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Meet the brand that is revamping the world’s most unsexy fabric

Cords & Co key items

Cords & Co

When you think of corduroy it’s usually through a hazy seventies lens; think The Brady Bunch who lived their lives in wholesomeness that was dotted with mustard-hued flares and burnt sienna blazers—all made of corduroy. And then there’s the notion that this old-school texture is the territory of dusty professors and L.L. Bean woodsmen. At its best, it was once worn by Jane Birkin, who offered a touch nonchalance to the stuffy suburban fabric in a plain white tee and a pair of pale corduroy pants.

The Cords & Co hoodie

Cords & Co hooded top

But despite its uptight nature and distinct lack of romance, velvet’s ribbed cousin made a cool comeback on the Fall 2017 runways—be it Prada and Gucci in Milan, or Marc Jacobs in New York—all using the textile to alluring professorial effect. As these big names lay the foundation for the corduroys ribbed return, a new name enters the denim world with a collection that’s fully committed to the fabric.

The Cords & Co., launching globally last week with six stores opening soon around the world (including one in London opening in September), has a slightly different take on the fabric. For A/W 18-18 the label is offering everything from slouchy 90s jeans, to hoodies, trucker jackets, and a leopard print coaches jacket, all crafted from corduroy.

Founded by Swedish business partners Mikael Söderlindh and Viktor Tell—who sold their last brand, Happy Socks, for nearly $90 million—the aim of The Cords is simple: “To have people all over the world rediscover their love for corduroy!” according to Söderlindh.

The label will introduce indigo washing, selvedge edge, vintage, re-worked corduroy in a range of unexpected colours and texture variations that span from micro through to chunky 9 wales. To find out more about the new brand, we spoke to Mikael Söderlindh ahead of the launch:

You’ve gone from Happy Socks to apparel, in particular, Cords. What is it that attracted you to the fabric?

I have always loved corduroy and throughout the years I have somehow frequently found myself searching for the perfect corduroy trouser. Corduroy is not flat, it has its ups and downs – just like life – to be philosophical. Haha. But it is true, without the lows you cannot experience the highs, that’s what’s so exciting and that’s what I love about it.

Corduroy has always come on and off trend, so it hasn’t always been that easy to find decent pieces. This is something The Cords & Co want to change. I myself don’t have a conventional fashion background, but I do know that by creating really nice and high-quality products, you can go a long way. The Cords & Co want to give corduroy the attention it deserves, keeps it on trend and have people discover their love for it.

Corduroy is often associated with retro style, but you guys are giving it a completely new contemporary identity. What are some of the ways you are giving the fabric new direction?

Everyone has a relationship to corduroy or a memory they associate it with, that it something fantastic and something we do not want to take away. But we also want corduroy to be a part of the contemporary culture and bring it into the future. By taking classic pieces like the 5-pocket pant, the jersey crew neck, the button-down shirt and the biker jacket and flip them into corduroy, you get a more unexpected and interesting approach. This is one of the many reasons why I love corduroy, it is so versatile and that is something we want people to know.

Most of the silhouettes are based of denim and jeanswear styles? Why should people choose cord as an alternative to denim?

I am convinced that most people are looking for a lasting alternative to denim, something that has great quality and can be part of the everyday wardrobe. I have a huge respect for the denim world and have always been a frequent denim wearer myself, but everything has its time and I believe that corduroy is the future and here to stay – trends, materials and silhouettes constantly evolve and we always seek alternatives.

The versatility of corduroy also makes it possible to create numerous styles in different shapes and forms, and by adding for example prints, different washes and embroideries, it becomes even more interesting.

What kind of silhouettes and colours should we expect to see?

Classic pieces flipped into corduroy, such as the fish tail parka, the 5-pocket pant, the over shirt, the hoodie and the crew neck for men. Dungarees, a-line skirts, 5 pocket pant and the elongated biker jacket for women. Key colours for fall are Alaska blue, poppy red, iconic green, burgundy and indigo blue. We will also have some camouflage and leopard prints.

There will be mono-brand stores rolled out globally in August. What can we expect from the design and in-store experience?

Our flagship stores will be the heart of our brand. They will largely reflect us and our vision and they are located on the best addresses in all cities where we choose to open. With a fabric like corduroy, the opportunity to touch and feel is very important and we want the in-store experience to be super inspiring and welcoming. It should be a nice complement to our digital shopping experience and the key high image wholesalers that will carry our assortment from the get go.

Our stores are meticulously curated by our in-house retail team together with Swedish architects “Bozarthfornell” (L.A. and NY.) and “In Praise of Shadows (Stockholm, Paris and London) and they have worked extremely hard to create fantastic environments within each store. We have had a clear vision throughout to be able to create personal stores where our passion for the fabric shines through.

All stores will follow an overarching theme created by “Bozarthfornell” and “In Praise of Shadows” but each store still has a unique framing.

For more information on stores and the collection head over to The Cords & Co.

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