La moleskine, fleuron du workwear français

The Moleskine, Flagship of French Workwear

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A French counterpart to American denim, moleskin is a discreet material not widely known to the general public. Unlike its North American counterpart, it has never truly transcended the workwear wardrobe, yet it has been a steadfast companion to gentlemen for centuries.

For those of us who believe that a love for clothing and a love for materials are inseparable, it was crucial to awaken this sleeping beauty, a discreet champion of French textile heritage, as highlighted in today's article.

Adorned entirely in moleskin, we invite you to (re)discover three work jackets, each showcasing a fabric as humble as it is astonishing.

Historical Ally of French Labor

If moleskin is to French workers what denim is to their counterparts across the Atlantic, it is primarily due to its unique properties. Woven in an extremely dense and tight satin weave, this fabric proves to be both warm, flexible, insulating, and nearly indestructible.

Obtained through an irregular interlacing of warp and weft threads, satin weave is smooth and shiny, with no distinct face or reverse side. More uniform than canvas or serge, it is also less prone to wrinkling.

Since its invention in the 17th century, it has been treated in various ways: coated with varnish, shaved to achieve the finesse of velvet, or brushed to cultivate a plush texture. Moreover, it is this softness that gave it its name, with "mole skin" literally meaning "mole's skin" in English.

Used as a book cover and later as a lining, it emerged prominently in the textile scene by the late 18th century, accompanying the industrial revolution.

Thick and compact, moleskin once protected workers in foundries and steel mills, exposed to shards. Wind, rain, wear, flames, abrasion, molten metal, steam: it resisted everything thanks to its density and natural water repellency, making it the natural ally of all manual laborers.

A technical material ahead of its time, it captivated Adolphe Lafont, a visionary entrepreneur and owner of the first workwear brand in France. In the early 20th century, he chose to create garments tailored to each profession, with a dedicated color for each trade. For the first time, moleskin was adorned in white for painters, black for carpenters, and blue for mechanic-drivers (the famous "bleu de chauffe").

Credits: Maison lafont

Hast and the Reimagined Moleskin

A relatively heavy fabric, woven tightly in an impenetrable satin weave, moleskin is a material that has accompanied workers for decades with unwavering rigor. Iron fist in a velvet glove, it is both robust and silky, making it as reliable as it is pleasant to wear.

Regretting to see it confined to the workwear sphere, we felt it was important to integrate this splendor into our wardrobe. For its properties and the uniqueness of its feel, we believed moleskin deserved a prominent place on our racks (and in your lives), which is why we've adorned it on the three jackets below:

  • If you've known Hast for over a year, you'll probably recognize the first one. From our fall-winter 2023 collection, our brown moleskin work jacket features an elegant suede appearance with its 100% cotton satin weave. Woven and refined by a prestigious Italian House, it was shaved using traditional methods to achieve an authentic velvety effect that almost resembles suede. A durable 100% natural material that captures light beautifully.

  • Designed as part of the fall-winter 2023 collection, the other two are brand new. Taking more freedom from conventions, we worked with brushed moleskin fabric. On closer inspection, you'll see that our green and navy work jackets are softer than their camel counterparts. Crafted in a heavier fabric (316 g/m2 versus 250 g/m2), these two new models fit into a more elegant vein, with a deliciously retro charm.

While moleskin takes center stage on all three pieces, offering a subtle way to stand out, there is a slight difference in style between the first and the latter two. One is more typical, following the line of period work jackets, while the latter claims less heritage and more creativity.

Beyond this variation, allowing you to cultivate a workwear style or animate a casual-chic outfit, each jacket features all those details that aren't details: ultra-versatile straight cut, horn-effect buttons, flap patch pockets, interior pockets, a proportioned shawl collar, buttoned cuffs, and meticulous finishes.

Set Yourself Apart with Our Moleskin Work Jackets

You probably know: the work jacket is one of the keystones of the Hast wardrobe. After the shirt, we quickly set our sights on it, building over the years a solid expertise in the field. Simultaneously, it seems to have inspired many players in the industry, becoming a true staple of men's clothing.

In this context, our moleskin work jackets offer themselves as balanced alternatives between demand and originality. On one hand, their design and our craftsmanship promise versatility and durability; on the other, the uniqueness and distinction of this fabric guarantee you will stand out.

A last trick up its sleeve, and not the least, the moleskin work jacket masters the coveted art of temperance. Regardless of the outfit you decide to pair it with, it will accentuate its presence, elevate its appearance, or contain its ardor.

Effortless and luminous to wear, it will play with its clean lines and workwear heritage to complement your casual ensembles, tailored suits, formal creations, and bolder combinations.

Especially suitable for autumn and winter, this piece - which some may find bold - will allow you to create dazzling layerings. By playing with colors and textures, you will unleash its full potential and find it hard to do without.

A note on maintenance

As robust as it may be, moleskin remains delicate and not particularly fond of machine washes. To maximize its lifespan, we recommend taking it to the dry cleaner once a year for a thorough dry cleaning that will restore its luster.

Between each wear, hanging it on a wide-shouldered wooden hanger is highly recommended, as well as allowing it to air for a minimum of one hour.