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Article: Thomas Mason Shirting

Thomas Mason Shirting
Behind the Cloth

Thomas Mason Shirting

When it comes to superior shirt fabrics, few are as well-known as Thomas Mason. For over 200 years, the brand has been synonymous with quality and style. However, many are unaware of the rich history behind the famous mill.

A brief history of Thomas Mason

Up until the end of the 18th century, the British textile industry primarily focused on wool. Cloth manufacturers relied heavily on old techniques such as spinning by hand with the fabric woven on handlooms.

In 1796, in Lancashire, England, Sir Thomas Mason founded one of the first factories to produce cotton shirt fabric. His timing was perfect. It was the height of the Industrial Revolution, and the British Empire was expanding rapidly.

Thomas Mason mill

The quality of his cotton fabric was so popular that it was soon the cloth of choice for top London tailors serving the aristocracy and upper classes. Soon, it was being sent to the far reaches of the Empire and beyond.

For the century that followed, Thomas Mason and the industry he had founded became a by-word for male sartorial elegance. Its hub was St James, London - but its reach was global.

When the First World War broke out, Thomas Mason made significant contributions to the war effort experimenting with new fabrics and treatments to improve aspects such as water and fire resistance along with mimetic cotton for pilots. This innovative spirit was characteristic of the mill and continues to this day.

After the war, the reputation for quality and style continued, and in 1936 the mill was appointed the exclusive supplier to Turnbull & Asser, who made shirts for the Royal Family.

Neapolitan shirt with pleated back yoke

The brand continued to develop, innovate and adapt to the times. In 1992, the Italian-based Albini Group bought the English brand. The Albini Group has played a major role in the Italian textile industry for 150 years and is the largest manufacturer of shirting fabrics in Europe.

Thomas Mason remains a by-word for quality

Today, the Thomas Mason brand continues to be incredibly sought-after and held in the highest esteem. Its range of materials is ideal for all scenarios, from casual wear to professional business settings.

Thomas Mason Candy stripe spread collar shirt with Prince of Wales tie

For business shirts, one of the most recognisable fabrics is poplin, and Thomas Mason’s is especially popular. Poplin, also known as a broadcloth, is a plain-weave fabric that is typically 100% cotton. Its tight weave results in a fine, light fabric that is smooth to the touch. It is a thin, breathable material that feels crisp, yet is comfortable and durable. It is these qualities that make it a favourite among professionals.

Thomas Mason spread collar shirt in Downing poplin

When it comes to poplin fabrics for business shirts, we are particularly fond of Thomas Mason’s Downing. Appropriately, Downing Street in London, the home of British leaders since 1735, lends its name to this powerful and professional fabric.

Downing’s prime characteristic is its vibrant stripes, and we love its balance of bold colour and business-like style. The shirts we make with the fabric are striking and superior, consisting of 100% cotton with 120/2 warp and 70/1 weft.

If you are looking for a classic yet high-quality professional shirt, Thomas Mason’s Downing is an easy choice. It contains a perfect blend of refinement and strength, reflecting the considerable pedigree and remarkable history behind the renowned name.

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