The term 'moleskine' often appears when describing workwear garments, but what is it? Moleskine is a thick cotton cloth with a very tight twill, covered with an oil coating. This combination gives the fabric its peculiar glow and amazing finish, with a soft leather or velvet feel.
What is the origin of the word ‘moleskine’?
It comes from the English ‘mole skin’, when mole fur was used for garments (gruesome detail; you needed at least 400 moles to make a coat!)
As the textile industry developed in the 18th and 19th centuries, ‘moleskine’ became a term to describe any velvety fabric.
How did it become associated with French workwear?
This type of oiled cloth was often used for inner lining of heavy coats. Adolphe Lafont, from Lyon, who had set up a textile factory in 1844, created trousers entirely in moleskine, originally for his carpenter father-in-law - they were known as ‘Largeot’.
What is the connection with moleskine and dungarees?
Lafont extended the use of moleskine to other types of garments such as jackets, and by adding a bib to his Largeot trousers, he created the dungarees. Levi’s picked up on it and gave it the design we all now know.
Meanwhile, other French manufacturers such as Le Laboureur also creating workwear ranges in moleskine fabric, for different trades. It also had other uses, such as for car upholstery, notebook covers and even toys with Poupées Skine.
The French Workwear Company Le Laboureur Moleskine collection
As authentic vintage moleskine garments are becoming harder to find, we are very pleased to be offering a dead stock range of dungarees and trousers made by Le Laboureur in rural Burgundy.
The collection is available in an array of sizes, we will be adding stock on a regular basis, please check it here, large sizes available (but not yet listed), email us if you have any questions.