We’ve just launched two chino styles in-store at Redchurch Street and online; the Officer Chino and the Easy Fit Chino. Crafted in Japan from Japanese cloth, the difference between these two trousers is the fit and aesthetic.
We’ll start off by introducing these two styles to you, and then delve into the history behind the chino and how it’s become a fail-safe trouser option which undoubtedly sits in most gentlemen’s wardrobes.
The Officer Chino is a more relaxed style, with a slightly dropped crotch, wider fit through the leg and subtle tapering at the hem. As the name would suggest, these are based on a pair of vintage 1950s Army officer khakis which our Design team found while developing the Spring/Summer 2017 collection. The Officer Chino is available in Beige and Navy 100% cotton twill.
Beige Officer Chino, £195
Navy Officer Chino, £195
Our Easy Fit Chino is a straight cut with a slimmer fit through the leg. This classic style offers versatility; roll the hem and pair with sneakers and a tee for day-to-day casual, or wear straight with a smarter shoe, shirt and unstructured blazer. The Easy Fit Chino is available in Beige and Olive 100% cotton twill.
Olive Easy Fit Chino, £175
Beige Easy Fit Chino, £175
Now, ever wondered how the humble chino become the wardrobe staple it is today and what the origins are? Let’s take it back to the mid-nineteenth century, 1846 to be precise, where an imaginative British army officer named Sir Harry Lumsden was operating as the Commanding Officer in Punjab, India. Sweltering in the intense heat and pretty certain he and his comrades stuck out like a sore thumb in their vibrant red tunics and positively glowing ivory trousers in the dusty terrain, he set about devising a more suitable uniform. A native Punjab plant called ‘Mazari’ became his saviour; he used this plant to blend a dye, which he used to colour some cotton twill trousers an earthy-sandy tone which matched their terrain. He named the colour ‘khaki’, after the Hindu word for dust, and officers coined the term ‘khakis’ for their new trousers. Little did Sir Lumsden know, these khakis would soon become standard issue attire in the military within just 2 years.
In the coming years the khaki dye would be patented, and the popularity would exponentially grow. Troops the world over would add these trousers to their uniforms.
So, this explains the origins of the design. But we need to fast forward a little to know how the name changed form ‘khakis’ to ‘chinos’. Sadly, it was another conflict which forms part of this garment’s rise to popularity; the Spanish-American war in 1898. The U.S troops were sweltering in their wool get-ups and soldiers stationed in the Philippines quickly adopted cotton khakis, and returned home with them after the war. The flat-fronted, straight-leg khaki trousers they were issued has been imported from China and the troops named them ‘chinos’ after the Spanish word for Chinese.
The everlasting appeal is based upon a functional garment, which is crafted from a cotton twill cloth which provides durability, as well as breathability and comfort. The style of the chinos has evolved as it has moved from a miliarty garment into the modern wardrobe via the likes of style icons who adopted the trousers, including James Dean.
And there you have a potted history of the chino.
Beige Easy Fit Chinos, £175
Red Grandad-Collar Shirt, £145
Navy Lightweight Bomber, Arriving in-store & online soon