Haha that's really what they're called. I think it's a trad thing that goes back decades, maybe 100 years? Doubtful marketers were involved
no, you are correct. i dont know the roots of the word, and if it is new or not, but im sure a quick wiki would answer that. either way, it is a real thing, and it refers to the way the tie is dyed. it is a more substantial process than regular dying, and i think it leads to deeper and richer color.
ill let someone with actual knowledge confirm and add to that.
edit - madder is a specific plant that produces specific earth tone colored dyes.
Authentic ancient English madder neckwear, pocket squares, and scarves used to be a staple item of good campus shops in the USA.
The shops that I was most familiar with as a young man — Tom Bass (serving Lehigh University and Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA), and Langrock (on Nassau Street in Princeton, NJ) — divided their neckwear selections between rep stripes and patterns. The patterned selections included insignia clubs, neat foulards, wool challis and tartan, and always a special section for the English madders. In paisley or neat geometric designs, they were considered the king of campus ties, inevitably more expensive than the other ties, but more prestigious and discriminating.
Today this silk fabric is all but a lost art, but one firm that makes The Real Thing is Drakes of London. The dusty madder colors of mustard yellow, ruby red, faded jade green and indigo blue, dark chocolate, and bluff were initially achieved from natural dyestuffs (which are the madder, later synthesized with chemicals; I must remember to ask Michael Drake when and why the “ancient” was attached), and arduously silkscreen printed on special gum-twill silk. The dye bite gives the gum silk a distinctive bloom and tactile feel experts call a chalk hand, a uniquely soft heft to the fabric and subtle powdery, slightly faded quality to the color palette.
Ancient English madder neckwear, squares and scarves were so popular not only for their innate beauty and luxury, but because they were thought the perfect accompaniment to tweed sports jackets. This, to my mind which is somewhat prescribed by the tastes of my youth, remains a perfect combination. — G. BRUCE BOYER