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Engineered Garments FA Short


Welcome back to "DEEP DIVE," where we explore the inspiration behind some of our favorite Engineered Garments pieces. This installment features the "FA Short," a fan-favorite Engineered Garments FA Pant modification.

The end of World War II in 1945 restored the borders and sovereignty of most Western European nations. Still, it triggered significant political changes and independence movements across Eastern Europe and Asia. French Indochina—France’s colonial holdings in Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, Laos, and much of Vietnam—was among these regions. Fearing French colonial resistance, in the spring of 1945, occupying Japanese forces launched a coup d'état, termed Meigō Sakusen, toppling the French government and installing the Empire of Vietnam, a puppet state.

The Potsdam Conference, which concluded in early August 1945, saw Allied powers carve up the world, establishing the postwar order by doling out spheres of influence. The territory of Indochina, south of latitude 16°, fell under Southeast Asia Command, headed by Admiral Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl of Burma. Despite these carefully laid plans, just a few weeks later, the Indochinese Communist Party, exploiting the country's fragile political situation, began the August Revolution, spearheaded by Hồ Chí Minh. Within days, they reclaimed the North, including the capital Hanoi.

Eager to quell the formation of a new Communist state, the British returned control of the territory to its former colonial master. On September 23, 1945, with permission from Southeast Asia Command, French soldiers stormed Saigon and declared French authority restored, immediately sparking guerrilla insurgency from Hồ Chí Minh and his North Vietnamese forces.

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Following a year of intermittent attacks, the First Indochina War began on December 19, 1946. The conflict, which lasted nearly eight years, erupted into a proxy war between the United States and the Soviet Union, with both sides supplying modern equipment, including tanks, artillery, and munitions. The French reliance on tanks, contrasted with the Việt Minh's innovative convoy ambushes and anti-aircraft weaponry, led to a resounding defeat in the 1954 Battle of Dien Bien Phu and the end of the war and France’s foothold in Southeast Asia.

The Corps Expéditionnaire Français en Extrême-Orient, or the French Far East Expeditionary Corps, a group initially established to drive Japan out of Indochina, saw action during the conflict. From 1946 to 1956, the French Army experimented with various khaki drab and camouflaged airborne combat uniforms, known collectively as "tenue de saut" or " jumpsuits," designed primarily for airborne troops. These uniforms feature the prefix TAP (troupes aéroportées, or airborne troops) and the term " modéle."

The TAP Modéle Extreme-Orient was the unit’s original airborne uniform design introduced during the Indochina campaign. French armed forces produced this uniform only in khaki drab fabric. The Mle E-O trousers included multiple specialized pockets: two large bellowed cargo pockets at the thighs with double-snap flaps, two smaller forward thigh field dressing pockets with single snap flaps, one upper left waist field dressing pocket, two slash forward waist pockets, and two rear hip pockets with snap closures. The knee reinforcement comes with a double layer of heavily stitched cloth, the waist featured standard belt loops, and the pant cuffs had a button adjustment tab. Highly unusual, the army dropped many design unique features of this uniform in later models.

The Engineered Garments FA Pant and FA Short are inspired by these TAP Modéle Extreme-Orient trousers, with the FA standing for "French Army." These maximalist trousers take the idea of army pants to the extreme.

The standout feature is the abundance of pockets. Below the standard seam pockets, you'll find two inverted-pleat bellows cargo pockets on the sides that expand for extra storage. Additionally, there are three button-flap 3-D pockets on the front, two symmetrical front pockets, and a smaller 3-D pocket on the left leg—ideal for storing loose change, a pack of cigarettes, or apartment keys.

When converting the style to shorts, Engineered Garments designer Daiki Suzuki used a ¾ shorts format. This choice retains space for the pocket array and knee pleat and adds a touch of DIY, making it appear almost as if the wearer cut off the pant leg themselves.

Daiki's advice: don't put anything in the cargo pocket. While it might seem counterintuitive given the numerous pockets, the Nepenthes vision, as he explains it, is about duality—seeing one thing in two different ways. He aims to create designs that are "tall, but short; dark, but light." The placement of these pockets is an act of creative abstraction, transforming them from purely functional elements into decorative features.

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The Engineered Garments FA Short is available in the following fabrics:
• Dark Navy Cotton Ripstop
• Khaki Cotton Ripstop
• Olive Cotton Ripstop
• Red Cotton Ripstop
• Indigo 8oz Cone Denim,
• Navy Nylon Ripstop
• Olive Nylon Ripstop
• Tan Nyco Paisley Print
• Olive Cotton Hemp Satin