[FABRIC INSIGHT] LC STRIPE
It's time for another installment of FABRIC INSIGHT, a series we created to give our customers a peek into the background of the fabrics that make up their favorite Engineered Garments pieces. This time, we are focusing on LC Stripe, a crisp, lightweight fabric that features heavily in the Engineered Garments SS23 collection. Each season, the brand's items are constructed from various materials worldwide, imbuing each year's selection with a new dimension and an irreplaceable quality.
Engineered Garments specializes in transforming style, sampling elements of various genres to forge a new, unique identity. The sturdy fabrics of workwear serve as a wellspring of inspiration for designer Daiki Suzuki as he recontextualizes functional materials to create fashion items. With the LC Stripe, Daiki draws on the long lineage of striped work fabrics to instill a sense of hardiness and taste into the Spring Summer 2023 collection.
The LC Stripe draws specifically from the striped uniforms of American railroad workers, whose striped hats and overalls occupy a permanent position in the conception of the American West. Here, we look at how this fabric acquired this unique association.
The story of the striped work fabric starts with ticking, a heavy, tightly woven material developed centuries ago. The name, first appearing in a 1649 dictionary, derives from the Greek word theka, referring to a case or covering. Its simple construction and low cost made it ideal for tick mattresses - cloth bags filled with straw, leaves, grass, or chaff. Sellers would hold the fabric up to the sun, with the best quality examples letting no light through, a sign that the material would prevent the stuffing from protruding and irritating the sleeper.
Ticking cloth was a staple for mattresses, pillowcases, and curtains for hundreds of years, but credit for the fabric's leap to workwear is due to George "Stormy" Kromer. A semi-pro baseball player turned engineer for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. He asked his wife to make a hat that wouldn't fly off when he stuck his head out of the engine car. She modified one of his baseball caps with some leftover ticking fabric, creating a cap that drew admirers along Stormy's rail route. He established the Kromer Cap Co. (now in 1903 and started an unofficial uniform for the railroad. Lee assumed duties for manufacturing bib overalls, pants, jackets, and banded collar work shirts, issuing the design with the moniker "hickory stripe" for it being as strong as hickory wood.
While choosing fabrics for the Spring Summer 2023 collection, Daiki wanted to find a material that could evoke the workwear history of striped fabrics within the framework of the collection. He settled on the LC Stripe fabric from a Spanish mill. Although made with a plain weave, the fabric's 55% linen, 45% cotton blend gives it an added layer of sophistication and helps integrate it into the worldwide theme of the season. The relatively muted Navy / Grey and Natural / Black colors counter the otherwise bright colors in the offering, all while delivering the same message. The construction's breathability and lightness also provide a high degree of versatility, with the fabric appearing on shirts, jackets, pants, and hats.
The Engineered Garments LC Stripe is used in the production of the following items for Spring Summer 2023:
D Sum Jacket
These items are available for purchase in-store and online at nepenthesny.com.