Among summer textiles, Madras is one of the lightest and most breathable. It has a bold and definite style, originally it was made on handlooms in India in the city of Chennay, once called Madras.
Madras is a lightweight cotton fabric so thin that it is almost transparent.
At the end of 19th century this fabric was dyed only with native vegetable colourings.
These melted and blended when washed in warm water with mild soap. This feature was used as a selling point rather than a defect. So some traders coined the phrase “guaranteed to bleed”. Sometimes washing Madras created original effects that gave to the fabric a unique and eccentric touch.
Nowadays Madras cloth is used to make summer jackets and is a lightweight cotton fabric with a slightly thicker plain weave, however it still has the same pattern with bright multicoloured stripes and squares.
Over the years, this fabric has become a classic for men’s summer wardrobe, in particular from the sixties. Because of its good breathability and lightness it became very popular among the Englishmen who lived in India. Later it was imported into the whole British Empire, became more popular and spread throughout Europe.
As well as most natural fabrics Madras grows more and more charming over the years. Originally, it was a plain fabric, but then it became more and more stylish. In fact, Madras fabric is beyond fashion more than any other.
Its unique pattern makes it particularly appropriate for an eccentric style, made of uncommon details. Perfect for informal jackets with a touch of vivacity, Madras should be worked with care to create a long-lasting garment.