The Fashion Buzzword We've Noticed Over at Zara

Hannah Almassi

Charlotte Groeneveld of The Fashion Guitar wearing a Rosie Assoulin gingham top.

Gingham: Every girl we know (personally or via the magical medium of social media) has bought into it over the past month. From tablecloth-checked shirts and monochrome trench coats to ruffled plaid skirts, ribbon-tied shoes and simple sundresses, there is no shortage of gingham available, and being purchased.

Already our level of interest has been sufficiently piqued to give you a rundown on the best gingham pieces across the high street, but during our e-tailer travels, we started to notice one important thing. Some of the most trusted brands weren't calling gingham gingham at all. Why? Well, it all comes down to the origin of this archetypal summer print…

Alexandra Stedman of The Frugality wearing a Next coat.

So it turns out if you want to get really involved in this number one print trend, you'll need to start referencing it as "Vichy." The term is a noun in French and is basically the equivalent to "gingham" in English. However, there's an extra depth to this meaning: This particular woven fabric has traditionally been manufactured in a French town called Vichy, where these now-whimsical cotton fabrics were produced to make aprons and shirts.

Step back in time, and gingham can be derived from Dutch-occupied Malaysia, Indonesia and also India—almost every continent has a version it would like to claim as the original. Therefore this humble pattern has lived a thousand lives under a thousand different guises: from all-American pinup to practical (it's cost-effective because the check is the same on the both sides), cool to overly cutesy. Vichy, or gingham, has never failed to be reinterpreted by designers, and here it is yet again.

So now that you can talk the talk, let's walk the walk. Shop our favourite Vichy-check trend pieces below…

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