G is for Gingham
For some the word gingham evokes memories of grassy picnics, domestic settings and perhaps most notably, Dorothy’s iconic blue pinafore in The Wizard of Oz. At Smyth & Gibson however, gingham possesses a relaxed formality that makes it ideal for both business and leisure.
The exact origins of gingham are unclear. In one version of the story, gingham was first imported in the 17th century as a striped plain-woven cloth from Dutch-occupied Malaysia and Indonesia, its name stemming from the Malay word ‘genggang’ meaning ‘ajar’ or ‘separate’. In another version, it’s thought that the small Breton town of Guingamp gave birth to the fabric. Regardless, gingham in all its forms has truly stood the test of time.
Traditionally gingham was a simple striped fabric, with its cotton yarns dyed before weaving. Over the years however the check variation became the public’s firm favourite, particularly in pairings of black and white, red and white, and blue and white.
The fabric's popularity came to the fore in the 18th century when struggling mills in Manchester and the southern states of America began to produce it with the hope that it would revive their economy. And that it did. It swiftly became a household staple and over the years has appeared in the wedding dress of Brigitte Bardot, on the legs of Marilyn Monroe and more recently in Nike’s 2012 kit for Manchester United!