Rarely does a fabric have as much history as velvet. With origins in the Middle-East dating back to the 14th century, velvet was traditionally made entirely of silk. Initially associated with luxury and wealth, velvet is now available at affordable prices for everyday wear.
But what gives velvet such a luxurious hand? Since velvet is a warp pile cloth it naturally has more body. Pile refers to the loops that are formed during the weaving or knitting process. These rows of loops stand very close together and are cut once fabric construction is complete. This is what gives the fabric a uniform appearance and a soft texture.
Velvet made from synthetic fibers (like the one above) typically has a higher luster than velvet made from staple fibers such as cotton. Synthetic velvets maintain their texture and are difficult to crush. Even with stretch synthetic velvets, you can expect the direction of the nap will not be altered with wear. Perhaps this is why I saw so many stretch velvets while I was watching Skate America this weekend…