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How the Fashion Industry Uses Cord Locks

Author: Robert K.

Although they’re found on a variety of garments like hoodies and sweatpants, most people take this amazing piece of engineering for granted. The plastic cord lock is a small device that is used to tighten rope or cord without having to tie knots.


Teenager in a red cap and sportswear

How Cord Locks Work

Cord locks were originally developed to allow for a quick-and-easy way to hold an object in position and to keep it secure and immobile and, for that reason, have been a key component of the equipment used by mountain climbers, bungee jumpers, and campers. There are two positions on plastic cord locks—one that allows the cord or rope to move around freely, and one that locks it down.

Plastic cord locks are generally offered with a standard opening of 6 MM, but also in 8 MM. Cord locks are constructed of 3 durable pieces, including the barrel, the toggle, and the spring, and are available in a variety of colors and shapes, including the ball, barrel (most commonly used), box, and square.

Cord Locks in the Fashion Industry

Any garment that uses a drawstring is likely to have a cord lock. Sweatpants and joggers use a cord lock to secure the cord. Jackets that have a drawstring around the bottom hem generally have a plastic cord lock to allow it to be tightened around the body and secured. Some heavier coats use cord locks as fasteners instead of buttons to close the front of the garment and keep cold air out. They’re also used as zipper pulls, and prevent the zipper from sliding down and opening. Cord locks are also used on gloves to allow the wearer to connect the gloves together, or to their coat or their wrists to prevent loss. This is especially practical for outdoor sports enthusiasts like skiers, who take their gloves off and on and require easy access.

Functional Accessories

Cord locks aren’t just used on wearables, but on fashion accessories like backpacks, purses, gym bags, rucksacks, and other functional fashion items. You’ll also find them used for luggage and laundry bags.