambey
Farmer Woody (aka John Milton)

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.