We’re suckers for a great plaid. Even if it’s 80° and we’re still sleeping with the fan on, when it’s October it’s plaid season. Lucky for us, plaid season starts back in the springtime, when our designers bust out their color swatches and raid Grandpa’s closet getting to work designing Toad’s fall plaids. Color by color, yarn by yarn, we craft our own plaids so that every pattern is unique to your closet and would make Granddad proud.
It all starts with the fabric and the silhouette. A heavier fabric is great for heartier plaids while lighter weight fabrics are good for smaller plaids. We scour thrift stores and old Nirvana music videos, steal flannels from our college boyfriends, and search for vintage plaids with a little kick. Then we put our spin on things.
Take our Men’s Singlejack Shirt: It’s made of a recycled cotton/ recycled polyester blend, so it’s a lightweight, breathable fabric that just begs to be worn while climbing trees or scaling rock walls (see Joel above). So as a nod to the old-school outdoor plaids of the 70s, we opted for a larger scale print and big blocks of color.
We’re also known for messing with tradition. We knew we wanted a new twist on a classic buffalo check print. So we swapped out regular cotton yarn for an organic cotton marled flannel, to give the Women’s Bodie ¼ Zip a new heathery look that’s always ready for her close-up (a la Crystal in the Bodie above). Apparently you can teach an old Buffalo new tricks!
Like a good whiskey, you can tell a good plaid by the depth of its color. We start with rich, hearty colors that remind us of nature – clay reds, pine greens, ocean blues – then run poppy accent colors every which way. That’s the warp and the weft. Imagine a loom: the warp are the stationary yarns that go up and down, the weft get woven from left to right. So change up the warp and the weft (colors, width, weave) and you’ve got endless plaid possibilities.
But with great plaids come great responsibility. Sure, you can put endless amounts of color in a plaid, but we think any more than eight and it gets a little crazy. So we start with a few good basics then hone our craft. We mess with the scale, mess with the colors, mess with the weave, round and around until we get it just right.
Finally, we nail down the perfect construction to make sure our plaid pops. Sometimes we opt for a twill – that’s a weave at an angle (makes it extra sturdy), sometimes we brush the final print for a vintage flannel look (makes it extra soft). And if we want to make our tomboy plaids feel a little more feminine, we whip up a diamond weave like our Women’s Mojacette.