2006_11_rohan.jpgTomorrow is the annual Corduroy Appreciation Club meeting on the auspicious day, November 11, also known as the day that most resembles corduroy (11/11). We spoke to founder and president Miles Rohan about corduroyizing New Yorkers and the world at large.

First things first, how can corduroy unite us?
People, I think, are actually seeking unification in one form or another. You can look to the success of sites like Friendster and MySpace as evidence. Of course we differ from those virtual clubs, because we’re very real and very tactile—like corduroy, actually. We’re trying to emulate and reference old, secretive social clubs, like The Masons or The Knights of Columbus. I love those old clubs. Corduroy is able to unify because everyone knows what it is, it’s not rare or difficult, everyone can get it and everyone has some kind of association or reaction to corduroy. Our slogan is “All Wales Welcome,” so anyone, provided they exhibit appreciation of corduroy can be in the club.

What are your favorite corduroy items?
I have a corduroy suit which I just love. It’'s a sort of rusty brown. It’'s from the 70’s. I got on eBay. A member of the club made a sort of effigy or doll of me—out of corduroy— and I think it might be one of my most prized possessions, ever. It really looks like me too.

Do you prefer wide, medium or fine wale?
Well, the diplomatic answer is, I like them all, but I lean towards a medium wale. I feel more neat and together in a medium wale. Fine wales I like, but they can often be mistaken for velvet. I love a wide wale during the holidays. Thanksgiving seems like an especially wide-wale holiday.

Last year, the New Yorker wrote a Talk of the Town piece about you and mentioned your recruitment tactics, which were basically chasing people wearing corduroy and slipping Corduroy Club cards in pockets of corduroy clothing at stores. How have things changed in the past year?
When The New Yorker article came out we had less then a 100 members it was essentially a word-of-mouth thing. Since then we have almost 850 members world wide, in places as far flung as Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa, throughout Europe. A UK chapter is opening and people have interest in opening other chapters. There are two high school students who’ have started chapters in their schools, one here in the city and another outside of Philadelphia. I haven’'t hide time to canvas for members by chasing them down, but we have done some card plants throughout the city in clothing stores and bookstores.

What do you hope to accomplish at tomorrow's big meeting?
I want people to feel like they belong to something, to feel a sense of community, to learn a bit about corduroy. To understand our need for expansion and for them to go off and set up chapters of there own.

Tell us how the Corduroy Club selected Jonathan Ames this year's keynote speaker.
I’'ve always admired him and just thought he would be a good addition to a meeting. I thought he would get the idea of it and not dismiss it is a total quackery. I was actually astounded when he said yes. I couldn'’t be happier that he'’s our keynote. He'’s a huge figure in my eyes. And he does in fact love corduroy.

Will you be serving ridged potato chips?
We partake in secret rituals and I can'’t talk about them here.

Have you started to plan a big corduroy blowout gala for November 11, 2011? (11/11/11 !!!)
We actually have plans to open the Corduroy Appreciation Club Clubhouse on 11/11/11. What that means precisely is still being determined. We'’re exploring ideas of having various rooms in an existing structure, a gallery perhaps, and have different designers design the rooms. But the whole place would be covered with corduroy, the walls, the curtains, the furniture, the rugs, everything. In addition, we'’ll definitely be having an enormous meeting and party.

And are you planning any other offshoot fabric appreciation society? Perhaps a Worsted Wool Workshop?
I have more than enough to handle with The Corduroy Appreciation Club, but, as I said, I love clubs. I think we need more of them.

The Corduroy Appreciation Club's 11/11 meeting will be held at the Montauk Club in Brooklyn. The meeting is open to the public; there will be "secret rituals, club business, awards, speeches, art, camaraderie and more" as well as beer and wine. Tickets must be purchased in advance (available at Smarttix) and at least two items of corduroy must be worn. Wale on.

Photograph of Mile Rohan by Craig Chin