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January 17, 2006

Couture du Jour - January 17, 2006

Horizontal corduroy. Don’t get any ideas; it’s already been taken. Chris Lindland was inspired when talking to one of his ex-girlfriends. He wondered why they didn’t exist, and she argued they shouldn’t. Once the girlfriend was gone, he decided to create the first horizontal corduroy pant—and the phenomenon continues growing sideways.

Cordarounds.com boasts four different types of horizontal corduroy pants, three horizontal seersucker pants, and two horizontal corduroy jackets for men to saunter around in. They just started a new women’s line, with corduroy skirts.

This online company believes it is better for men to wear horizontal corduroy in order to protect the future of their spawn. Their argument is that vertical corduroy causes too much friction in the crotch, allowing the temperature to rise to dangerous levels. The horizontal corduroy meshes well (rather then causing friction) while walking—therefore, according to Lindland, lowering the crotch temperature by 22 percent.

These cheeky pants are marketed mainly to college-age men, due to their smart-alecky nature. Cordarounds.com has even sponsored a few college parties at large campuses like the University of Texas. Of course, there were a few horizontal cords modeled inconspicuously around the party.

Lindland likes to have fun with the design of the pants with interesting liner fabrics like herringbone and rainbow stripes. He also sends out e-mails proving the “science” of why horizontal cords are better, claiming that they were “gluttony-tested for Thanksgiving.”

Another e-mail explains the release of the new wafflecord: “durable, thin-wale, Sandalwood corduroy with linen pockets.” Buck Kentucky was the man who demanded them, and he happens to be in the waffle business. These weekly e-mails are definitely worth checking out. I haven’t seen anyone else have so much fun with a fashion business.

Lindland started with one pair he made for himself. When everyone started asking him where he got them, he decided to have 500 more made. He didn’t have a background in sewing or pattern-making, and this soon turned on him when the first batch of 500 came back with a miscut panel. After getting another batch made correctly, he learned that stores buy early—and he was too late to sell for the season.

Lindland does have experience in web design, and that’s where he decided to sell his first batch of pants. Since then, Cordarounds.com has sold more than 2,000 pairs of horizontal cords. Lindland claims that over 500 women e-mailed him during this period demanding a women’s version. His answer was the horizontal corduroy skirt. While this isn’t as novel, it does look fashionable and comfortable.

Chris Lindland also produced the Certifiably San Franciscan Straight and Single Fashion Show, to model his oddball fashion inventions. The models had to go through rigorous tests to pass the requirements. Women flocked to the event and packed the show space.

After it was over, they begged for another show. He produced another one last November—only it was bigger and better, with a few celebrities in the audience at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room in San Francisco.

I asked Chris if he worried that the fad of horizontal corduroys would soon disappear. He said, “A fad is OK, because there is tons more to do.” He’s right; it’s not just about turning corduroy sideways, it’s about turning everything sideways. Chris is going to milk this fad for all it’s worth before moving on. But I’m still interested in seeing what’s next. Switching pants and shirts, perhaps, or a combination tie/belt? Whatever it is, it’s sure to be the next fashion success.