Virginia teacher uses bowties to share history and teach life lessons


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Bowtie Tuesday is not only in Hampton Roads. It’s now in Richmond. And it’s more than a fashion statement. A Newport News man, now teaching in Richmond, uses bowties to share history and teach life lessons.

WAVY News 10’s Don Roberts (our bowtie man) introduces us to Keylon Mayo, aka ‘Mr. Klean Kut.’

Don Roberts started wearing bowties on Tuesdays back in 2017 just as a way of challenging himself
to do something different, to keep on growing. And, also, to catch the eye of kids.

These days, Mayo, a high school teacher and football coach in the Richmond area, not only wears bowties; he makes them. He estimates he’s given away hundreds of bowties to students.

Mayo is encouraging his students to sport a bowtie and embrace a lesson that comes with it.

Bowtie Tuesday started at Mayo’s previous school.

“Kids started noticing it and saying, ‘Well can I wear a bowtie?'” Mayo said.

“It gives a fancier, unique vibe,” said Kelvin Gilliam, a senior at Highland Springs High School in Henrico, where Mayo teaches economics and coaches football.

Mayo is teaching history while sharing a fashion lesson.

“Garrett A. Morgan, of course, [is] known for making the first gas mask. George Washington Carver,
[a noted agricultural scientist], a lot of our historical, prominent figures [who] have made a significant impact on our lives, you know, have worn a bowtie.”

Other students wanted in on the bowtie buzz, too.

“I was going out buying them,” said Mayo. “Man, I’m spending 50 and 60 dollars every time.”

And, then, about four-and-a-half years ago, he realized he had to do something different. He bought a sewing machine and began making his own bowties.

Mayo estimates he’s given away hundreds. But he also sells them and other fashion accessories through his business, “Mr. Klean Kut.”

His website features more of his story as well as dozens of pictures of students, sports stars
and other celebrities wearing his bowties.

When encouraging a teen to wear a tie, whether it’s traditional, or a bow, Mayo says what an
African American male wears can make a profound difference when meeting someone.

“It’s all about the first impression… you never know who you may encounter,” Mayo said.

Learn more about Mr. Klean Kut at these links:

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