Once considered the poor man’s velvet, corduroy was worn widely by workers, artists, and students throughout America and Europe in the 19th century. Comprised of what looks to be cords laid together, it is soft but also durable and made of the same fabric as velvet, fustian. By the 20th century, corduroy started to shake its reputation for being a signifier of the middle class as it became popularly used in children’s school uniforms, military and sportswear, and later popular among the anti-establishment movement throughout the ‘60s. By the ’80s it returned with a lot of structure before the ‘90s introduced stretch corduroy offering more feminine silhouettes.
“Corduroy is not flat, it’s up and down – that’s what we like about it. Without the lows you cannot experience the highs.”
But, what do you do when you want to disrupt one of the longest standing sartorial lanes in the fashion industry? Founded in Stockholm in 2016, The Cords & Co is the first premium corduroy brand set out to make their own space in the denim world and be the coziest alternative to denim. Founders and former owners of Happy Socks, Mikael Söderlindh and Viktor Tell, wanted to create pants you wear as easily, frequently and as versatile as jeans, but in history-rich corduroy. “By highlighting its long but little known history, working closely with friends and an extended community in each of our flagship city locations, we’re sharing our story of a fabric everyone has a connection to, yet no other brand has dedicated themselves entirely to” says Omar Varts, CEO.
Committed to making the world re-fall in love with the fabric, the launch could not have come at a better time. Corduroy has become a major trend to watch for this fall with both magazines for men and women like GQ and Vogue offering their spin on how to wear it and where to buy it. When brands like Prada and Marni send it down the runway and fast fashion giants Zara hop on a trend, you know it’s going to be something to get on board with early.
With the August launch, five locations opened internationally – two in Stockholm, one in London, one in Paris, the Los Angeles/Venice location, and a New York store is next. In addition to their flagship stores in style capitals across the world, The Cords & Co are available with 20 retailers internationally and online for both women and men and carry not only primarily corduroy pant, top, and jacket options, but also graphic tees, sweatshirts, and hats.
They already started to work with established creatives like famed disco DJ, DJ Harvey as the face of their debut campaign, and artist Barbara Stauffacher Solomon to paint the mural in their Los Angeles location in Venice. In the future, they are planning a collaboration with Alpha Industries.
And, today, on November 11, The Cords & Co. is celebrating. When written numerically, the date 11/11 appears like the pattern of corduroy, thus it has been named National Corduroy Appreciation Day. For this year’s celebration, The Cords & Co. is giving the first 100 customers at each flagship store the opportunity to bring in old (clean) denim they’d like to get rid of and trade it for a pair of Cords for free. Seems likes it’s the best time to take advantage of the impending temperature drop and cozy up your denim collection with denim’s newest (or oldest) alternative and velvet’s most fun sister – corduroy for all! Snag a pair for yourself here.