There is a myth that exists in the world of high fashion — let us call it the "corduroy conspiracy" — and Chris Lindland is on a mission to break it wide open. Sideways.

As creator of Lindland’s Cordarounds, which have gained notoriety for their curious horizontal wales, it is in Lindland’s best interest to insist that horizontal corduroy does not make you look fat.

"You can see how, particularly on the skirt, the horizontal alignment is more of a texture than the dreaded horizontal lines that women fear," Lindland said in a recent phone interview. "Sometimes it takes an outsider to make folks think differently about fashion."

The skirts are probably a tougher sell, women being women and all. But since launching in 2005, Lindland’s Cordarounds ( have become a kooky phenomenon and even inspired a recent cartoon in The New Yorker.

There’s currently only one store where you can walk in and buy a pair of corduroy pants that go sideways instead of up and down, and that store happens to be in Seattle. The owner of Queen Anne men’s boutique Oslo’s liked them so much, he wrote to the San Francisco-based online retailer repeatedly until the company agreed to let him sell Cordarounds.

"We’ve been very successful selling them online. We’re like an online fad," Lindland said. "There have been a ton of retailers who have contacted us, but [Oslo’s owner] John McDowell is a cuckoo fan of Cordarounds. Basically, he’s a nice guy, and if someone is nice enough to write to you 10 times … "

We wondered what could make anyone go cuckoo for corduroy, so we asked.

Q: Why make corduroys that are horizontal instead of vertical?

A: I simply asked how come they never made them and nobody gave me a good answer. I thought I’d make them for the hell of it.

Q: Nobody makes them because horizontal stripes make you look fat.


A: I can honestly say that’s a misconception that in no way applies to a man and the clothing decisions he makes. I myself was not aware of the fashion taboo of having horizontal stripes. It took an ignorant person with no fashion background to come upon this discovery.

Q: Are you surprised by the response?

A: Everybody likes them. It’s a novelty. If you’re gonna buy a pair of cords every year, and you can buy a pair that’s slightly different, why not do it? We’ve sold over 2,500 pairs online. All you need to do is to make that subtle a change to something people commonly wear, and all of a sudden, it’s a breakthrough. It just seems like some crazy fluke that nobody thought to do it.

Q: Can the horizontal waling catch crumbs?

A: The ridges are not ridged enough to catch crumbs. But they make no noise when you walk in them.

Q: Is it true that Cordarounds are a) a girl magnet and b) a conversation-starter?

A: Women do instinctively touch your leg. This is marketing gold. It’s a very funny thing, people will always ask me about my pants. Yes, it becomes a conversation piece. Cordarounds can essentially hijack conversations at cocktail parties or wherever you are. We know when people are buying these pants, they’re buying a story.

Q: What is the story?

A: I send out e-mails every week. We give people new material all the time by which to discuss their Cordarounds. My goal is to put a new funny anecdote in people’s mouths on a weekly basis. … We’ve succeeded, essentially, by being funny.

More here.