It’s not often that we drag someone into the glare of the Instagram style spotlight who claims, “I wouldn’t say I know much about fashion. Or that I care that much about it.” But we’re forgiving 30-year-old Adam Nelsen for these words because the man is a tie-collecting machine. He has 500 ties tucked away in his East Boston home. The Mullen Advertising art director started collecting five years ago, and now regularly posts his neckwear on his Instagram page (www.instagram.com/cloudocows ). It seems that there’s a whole culture of tie collectors on Instagram. Why this surprises me, I don’t know. Nelsen is also nuts about Beck, storytelling, and science fiction. So put on a nice tie, a smile, and say hello.
Q. I’ve listened to Beck’s new album, “Morning Phase,” and I think it’s absolutely incredible. As a Beck expert, does it live up to your expectations?
A. Yes. I’m so very happy he’s made another mature album on par with “Sea Change.” Now if he would only record a proper follow-up to “Midnite Vultures.”
Q. I own one-tenth the ties that you do and I still have storage issues. Where do you keep your ties? Please tell me you have a special tie closet.
A. I’ve got a number of apparel bars and curtain rods. They’re all filled up. Also, I have one of those motorized racks like from the pages of SkyMall. But mine spans the entire perimeter of the master bedroom.
Q. There’s really a huge number of men who post pictures of their ties on Instagram?
A. You bet there is. Have you heard of #tietuesday? The whole Instagram side of it came in when I saw other early Instagramers documenting their outfits. I saw people like the Tie Guy and Dressed to Ill post pics of what they were wearing every day and I liked their taste. I had experience in styling so I gave it a try. I got some serious traction for not taking it too seriously and some positive attention from some small menswear brands.
Q. If you’re not big into fashion, why did you start collecting ties?
A. I guess because I like thrifting and going to estate sales. Curating a killer tie collection was fun, cheap, and interesting. I now have about 500 ties -- 200 of them being what I consider to be fantastic pieces. About 95 percent of them are thrifted, from eBay or from Etsy. It’s a form of personal branding and a fun hobby. I love dressing down a tie. Not in the way it’s tied or loosened around your neck, but in the selection of textures and colors you can pair it with. It’s a great look. People notice.
Q. Are you known as “the tie guy” around the office?
A. Yeah. I think so. But that’s kind of the point. You know of me even though you might not know me. You know?Interview was edited and condensed. Want to be featured as our next Instagram style star? Hashtag your photos #BostonSnap. Christopher Muther can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther