When the fabric was first marketed in the west, it was unpopular as the vegetable dyes had a tendency to bleed

From Broadway in Parry’s to the runways of Paris, there’s one fabric that looks like it will never go out of style – Madras checks.

The lightweight and airy material is perfect for the city’s weather. While it is most commonly used for shirts and lungis here, it has also been used in furniture, bags, skirts, golf wear and accessories.

A short, stapled cotton fibre is used to create the yarn and it is dyed at the yarn stage itself.

When the fabric was first marketed in the west, it was unpopular as the vegetable dyes that were used had a tendency to bleed.

Clothing brands then altered their marketing strategy, popularising the faded look that came in with each wash.

Madras checks were the rage on Ivy League campuses in the U.S. during the 1960s. Checked shirts, jackets, blazers and shorts – all contributed to the ‘preppy’ look.

Funnily enough, the plaid design is rarely called by this name in the city of its origin. The pattern is said to have been inspired by the tartans worn by Scottish regiments that occupied south India in the 1800s.

Chennai Central at The Hindu celebrates Madras Week!

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