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Patchwork Fabrics


Welcome back to FABRIC INSIGHT, a series delving into the background of Engineered Garments fabrics. With their vibrant patterns and rich histories, patchwork fabrics and madras have become synonymous with Ivy Style and Preppy Style. This article explores these fabrics' origins, characteristics, and enduring appeal, tracing their journey from humble beginnings to fashion staples and their reinterpretation in the Engineered Garments SS24 collection.

Patchwork fabrics originated out of necessity, a creative solution to use fabric scraps. Once purely functional, this practice evolved into a distinctive fashion statement by the 1970s. Patchwork involves sewing together various pieces of fabric to create a larger, often eclectic design. This method can produce a vibrant, textured aesthetic crafted from diverse materials such as cotton, denim, and silk.

Madras fabric hails from the Indian city of Madras, now Chennai. This lightweight cotton fabric gained popularity in the 1960s in the United States, becoming a symbol of summer style. Authentic madras are known for their soft texture and distinctive plaid or checkered patterns. A unique characteristic is its bleeding dyes, which allow the fabric to age gracefully, developing a unique, worn-in look over time.

Emerging in the 1950s, the Ivy Style epitomizes the casual yet polished adopted by Ivy League university students. Madras jackets, shirts, and shorts became staples, representing a relaxed yet sophisticated aesthetic.


Preppy Style, which rose to prominence in the 1980s, draws heavily from Ivy Style. Popularized by brands like Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, and Brooks Brothers, it emphasizes a colorful and playful aesthetic. Preppy Style enthusiastically embraced madras and patchwork fabrics, especially in summer collections. The preppy look frequently includes patchwork Madras shorts, blazers, and accessories.

For the Engineered Garments SS24 collection, designer Daiki Suzuki channels this deep history through his unique interpretation. Incorporating elements of both Preppy and Ivy styles, he creates a new style of patchwork, partially influenced by "Dressing Right" by Charles Hix, a groundbreaking book that showed unconventional styling.

Indian mills produce all three of the patchwork fabrics. While other manufacturers may display a higher degree of accuracy in a weave or use pricier yarn, there is an indefinable quality from authentic Indian fabrics. Additionally, Indian mills are highly adept at making complex designs. Madras evokes the spirit of traditional Ivy Style, while patchwork adds irreverent Preppy Style. However, Daiki creates a new path by choosing an unusual patchwork layout.

Daiki insisted on using a massive patchwork design, returning multiple times before settling on an adequately large size. The Navy Square Patchwork uses a large patchwork design consisting of relatively toned-down red, navy, and beige hues. In contrast, the Triangle Square Madras uses bright orange, red, and teal tones to complement the unusual patchwork layout.

The Multi Color Triangle Corduroy Patchwork uses the same large-size triangular patchwork configuration, adding a mixture of olive, beige, grey, navy, and light blue corduroy fabrics in both wide and narrow wale. The Orange Cotton Lace Patchwork pushes the patchwork concept to its limits. The component pieces include a range of printed swatches, including plaid prints, floral prints, and gingham prints, all in vibrant pink, green, and orange tones. Lace, stitched into the seams, strikingly contrasts the panels.

These versatile fabrics lend themselves to various garments, from casual shorts to more formal blazers. Their lightweight and breathable nature makes them particularly suitable for summer wardrobes. They symbolize casual elegance and playful sophistication, making them favorites in Daiki's interpretation of Ivy and Preppy styles.

For the Engineered Garments SS24 collection, Daiki's innovative designs add a new appeal and versatility to these iconic fabrics. Here, patchwork and madras have transcended their practical origins to play a part in the brand's reinterpretation of American fashion, symbolizing an enduring blend of casual elegance and playful sophistication.


The Engineered Garments Patchwork Fabrics are featured in the production of the following items for Spring Summer 2024:
19 Century BD Shirt, BB Shorts, Bucket Hat, Cagoule Shirt- Carlyle Pant, LL Jacket, Carry All Tote, Dayton Shirt, Fatigue Pant, Ivy Blazer, Jog Pant- Knit Cardigan, Liner Vest, RF Jeans, WP Pant