I used to work in tailoring and wear a suit every day. This was after working in streetwear boutiques. Both experiences inform a lot of what I do. Truth be told when I started Checks it was a bit of a homecoming, a rebellion against the formality and stuffiness of tradition, a chance for me to do something with more of a raw youthful energy that was identified by hoodies and graphic t-shirts. That interest in tailoring and luxury fabric remained, some of our early products were hoodies made from British velvet or tartan coach jackets.
I think the bubble of loud instagram driven logo heavy design is about to or has burst, and I find my interest drawing back to classic timeless items that are ever present and hold their value. Tailored style like a fine pair of slacks or blazer are back in my thinking. It took me a little while to work out how that fit in to this moment and the aesthetic of Checks, how it would be designed to combine with a hoodie or pair of work pants and sneakers.
Most of what I saw in the market might have the right texture or pattern that made it ready to be subverted from it’s traditional context, but the structure was still too heavy and it didn’t have the comfort factor of what I had become accustomed to wearing. I wanted it to feel the same as wearing a sweatshirt or bomber jacket.
The options that had the structure removed from the garments were too basic in fabrication, connected to more of a modern workwear aesthetic that didn’t mesh with the kind of punk streetwear DNA I was looking for.
So I found the sweet spot for Checks tailoring, utilising the kind of textures that you would have become accustomed to from us like wide-wale corduroy or wool tartans and plaids and pairing this with the boxy fit and minimal structure of functional garments like a coach or chore jacket. Whilst still maintaining enough of the hallmarks of traditional tailoring - just enough to show we know the rules and have chosen where to break them.
The result is a suit that you feel like you could sleep in, has all the same room for movement and softness of your favourite hoodie. The suit has the formality to be worn together as a solitary look for a special event but isn’t so tied to this kind of rigour that its use is isolated. The jacket on its own could be paired with a pair of carpenter pants or jeans, the pants with a good piece of knitwear or tucked-in tee.
Sometimes when you come across a realisation like this it can feel like a revelation, the result may seem simple but is a kind of manifestation of many years of testing, experimentation and research. It feels like the sweet spot for us.