From Marc Jacobs and Prada to Stranger Things and your granddad’s closet. Who knew this would be the year corduroy, the fabric of uncool geography teachers, would find its rightful place in our wardrobes?
Corduroy was inescapable on the fall/winter 2017 catwalks. Dark purple corduroy jackets with shearling collars by Marc Jacobs, Prada offered a rusty-hued cord suit and Mulberry’s take was a dusty rose ankle-length skirt paired with an oversized knit. Lemaire and Sportmax also joined in to embrace the fabric’s geekiness.
But apart from the heydays of the seventies, with faithful wearers such as Jane Birkin and Diane Keaton, the ’poor man’s velvet’ has not had an easy ride. Some might sigh at the revival, pointing at disturbing mental images of out of style high school teachers, school kids or your grandfather’s closet. But despite the many non-fashionable associations, corduroy somehow always manages to make its way back.
Swedish fashion blogger and influencer Amelie Langenskiold thinks the androgynous look of the fabric could explain its sudden boom. “Gender roles are slowly disappearing and with the fluid distinction of men and womenswear we are approaching a more unisex wardrobe,” said Langenskiold. “Maybe it is the mannish touch that explains its success.”
The durable and practical textile traces back to the 12th century, and for long cords were considered workwear, apart from its prompt place in the royal closet in the 18th century. Conrad Manasseh, the store manager of the iconic clothing brand Cordings which has been one of Britain’s most important supplier of corduroy trousers since 1839, thinks the modernisation of the fabric is key to its resurgence.
“Corduroy was very popular in the 60s and now it has come back and I think since we have revamped it and made it more exciting in brighter colours people are getting used to that now.”
Contemporary IT-girls such as Parisienne Jeanne Damas, Alexa Chung and London blogger Lucy Williams have not been late reviving the beloved ribs of the seventies, perfectly demonstrating how to look brainy and stylish at the same time. And surely Stranger Things has something to do with the sudden surge, especially thanks to Lucas’s rusty-hued cord jacket.
The premium brand The Cords & Co is also taking part in the sparking revolution of cords. Founded in Stockholm this year, the brand completely focuses on corduroy and offers bottoms, dresses, dungarees, jackets and even sweatshirts.
“I think it was just the time for corduroy to re-emerge. But it’s been interesting that other brands have picked up on it at the same time as we have launched the brand solely focusing on corduroy,” said Rob Fairweather, UK brand manager for The Cords & Co.
And the brand is not shy to declare corduroy to be the new denim. “Denim has been such a focus for a lot of people and we wanted to give people the alternative to denim. It’s way comfier, it’s kind of easier to wear and it’s more accessible.”
Feeling nostalgic yet?
Whether you want to plunge wholeheartedly into the world of cords or only have a taste, the high street has got you covered. Bring back the seventies flair in a cropped pair from Zara, or an effortlessly chic cord jacket a’la Stranger Things from Topshop. Secretly wishing for Prada?Whether you stay in the seventies palette or if you are brave to venture with more vivid hues, you won’t go wrong. Cords are back. And maybe this time to stay.