Synthesis: How The Columbia Experience Lead to Life Tie

This blog was inspired by a very interesting and long article that appeared on the Ivy Style blog titled: The Rise and Fall of The Ivy League Look.  The article is a fascinating read, documenting the different fashion trends that the Ivy Leagues inspired from their early days to now. Disclaimer: The founders of Life Tie all attended Ivy League schools: Columbia and Cornell.  

Here is a fascinating excerpt from the article that caught our eye as it speaks to our personal experience and memory at our beloved Alma Mater: Columbia, and why Columbia has always been the anti-Ivy League when it comes to fashion and culture:

If men at Ivy’s Big Three were style setters for the whole nation, that can hardly be said of Columbia, the most interesting sartorial case among the Ancient Eight. For despite its location in the city of Brooks Brothers, Columbia is seldom if ever mentioned for style reasons. As a commuter school, Columbia’s student body differed from the other schools, but one can also conclude that a certain amount of distance from the metropolis was necessary for the styling side of the Ivy League Look to flourish.

This passage from Tobias Wolff’s novel “Old School,” set at a prep school in 1960, serves as a dramatization of how Columbia was viewed compared to the other Ivies:

I wanted out. That was partly why I’d chosen Columbia. I liked how the city seethed up against the school, mocking its theoretical seclusion with hustle and noise, the din of people going and getting and making. Things that mattered at Princeton or Yale couldn’t possibly withstand this battering of raw, unironic life. You didn’t go to eating clubs at Columbia, you went to jazz clubs. You had a girlfriend — no, a lover — with psychiatric problems, and friends with foreign accents. You read newspapers on the subway and looked at tourists with a cool, anthropological gaze. You said cross town express. You said the Village. You ate weird food. No other boy in my class would be going there.

This excerpt is fascinating in the sense that it speaks to the uniqueness of the Columbia experience: The synthesis of the intellectual ambiance of Columbia and the humbling and always humming chaos of Harlem and the Upper West Side of New York City.  The intricate balance between the quiet libraries of Columbia full of over-caffeinated and anxious students to the ruckus and lively crowds outside of campus.  The intense learning of the classics and sciences within the walls of campus to daily visits to the real world social sciences lab, that is: Amsterdam and Broadway and all the streets connecting them.  Of course, if all this overwhelms there is always Riverside or Central Park to escape to with a soccer ball or a book.  It was from these dichotomies that the founders of Life Tie began thinking differently and realized that neither untested academic knowledge, nor pure imagination alone could solve our big problems.  A synthesis of both is necessary.  As such Life Tie is one attempt to answer the cancer problem synthesizing both fashion and science.