Did you know the traditional plaid ‘lungi’ worn by Tamil Nadu’s fishermen started getting global attention over 800 years ago? I am talking about one of the most colourful trends ever to rock the fashion world - the Madras checks. Defying its very humble beginnings that of a handkerchief, to rule casual wear trends all over the world, Madras checks have come a long way.
The Original Madras Company is one such fashion label that continues to take this trend to places. This family-run business has a chequered past (and literally so). It all started when the present owner Prasan Shah’s grandfather arrived with a trunk full of Madras checks and other Indian woven textiles to New York. I checked out (excuse the pun) their well-tailored menswear line featuring the classic plaid patterns and was quite impressed with it’s ‘less is more’ appeal. Be it shorts, shirts, pants, jackets or even a hooded kurta, I realised, the beauty of checks can never go out of fashion. I was pleasantly surprised to find the humble checked lungi as well as stylish checked kaftans too in their collection. Brought to mind the beloved image of RK Laxman's iconic Common Man in a Madras jacket and veshti. The checks truly are versatile.
Although the idea was born in New York, the clothes are grown, spun, handwoven, cut, and sewn in Chennai. The garment that continues to allure many across the globe is still very desi at heart. Ironically though OMTC’s clothes are not very readily available in the country as they mainly cater to a more global clientele, you can always get in touch with them via Instagram or Facebook to check if they can weave up some chequered magic for you.