Upcycled quirk: Bow ties crafted with LEGOs & Scrabble pieces

© Wonder Lee

Move over, necktie; your short, antediluvian cousin, the bow tie, is making a comeback -- or so it seems. As the New York Times notes, the bow tie has been traditionally worn by men of profession -- like doctors and lawyers -- while "[hinting] at intellectualism, real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie."

In any case, this neck accessory's penchant for standing out seems to have been picked up by New York City-based artists like Wonder Lee, who is reinterpreting this once-conservative mainstay by creating funky retro-styled bow ties using recycled materials like LEGOs, subway fare cards, old t-shirts and even cassettes.

© Wonder Lee

Wonder, who is a self-taught artist, poet and teacher, uses exclusively recycled materials in her one-of-a-kind accessories:

Her artistic philosophy focuses on using found and donated objects. An extraordinary re-imagining and unique vision allow her to create eclectic, retro-inspired mixed media works with an urban flavor, comprised of ‘45s, cassettes, cassette covers, turntables, doors, glass, plastics, frames, metal, and just about any treasure - formerly known as someone else’s trash - that she can get her hands on!

© Wonder Lee

Not only have Wonder's creations been featured under the prime spotlights of late-night television talk shows and apparently snapped up by celebrities like Alicia Keys, she's also done extensive arts-related community work in schools and with teenage inmates in prison.

In a nod to popular culture, Wonder's bow ties are a proud homage to geekery, being crafted out of comics, Scrabble pieces (which she offers in customized combinations) and books.

© Wonder Lee

Wonder makes bow ties for both grownups and kids -- these upcycled LEGO bowties are especially adorable with their propellers and little steering wheels and would be a sure hit with the toddlers.

© Wonder Lee
© Wonder Lee

Even if they're not for everyone, these outstanding, quirky and affordably priced upcycled bow ties are helping to turn a once-staid accessory into a unique statement, while turning trash into something collectible. Check out more over at Wonder's online store and blog.

Tags: Artists | New York City | Recycled Fashion

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