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We are pleased to be making a small section of the Battenwear Spring/Summer 2020 collection, the madras project, at a factory in Chennai, India. 

Why India? Why Madras? 

We have been abstractly curious for some time about the possibility of producing select Battenwear items abroad, but we didn't motivate ourselves until now. Who could resist making madras items in the birthplace of madras? 

As you may already know, the town of Chennai was formerly known as Madras. And not only has madras fabric been made in the same community for centuries, which is amazing in and of itself, it also has characteristics that touch on many of Battenwear's central themes and goals: 

-Travel: Madras has been traded globally since the 1200s and is still currently being worn with regularity across the major cities and towns around the world.

-Functionality: Originally used for work clothes, Madras is a simple but versatile fabric, meant to be facilitate activity through its lightness (which allows the wearer to stay cool in tropical heat) and its durability. 

-"Guaranteed to bleed": Madras fabric is uniquely flawed. The yarn is uncombed, with many inconsistencies that can be mistaken for "runs" in the fabric.  In addition, the dyes are not fully permanent, and can run and bleed into each other upon washing. All of this adds up to imperfect perfection to us. We love making garments with one-of-a-kind character and that change the more you wear and wash them. That's how they truly become yours. 

Fair Trade and Environmental Guarantees

We wanted to make sure we could guarantee that the factory in Chennai met the standards we require of our factories in North America: that there be safe working conditions and fair wages, and that the factory be mindful of environmental impact. 

So, we chose an international textile and trading company that has already been a trusted partner of Battenwear's for several years to run the SS20 madras project and shepherd the Battenwear collection on the ground in Chennai. They have verified that our factory in Chennai pays its workers fair wages, does not employ minors, and abides by leading standards for work place conditions. In addition, both the yarn dye and fabric dye are environmentally friendly. 

The madras project concept 
We are using this madras project to both pay homage to the history of madras as a staple of Ivy league fashion and also turn this tradition on its head.
For example, the Golf Jacket is a nod to 1990's preppy sportwear that you'd see slung by a finger over the shoulder of a young New England scholar on his way back to the dorm. The Topanga Pullover is spin on a simple countryside shirt: part-hippy and part-something you'd see a day worker lounging around in on the weekend. And the Weekend Shorts are based on a vintage tennis short. With its pleats, elastic waist, wide leg, and handsome fit, it's meant to be worn for a match and also kept on through the swanky lunch afterwards. 


Altogether, the madras project is a love note to many influences that have been key to Battenwear's development over the years. And it's a new chapter in our story, as we take the brand into the future. We're looking forward to hearing what you think about it. 


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