A Brief History of Velvet – PhixClothing.com

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A Brief History of Velvet

by Emily Pack |

Velvet, despite its reputation for only being worn by style eccentrics and decadents, we consider to be a staple material for any man's wardrobe. Over the years, we have crafted unique, wearable shirting and tailoring pieces from the blended fabric, proving it can be worn casually with jeans and cotton tees, as well as when dressed to the nines. A touch of velvet can elevate any look from standard to chic. In today's post, we'll take a brief exploration of the fabric's rich history.

Dating back to at least 2000BC in ancient Egypt, velvet has Eastern origins where silk and linen were woven to create a fabric with a short, dense pile. At this time, the production technique was so complex that the material was only affordable for the wealthy and royals. It was not until the Renaissance in the 14th-16th centuries that production was at its peak, and had spread to the West via Silk Road trading. Italy was the first European country to have a velvet industry.

During the Industrial Revolution, production methods vastly improved and became more widely available. From the 20th century, velvet was introduced into interior and fashion designs across the world. The fabric continues to inspire us today, our most modern rework of the material to date is our coveted Blue Velvet Western Shirt, which combines this piece of Eastern design legacy with the epitome of new Americana.

There was a boom for the fabric in the 1920s, following wartime economic recovery, solidifying the material as decadent, stylish and as a symbol for partying and excess. There was a resurgence again from the 1960s onwards, velvet was a favourite among celebrities, making it highly-coveted and a glossy symbol of non-conformity. Jimi Hendrix was a fan, often sporting velvet military jackets, scarves, and his iconic electric blue flares at Woodstock in 1969.

The 'glamazons' of the 70s continued the legacy, adorning velvet flares, floating kimonos and long dresses to Studio 54 (and everywhere else), associating the fabric forever with disco and bohemia. Music icons including Keith Richards and David Bowie also began experimenting with velvet pieces.

In the 1980s, crushed velvet became all the rage, and velvet looks were sported by pop icons including Marc Bolan off T-Rex, and Prince, who paired a purple trench with maroon printed velvet trousers for his Purple rain tour in 1984.

With its incredible heritage and influence on music and pop culture style, velvet continues to be an effortlessly bold material, which we love incorporating into our pieces. We are always seeking fresh and ambitious ways to rework the material, including with our unique take on the traditional leather biker jacket, the Starman Velvet Biker, which features our coveted red Starman print.


Take the plunge and incorporate some velvet into your look today.
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