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Cloth Dressers Textile Industry

Cloth Dressers Textile Industry

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Cloth-dressers (croppers) were workers in the woollen industry who had the task of cutting the cloth after it had been in the fulling mill. The cropper's skill was to cut the surface of the cloth after it had been raised with shears. These shears weighed 40 lb (18 kg) and were 4 feet (1.2 km) long. Croppers were well paid and resisted attempts by their employers to introduce the shearing frame at the beginning of the 19th century.

Croppers became part of the Luddite movement that destroyed shearing frames in Yorkshire in 1812. Over 4,000 soldiers were brought in to keep order. After arrests and public hangings, including 17 men in York, the resistance came to an end. By the 1820s few croppers could find work in the woollen industry.

The business of a cloth worker is to take a piece of cloth in its rough state as it comes from the market, or as it comes from the fulling mill; he first raises that cloth; after that, if it is a good piece, it is cropped wet; it is then taken and mossed and rowed; mossing is filling up the bottom of the wool after it has been cut with the shears wet, it is done with a handle set with teazles in each hand; after that it is rowed and tentered and dried; if a fine piece it will receive three cuts.

The cloth is placed upon the shear board, which is a sort of long narrow table, and he proceeds to clip the wool. The handle of the shears is supported by one hand, whilst with the other he works them by means of a small lever, called a gig, affixed to the upper edge.

An able workman will earn great wages, and, if industrious and steady, is certain to make his way in the world. The majority are idle and dissolute, owing perhaps partly to the laborious nature of their occupation, which too often induces habits of drunkenness, and partly to their working in numbers together, a circumstance always injurious to morals. To the unsteady conduct of the Croppers, by which in times of urgent business much loss and inconvenience were suffered by their employers, and from the great improvements lately made in mechanics, may be attributed the invention of the gig mills and shearing frames.

The establishment of these mills excited considerable alarm amongst the Croppers, and was the alleged cause of the late unhappy disturbances. By the active vigilance of the magistrates, the prompt execution of some of the ringleaders, and the well-timed lenity shown to others, tranquillity is now restored, and there no longer appears any disposition to outrage or even dissatisfaction.

Clothing and Textiles in the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution is a movement that began in the 18 th Century in England and rapidly spread throughout the rest of Europe and North America. The movement dealt with changes in technology that increased business and made the lives of citizens easier in the process. The Industrial Revolution affected all sectors of life, including the manufacturing of food, textiles and especially clothing. People's lifestyle changed as a result of the revolution, and the clothing industry has not been the same since.

Before the Industrial Revolution

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, much of society revolved around people creating their own clothes. They would hem and sew their own garments and provide repairs to any clothes that were ripped or torn. People owned just a few outfits to get by and would get a lot of use out of these few outfits. There was not much of a business model for clothing, because it took a long time to produce, and was a necessity that most people simply handled on their own.

At the Beginning of the Industrial Revolution

The Revolution started in earnest with textiles. A number of new inventions meant that labor was in demand. Since factories had brand new machines that wove and produced cotton at greater speeds, they needed more people to organize the fabrics, operate the machines and facilitate the entire process. This brought about a rise in business and caused people to leave their homes for work more often than not. In the beginning, the movement was spearheaded by England, because they had more access to iron, and were able to produce a number of necessities from raw material.

Working during the Industrial Revolution was grueling and dangerous. The laws in place today to protect people during labor were nonexistent during those times. Cotton was one of the most grueling and dangerous areas of work, because those laborers were subject to long hours. Industrial Revolution clothing was made with under conditions that had people spending long hours in factories with no windows, while enduring incredible heat from steam machines. It was very common for people to work more than 12 hours every day, even children as young as 9 or 10 years old.

Technology Advances During the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was marked by leaps and bounds in technology. The simple fact that cotton was produced by steam machine, rather than traditional tools, increased productivity exponentially. The spinning jenny helped kicked start the Industrial Revolution, due to the amount of fabric that could be crafted from cotton, which allowed for the production of Industrial Revolution clothing and other supplies. Some other technological advancements that took place during the Revolution included anesthesia, tires, the phonograph, canned food, the steam engine and the telegraph. Life has not been the same since.

After the Industrial Revolution

After the Revolution, cities began growing rapidly. People left areas of spread out land and began populating busy cities in order to work in factories. In fact, these cities grew quicker than they could handle, which caused them to live in slums and tenements. It changed a number of industries, because people began looking for ways to produce items quicker and more efficiently. Business models changed with the Revolution, as did the way that consumers live their lives.

Effects of the Industrial Revolution on the Industry

The largest Industrial Revolution change on the clothing industry was that people became more fashion conscious and began purchasing clothing for style, rather than necessity. Before the revolution, people crafted their own clothes and had just enough to get by. Since the Industrial Revolution and today, even people of average means have a number of outfits for different occasions, and continue to buy clothes simply because of their tastes. The social structure of the workplace changed as a result of the Industrial Revolution as well, because laws were passed that allow people to receive days off from work, capped hours and reasonable conditions. Additionally, child labor laws were passed, which protect people who are not of working age. The Industrial Revolution kick started changes that affect the way much of the world still live.

What Are Smart Textiles?

Since smart fabrics are a newer technology, many people aren’t aware of their potential. Smart textiles provide an added benefit to the user beyond the typical value of the fabric. They respond and adapt to their environment.

Fabrics are a combination of fibers and polymers, natural and man-made, that are constructed through a variety of techniques, the most popular being knitted or woven. Each blend of fabric serves a different purpose, individualized for a particular climate or function. But since fabric is the foundation for so many products and more, it makes sense to see how its utility can be expanded.

Take temperature, for instance — cotton and linen clothing are perfect for hot environments, as they are breathable and light. However, the allowance for airflow that keeps you cool creates a problem in colder temperatures. Going back and forth from hot to cold areas can be a nuisance when choosing what clothing to wear.

Functional textiles change that. They can adapt based on design structure or external stimuli. Imagine a fabric that can respond to a temperature change and keep you comfortable, much like your skin. And, along with adopting new capabilities, smart fabrics create a more sustainable culture. With the ability to transform, less product is needed which produces less waste.

Ancient and traditional cultures

There are some indications that weaving was already known in the Palaeolithic era. An indistinct textile impression has been found at Pavlov , Moravia. Neolithic textiles are well known from finds in pile dwellings in Switzerland. One extant fragment from the Neolithic was found in >Fayum , at a site dated to about 5000 BCE. This fragment is woven at about 12 threads by 9 threads per cm in a plain weave. >Flax was the predominant fibre in Egypt at this time and continued popularity in the Nile Valley , even after wool became the primary fibre used in other cultures around 2000 BCE. Another Ancient Egyptian item, known as the Badari dish, depicts a textile workshop. This item, catalogue number UC9547, is now housed at the Petrie Museum and dates to about 3600 BCE. Enslaved women worked as weavers during the Sumerian Era and then dried them. Next, they beat out the dirt and the wool. The wool was then graded, bleached , and spun into a thread. The spinners pulled out fibers and twisted them together. This was done either by rolling fibers between palms or using a hooked stick. The thread was then placed on a wooden or bone spindle and rotated on a clay whorl , which operated like a flywheel.

The slaves then worked in three-woman teams on looms, where they stretched the threads, after which they passed threads over and under each other at perpendicular angles. The finished cloth was then taken to a fuller.

Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897) points to numerous Biblical references to weaving in ancient times:

Weaving was an art practised in very early times (Ex. 35:35). The Egyptians were specially skilled in it (Isa. 19:9 Ezek. 27:7), and some have regarded them as its inventors.

In the wilderness, the Hebrews practised it (Ex. 26:1, 8 28:4, 39 Lev. 13:47). It is referred to in subsequent times as specially the women's work (2 Kings 23:7 Prov. 31:13, 24). No mention of the loom is found in Scripture, but we read of the "shuttle" (Job 7:6), "the pin" of the beam (Judg. 16:14), "the web" (13, 14), and "the beam" (1 Sam. 17:7 2 Sam. 21:19). The rendering, "with pining sickness," in Isa. 38:12 should be, as in the Revised Version , "from the loom," or, as in the margin, "from the thrum." We read also of the "warp" and "woof" (Lev. 13:48, 49, 51&ndash53, 58, 59), but the Revised Version margin has, instead of "warp," "woven or knitted stuff."

American Southwest

Textile weaving, using cotton dyed with pigments, was a dominant craft among pre-contact tribes of the American southwest, including various Pueblo peoples, the Zuni, and the Utetribes. The first Spaniards to visit the region wrote about seeing Navajo blankets. With the introduction of Navajo-Churro sheep, the resulting woolen products have become very well known. By the 1700s the Navajo had begun to import yarn with their favorite color, Bayeta red. Using an upright loom, the Navajos wove blankets and then rugs after the 1880s for trade. Navajo traded for commercial wool, such as Germantown, imported from Pennsylvania. Under the influence of European-American settlers at trading posts, Navajos created new and distinct styles, including "Two Gray Hills" (predominantly black and white, with traditional patterns), "Teec Nos Pos" (colorful, with very extensive patterns), "Ganado" (founded by Don Lorenzo Hubbell, red dominated patterns with black and white, "Crystal" (founded by J. B. Moore), Oriental and Persian styles (almost always with natural dyes), "Wide Ruins," "Chinlee," banded geometric patterns, "Klagetoh," diamond type patterns, "Red Mesa" and bold diamond patterns. Many of these patterns exhibit a fourfold symmetry, which is thought to embody traditional ideas about harmony, or hózhó.


In Native Amazonia, densely woven palm mosquito netting, or tents, were utilized by the Panoans, Tupí, Western Tucano, Yameo, Záparoans, and perhaps by the indigenous peoples of the central Huallaga River basin (Steward 1963:520). Aguaje palm-bast (Mauritia flexuosa, Mauritia minor, or swamp palm) and the frond spears of the Chambira palm Astrocaryum chambira, A.munbaca, A.tucuma, also known as Cumare or Tucum) have been used for centuries by the Urarina of the Peruvian Amazon to make cordage, net-bags hammocks, and to weave fabric. Among the Urarina, the production of woven palm-fiber goods is imbued with varying degrees of an aesthetic attitude, which draws its authentication from referencing the Urarina&rsquos primordial past. Urarina mythology attests to the centrality of weaving and its role in engendering Urarina society. The post-diluvial creation myt accords women&rsquos weaving knowledge a pivotal role in Urarina social reproduction. Even though palm-fiber cloth is regularly removed from circulation through mortuary rites, Urarina palm-fiber wealth is neither completely inalienable, nor fungible since it is a fundamental medium for the expression of labor and exchange. The circulation of palm-fiber wealth stabilizes a host of social relationships, ranging from marriage and fictive kinship (compadrazco, spiritual compeership) to perpetuating relationships with the deceased.

Islamic world

Hand weaving of Persian carpets and kilims has been an important element of the tribal crafts of many of the subregions of modern day Iran. Examples of carpet types are the Lavar Kerman carpet from Kerman and the Seraband rug from Arak.

An important innovation in weaving that was developed in the Muslim worldduring the Islamic Golden Age was the introduction of foot pedals to operate a loom. The first such devices appeared in Syria, Iran and Islamic parts of East Africa, where "the operator sat with his feet in a pit below a fairly low-slung loom." By 1177, it was further developed in Al-Andalus, where having the mechanism was "raised higher above the ground on a more substantial frame." This type of loom spread to the Christian parts of Spain and soon became popular all over medieval Europe.

Sometimes, dye would be applied to fiber before it was used in manufacturing. If so, this is the point at which the dyeing would occur. It was fairly common to soak fibers in a preliminary dye with the expectation that the color would combine with a different shade in a later dye bath. Fabric that was dyed at this stage was known as "dyed-in-the-wool."

Dyes usually required a mordant to keep the color from fading, and mordants often left a crystalline residue that made working with fibers extremely difficult. Therefore, the most common dye used in this early stage was woad, which did not require a mordant. Woad was a blue dye made from an herb indigenous to Europe, and it took about three days to use it to dye fiber and make the color fast. In later medieval Europe, such a large percentage of wool cloths were dyed with woad that cloth workers were often known as "blue nails." 1

Textile Industry - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

The Textile Industry is Segmented by Application Type (Clothing Application, Industrial/Technical Application, and Household Application), By Material (Cotton, Jute, Silk, Synthetics, and Wool), By Process ( Woven and Non-woven), and By Geography (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa). The report offers market size and forecasts for the textile industry in Value (USD billion) for all the above segments.

Market Snapshot

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Market Overview

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the textile industry drastically in 2020. Asia, which is one of the largest markets for the textile industry in the world, has suffered from the prolonged lockdowns and restrictions in the majority of Asian countries along with the sudden drop in international demand for their products. The loss was particularly high in countries where the textile industry accounted for a larger share of the exports. According to the study by the International Labour Organization (ILO) the global textile trade collapsed during the first half of 2020. Also, exports to the major buying regions in the European Union, the United States, and Japan fell by around 70%. The industry also suffered several supply chain disruptions due to the shortages of cotton and other raw materials.

The textile industry is an ever-growing market, with key competitors being China, the European Union, the United States, and India. China is the world's leading producer and exporter of both raw textiles and garments. The United States is the leading producer and exporter of raw cotton, while also being the top importer of raw textiles and garments. The textile industry of the European Union comprises Germany, Spain, France, Italy, and Portugal at the forefront with a value of more than 1/5th of the global textile industry. India is the third-largest textile manufacturing industry and is responsible for more than 6% of the total textile production, globally. The rapid industrialization in the developed and developing countries and the evolving technology are helping the textile industry to have modern installations which are capable of high-efficient fabric production. These factors are helping the textile industry to record more revenues during the study period and are expected to help the industry further in the forecast period.

Scope of the Report

The report aims to provide a detailed analysis of the global textile industry. It focuses on market dynamics, technological trends, and insights on the geographical segments and the process, material, and application types. Also, it analyses the major players and the competitive landscape in the global textile industry. The Textile Industry is Segmented by Application Type (Clothing, Industrial/Technical Applications, and Household Applications), By Material (Cotton, Jute, Silk, Synthetics, and Wool), by Process ( Woven and Non-woven), and by Geography (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa). The report offers market size and forecasts for the textile industry in Value (USD billion) for all the above segments.

Clothing Application
Industrial/Technical Application
Household Application
North America
Latin America
Middle East & Africa

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Key Market Trends

Increasing Demand for Natural Fibers

Natural fiber composites are relatively lighter and have more strength than conventional fibers, and therefore, find extensive application in the automotive industry for interior and exterior applications. Natural fibers obtained from plants and animals include cotton, silk, linen, wool, hemp, jute, and cashmere. These fibers are widely used to manufacture garments, apparel, construction materials, medical dressings, and interiors of automobiles, among others. The abundance of natural fibers, especially cotton, in China, India, and the United States, is contributing significantly to the growth of the global textile market. Silk is used in upholstery and apparel, as it is available in both variations fine as well as coarse. Wool and jute are used as textile materials for their resilience, elasticity, and softness. The increasing consumption of natural fibers, such as cotton, silk, wool, and jute, will drive the global textile market during the forecast period.

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Shifting Focus Toward Non-woven Fabrics

The increasing birth rate and aging population has contributed to the growing demand for hygiene products, such as baby diapers, sanitary napkins, and adult incontinence products, which, in turn, is expected to fuel the demand for non-woven fabrics. Nonwovens are used in road construction in the form of geotextiles to increase the durability of roads. Low maintenance costs associated with nonwovens are expected to fuel its demand in construction applications. The positive outlook of the automobile and transportation industry, globally, is further expected to propel growth for the non-woven fabric market over the next years. The automobile industry manufactures a large number of exterior and interior parts using non-woven fabrics owing to their durability. Rapid industrialization and recent innovations in the field of textile technology are other factors fueling demand for non-woven fabrics, globally.

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Competitive Landscape

The report covers the major players operating in the textile industry. In terms of market share, the companies in the global textile industry do not have a considerable amount of market share, as the market is highly competitive and fragmented.


Sashiko is a traditional form of Japanese hand sewing that uses a simple running stitch sewn in repeating or interlocking patterns, usually piercing through several layers of fabric. From the 17th century onward, creative rural Japanese seamstresses discovered an important feature of sashiko stitching. If the layers of fabric were held together with sashiko stitching, home made hemp and cotton clothing provided much better protection from the elements, lasted longer and even added a creative and individual flare to their handmade garments. As a result, sashiko grew into a widely favored sewing technique and quickly became established throughout Japan for use as a utilitarian and dramatic embroidery.

Thrifty Japanese farm women also employed the sashiko stitch to boro repair common household items like futon covers, garments and pillows. Sashiko stitching is commonly found on boro futon covers, noragi clothing (jackets and vests), aprons, zokin dusting cloths and other Japanese folk textiles. Sashiko thread colors range from white to a deep blue-black. White sashiko thread was used most often with contrasting indigo-dyed cotton fabric.

Kogin sashiko, as seen in the photo here , is the extreme esthetic example of sashiko usually employing white thread stitching over solid indigo fabric for the design.

Sashiko clothing was worn by all members of the lower working classes of Japanese society and carried with it a inferior social status of the communities from which it originated. As a result, sashiko never became fashionable among the middle and upper classes but remained firmly culturally linked to poverty-stricken rural regions.

Country women had few choices of fabrics for use when it came to tailoring their working garments. They might use either (1) locally produced, labor intensive, woven bast fiber materials (asa, mainly hemp) or (2) remnants of discarded cotton fabric that seafaring traders carried northward from the warmer cotton producing areas of Western Japan.

Once large quantities of scrap cotton regularly began arriving in Northern Japan, it quickly became the fabric of choice among rural women because it was easier to work with, softer, warmer and generally more versatile than locally grown bast fiber materials. Soft cotton was favored for clothing because it was considered a luxurious fabric as compared to rough and prickly hemp.

Heavy winter-weight fabrics were constructed from cotton remnant fabrics that were attached to each other with sashiko stitching in patchwork styled layers the more layers, the warmer and stronger the fabric (as seen in the photo above.). Subsequently, rural wives used these newly made larger pieces of sashiko fabrics to fashion cold weather utilitarian working garments for their farmer and fisherman husbands as well as other family members.

Sashiko Textile Collection

Sumptuary Laws

Clothing was the quickest and easiest way to identify someone's status and station in life. The monk in his cassock, the servant in his livery, the peasant in his simple tunic were all instantly recognizable, as was the knight in armor or the lady in her fine gown. Whenever members of the lower strata of society blurred the lines of social distinction by wearing clothing ordinarily found only among the upper classes, people found it unsettling, and some saw it as downright offensive.

Throughout the medieval era, but especially in the later Middle Ages, laws were passed to regulate what could and could not be worn by members of different social classes. These laws, known as sumptuary laws, not only attempted to maintain the separation of the classes, they also addressed excessive expenditures on all sorts of items. The clergy and more pious secular leaders had concerns about the conspicuous consumption the nobility was prone to, and sumptuary laws were an attempt to reign in what some found to be distastefully ostentatious displays of wealth.

Although there are known cases of prosecution under sumptuary laws, they seldom worked. It was difficult to police everyone's purchases. Since the punishment for breaking the law was usually a fine, the very rich could still acquire whatever they pleased and pay the price with hardly a second thought. Still, the passage of sumptuary laws persisted through the Middle Ages.


At present, more than 60 percent of world clothing exports are manufactured in developing countries. Asia is the major world supplier today, producing more than 32 percent of the world's clothing exports.

This emergence as the major world supplier has occurred in three successive waves of production.

During the first wave of production, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the territory of Hong Kong and Taiwan achieved excellent results within their own borders, but then began to cut down production and invest heavily in other least-cost countries. As a result, between 1985 and 1990, the production of the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia increased greatly and led the world market in exports.

These countries have in turn begun to invest or redistribute part of their production to a third wave of countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and more recently Laos, Nepal and Viet Nam.

China however, has become the leading world producer and supplier of clothing - currently generating almost 13 percent of the world supply - without the benefit of outsourcing from other countries. Instead, the country has thrived under a government policy geared toward developing a clothing and textiles industry open to the outside world.

On the American continent, NAFTA has made Mexico a privileged supplier of clothing to Canada and the United States - the leading purchaser of clothing, importing 24 percent of the world's supply.

In addition, foreign investors who had anticipated the signing of the free trade agreement, have built up the clothing industry in Mexico which, with its 8,000 clothing enterprises, is in a strong position against its Latin American competitors.

In Central and Eastern Europe, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic are gradually becoming important suppliers to the European market.

Each country has tended to specialize in a specific range of products and their volume of exports to the OECD countries has been steadily growing since the middle of the 1980s ($2.4 million in 1987 $5.2 million in 1991).

Since 1991, the place left empty by the former Yugoslavia has prompted foreign investors and entrepreneurs to shift their activities to other countries. Croatia, the Russian Federation, Slovenia and Ukraine have thus become host countries for the relocated activities of European clothing industrialists.

In several instances, ultra-modern factories capable of holding their own against their most successful Western counterparts have been constructed to ensure that they can produce articles complying with European quality standards.

Morocco, Mauritius, Tunisia and more recently Madagascar, have become important clothing producers which export most of their production to industrialized countries. African countries as a whole, however, have been little affected by the globalization of the TCF industries.

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