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[FABRIC INSIGHT] COTTON MOLESKIN

It's time for another installment of FABRIC INSIGHT, a series we created to give our customers a peek into the background of the fabrics that make up their favorite Engineered Garments pieces. Each season, the brand's items are constructed from various materials from around the world, imbuing each collection with a new dimension and an irreplaceable quality. This time, we are focusing on Cotton Moleskin, a soft and surprisingly durable fabric that features heavily in the Engineered Garments FW22 collection. 


Durability is a mainstay of the Engineered Garments repertoire. Engineered Garments' designer Daiki Suzuki is an expert at taking hardy silhouettes and fabrics and revamping them to tell a story that combines elements of hard-wearing function with fashionable aesthetics. Classic examples include Reverse Sateen, Cotton Ripstop, and Double Cloth. Besides these well-known materials, the brand employs lesser-known fabrics with similar capabilities. 


Moleskin is a member of the fustian group of fabrics, made of cotton yarn woven into a twilled weave to form a thick pile, then cut and brushed to create a nap on one side. Its name derives from its similarity to real moleskin fur - both of which lack grain and can brush in any direction. Moleskin is remarkably similar to corduroy, only lacking the latter's telltale ribs. 


Much like Engineered Garments itself, this fabric denies simple categorization. Unlike most workwear fabrics, it is incredibly soft and pliable but remarkably long-lasting. It stops wind and retains heat but remains breathable. This incredible versatility means manufacturers can use it to make almost any garment comfortable and highly durable. 


Due to this rare combination, all levels of society have worn moleskin. The first recorded use dates back to medieval Europe, where farmers and hunters donned the material to keep warm. During the late 19th century, it became one of the first industrial workwear fabrics, especially popular among French iron workers who wore moleskin uniforms to protect their bodies from molten spills. Its history even includes use as a military fabric, selected by West Germany for its Germancloth fatigues from the 1960s to 1980s. 


Daiki chose to use Cotton Moleskin for the Engineered Garments Fall Winter 2022 collection because of its history in British country wear. During the 20th century, as canvas and denim became preferred materials for traditional workwear, moleskin made its way into upper-class British hunting garb. Alongside tweed jackets and waterproof waxed jackets, moleskin pants were part of the go-to outfit for tracking quarry in England's rainy climate. This fabric imbues Engineered Garments pieces with a sense of formality and - unlike many of the brand's usual fabrics - a distinctly non-American feeling. 


Sourcing high-quality moleskin is challenging. The batch used for this collection comes from a Spanish mill that utilizes costly machinery to create a luxurious fabric - the final product is more akin to velveteen than a brushed twill. Although it appears heavy, it weighs only 10oz while providing excellent heat retention. In line with its English country heritage, only navy, olive, and black colorways are employed for this season's goods. 


Cotton Moleskin is one of the standout fabrics for Engineered Garments' Fall Winter 2022 collection. Its functionality and sturdiness mesh perfectly with the brand's focus on practical goods. At the same time, its rich history provides a fitting match for the inspiration sources from the late-19th century setting of Robert Egger's film, "The Lighthouse." 



The Engineered Garments Cotton Moleskin is used in the production of the following items for Fall Winter 2022:


  • Carlyle Pant
  • Fatigue Pant
  • Flight Pant
  • NB Jacket
  • Shawl Collar Utility Jacket 
  • Deck Pant (NNY Special)
  • Carry All Tote
  • Bucket Hat


These items are available for purchase in-store and online at nepenthesny.com.