[DEEP DIVE] WP PANT
Welcome back to "DEEP DIVE". In this series we offer a glimpse of the Engineered Garments skeleton, the root system of an otherwise opaque brand. Inspiration for many items we cover comes from stoic military pieces or utilitarian workwear - austere items which are given new life under a different aesthetic. But once in a while, input from other fashion brands appears, showing the depth of Engineered Garments designer Daiki Suzuki’s influences.
Today, we take a look at Ruff Hewn, and how its ideas continue to enrich the framework of Engineered Garments. With ownership of their own factories and manufacturing expertise garnered from producing clothing for Ralph Lauren, founders Jeff and Warren Rives decided to leverage their abilities to start Ruff Hewn. Producing a wide collection of traditional American garments, the company became known primarily for its pants. Made in North Carolina, the company's high-quality garments came with pamphlets that recounted the exploits of Barclay Ruffin Hewn - a fictional swashbuckler who spent the 20th century journeying the world on countless adventures. Each item of clothing came with a story, explaining how the garments were used in this character's imagined life, and were named after figures from American history - purported friends of Ruff Hewn.
Before Nepenthes, Daiki worked with Needles designer Keizo Shimizu at an imported American sportswear store in Shibuya, where he became acquainted with the brand’s goods, including Ruff Hewn’s MacArthur Pant and Ike Pant, double forward pleated and flat front chinos, respectively. He was struck by the storytelling ability of the brand, which provided a backstory and sense of depth for each product.
Daiki religiously read each brochure, learning about Ruff Hewn's imaginary exploits: fights with Germans, meetings with world leaders, and hijinks around the globe. As a freshly-graduated design student, this concept amazed him, and affected his conception of brand development. Although he wasn’t thinking about making his own clothes at the time, the idea stuck with him and spurred him to consider new ways to create ideas. To this day, these memories remain with Daiki, etched in his mind.
It wasn’t just the brand story that caught Daiki’s eye, but the craftsmanship - many of Ruff Hewn’s products were filled with bits of creative tailoring. Sadly, when founder Warren Rives passed away in 1990, Ruff Hewn’s factories were sold off and production moved offshore, and the company’s beautiful products faded from memory. But Daiki never forgot. Once he started his own brand, he resolved to share the magic from his own past with the people of today - taking inspiration from the Wiley Post Pant - named after the high-flying aviator - and reimagining them as the Engineered Garments Willy Post Pant (WP Pant).
Pants are either constructed with or without a waistband (pants that lack them are referred to as a Hollywood waist). Just like Ruff Hewn’s Wiley Post pants, the Engineered Garments WP Pant have a waistband in the front, but a Hollywood waist in the back. Not invented by either company, this feature was likely created during the 1930s or 40s, when most clothing was custom built, and when tailors sought out ways to offer something new and interesting to their clients. This is one of those beautiful touches - nearly unnoticeable, perhaps without a clear benefit, but beauty for beauty’s sake.
The WP Pant’s ingenious tailoring continues with a unique take on the double pleat, which are usually spaced across the front of the pants. Here they are combined into one, for a maximal look. The pant’s rear includes a notch, designed to allow for easy alteration of the waist from the center back seam. Daiki also decided to add a built-in cuff to these pants, adding a touch of formality and making them another option to be worn with the Lawrence Jacket.
The Engineered Garments WP Pant illustrates the extent of fashion’s transformative ability. Even after 40 years, the same ideas contained within these pants keep Daiki awake at night and drive him forward. Engineered Garments produces these pants in the hope that they may affect someone else to create something new. Grab a pair of WP Pants and share in this vision.
The WP Pant is available in the following fabrics:
- Black Cotton 8W Corduroy
- Brown Cotton 8W Corduroy
- Black Tuxedo Wool
- Brown/Orange Wool Poly Glen Plaid
- Dark Navy Wool Cashmere Flannel
- Dark Navy Wool Uniform Serge
- Grey Poly Wool Herringbone
- Grey Wool Cashmere Flannel
- Olive Loden Cloth
Available for purchase in-store and online at nepenthesny.com.