Besides, and I’m sorry to have to say that, but … you already sound stupid. Do you think James dean would have seemed like a badass if he had had a Samsung galaxy s10 bulging in her pocket, her blocky outline has permanently faded on the front of her jeans? No, he wouldn’t have. Guess what: neither can you.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not arguing for a return to cargoes in the bulky, baggy form they took in 2002. They certainly shouldn’t hang below the knee; it doesn’t help anyone. Actually, I’m not very interested in freight shorts at all, as existing non-cargo shorts tend to have decent pocket space. What concerns me are the pants, which is what most adults wear most of the time, at least when we are working in person. Fortunately, a quiet renaissance in cargo design is well underway. It turns out that you can buy much thinner and sleeker cargoes anywhere, from Target To Louis Vuitton. (OK, those from Louis Vuitton, whose side pockets are massive and removable, are actually nuts; maybe don’t buy them.)
“The cargo silhouette has become slimmer, more fashionable – it’s stretchy – so you start to see the cargo ship transform itself,” says Joseph Hancock, professor of fashion design and merchandising at Drexel University, who wrote his doctoral thesis on freight. Pants. “Just like jeans got skinny, then straight legs, and now they’re coming back to wider fits.”
In fact, Hancock points out, the cargoes never really left. They are of course still essential on construction sites. They are a favorite with outdoor enthusiasts who like to keep a pocket knife and energy gel packs handy on the hiking trails. And then there are the millions of people, mostly men, who just don’t care about being old-fashioned, fuck what their wives think. The title of a viral the Wall Street newspaper item in 2016 captured this dynamic: “Nice Cargo Shorts! You sleep on the sofa.
Five years later, there are signs that the taste makers are ready to move. Recent articles in places like Vogue, GQ, and Squire assured readers that freighters are back in fashion. Hancock, whose enthusiasm for Cargoes is both aesthetic and academic, believes Cargoes are about to have a moment, carried by a pandemic-inspired shift from style to comfort and function.
“It’s coming back,” he said, pointing to women’s fashion in particular. “It’s in every type of figure you can think of, from full to fine to capri. Gap in the spring offered three styles of cargo pants. Now they have five. When I see they have five styles I go, well, they invest in this one for fall. Banana Republic, they had a style last year in dress pants; this season they have three. Levi’s, which I still consider to be a global retailer because they are so popular around the world, they actually now have four styles of cargo.
But Hancock says he expects this trend to peak in the fall and fade over the next year or so. I’m arguing for something much more radical: Freighters, or something like them, should become the new jeans. It should be perfectly acceptable to wear them to the office or to dinner in a good restaurant. There’s no reason to keep cramming those giant phones, AirPods charging cases, and EDC Multifunction Tools in the front pockets where they do not fit.
Does that mean you’ll see me walking the streets of San Francisco with my iPhone tucked away in a stylish side pocket? Absolutely not. I am not a pioneer. Remember what I said about sexy and stylish people? I need you to make that happen, my warm and stylish player. Only after fashionable people make it acceptable will normal people believe that we can wear cargo ships without looking like an idiot.
Look, I really like jeans. They are basically a towel that you wear. In my ideal world, we would go back to flip phones instead of relying on cargo pants to save us. But it’s do not arrive. Flip phones are dead. At least the cargoes still have a fighting chance.
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