What the hell is moleskin?
Known since the Middle Ages, Moleskin was a precious fabric due to its cotton component, which, being imported from India by Venetian merchants, was considerably more expensive than European-made linen. In the thirteenth century from Italy Moleskin spread through France to the rest of Europe: the most valuable, at least between the sixteenth and eighteenth century, was produced in Milan. With the decrease in cost, cotton went from being a luxury fabric to a workwear fabric; clothes of the Butteri (The Tuscan cowboys) were made in moleskin.
Moleskin is an extremely soft woven twill fabric on one side with a short embossed surface. The name simply refers to the similarity between the softness of the mole skin and the softness of this cotton fabric, which has a velvety pile that looks similar to suede. Despite the name, it is definitely not made from real fur or the skin of a mole. Moleskin is most often used to make sturdy and stylish garments. It is a thick and rugged fabric that stands up easily to tough wind and low temperatures. At the same time, since it’s cotton, it’s breathable. This means it’s suitable for indoor wear as well as for tough outdoor conditions.
Moleskin is very similar to denim, which is probably a derivation of it. This fabric is very dense, which makes it quite durable and easy to clean. Lighter blends of moleskin are often used for work clothes, especially those made by French and British manufacturers. Its versatility is demonstrated by its history. Moleskin was popular with British and French laborers in the early 1900s. Soon, landowners saw the incredible value of the sturdy, warm material for use while hunting and shooting.