Fabrics of Fashion: Velvet

An image of luxury, the gothic and glamour, velvet instantly acts as a fabric of grandeur. Although the unique fabric’s popularity peaked in the 60’s and 70’s, velvet has found its way back into high street and cat walk fashion. Even this month Kate Moss was spotted, endowed in a velvet Bardot dress and hitting London’s streets, glamorously.

Fabrics of Fashion: Velvet

Kate Moss wearing velvet dress

Kate Moss

Even more surprisingly, the revival of velvet has been used this past summer in extremely odd ways. Although it shouldn’t work, crushed velvet bikinis look great; they were also a desirable must-have by all the Instagram models and fashion lovers.

Kylie Jenner in her green velvet bikini

Kylie Jenner in her green velvet bikini

Known for being associated with nobility, the fabric’s process of being made can be expensive, especially with the richly coloured dyes used in the first velvets of rulers and royalty. Silk is the most commonly used fibre to make velvet – as if the material couldn’t get any more luxurious. The velvet straight from the high street rails however is more likely viscose, a synthetic fibre that still mimics the sheen and feel of silk. Cotton velvet (Velveteen) creates a more dulled effect and appears less lavish.

Givenchy’s use of Velvet 2016 Fall Collection – Paris Fashion Week

Givenchy’s use of Velvet 2016 Fall Collection – Paris Fashion Week

How is it made?

To keep it short and sweet, velvet is woven. A spool feds threads into the loom to create the velvet, two layers of the fabric are actually made at the same time, as they are attached by threads, that when cut apart make the velvet texture. The raised texture that makes it irresistible to touch is called the pile, making it oh so satisfyingly soft (but very hard to clean).

After the dying process velvet can be given another trim to fluff it up, or embossed where a roller presses a pattern into the fabric. That is not all, crushed velvet involves pressing the fabric in different directions to give it a unique look.

Missguided crushed velvet dress. Fabrics of Fashion: Velvet

Missguided crushed velvet dress

How can it be worn?

If subtly is your thing, a little velvet can go a long way. Go for a velvet choker.

As it gets colder, choose boots to keep you a little warmer. While you are at it, go for velvet ones.

Tibi boots. Fabrics of Fashion: Velvet

Tibi boots

Zara velvet over the knee high heeled boots

Zara velvet over the knee high heeled boots

What are your thoughts on this fabric?


Text: Jessica Saunders

Images: Vogue, Missguided, Etsy, Zara, Fashion Fabrics

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