Toile de Chine

We’ve been busy compiling research for our latest Denim Outlook Construction report, pulling together the latest inspirations for the S/S 14 season. Along our indigo journey, we came across a beautiful and unique webshop dedicated to the ancient workwear fabric, Toile de Chine.

Toile de Chine is an emerging topic we’ve been hearing about lately throughout the denim community. On our recent trip to Amsterdam, G-Star Collection Stylist Remco de Nijs highlighted the fabric as a key inspiration for their forthcoming S/S 13 collection. We also poured through hordes of archival French workwear (from where the term originally emerged) at vintage label De Rien and the renowned Vintage Showroom.

Toile de Chine is a particular fabric weave from the far East. It was imported into Europe and used to construct some of the first items of French workwear. Its tough sateen weave and durability made it an appropriate choice for the intense labor work. Furthermore, the foreign fabric came in a deeper and more vibrant shade of blue that was applied through the Asian plant Indigofera Tinctoria (now know as “True Indigo”). Until that time, Europe had obtained its prized indigo from Woad, which meant this new dye method had an revolutionary affect on the European textile industry.

Roos Dijkstra, owner and founder of Toile de Chine, began her obsession with the Indigo dyed fabric via her travels as a fashion designer buying vintage clothing. Throughout the years of yielding vintage for her day job, Roos “unintentionally accumulated a vast collection” of her own finds. As she says on her site so poetically, what you see here on these pages is a hobby that’s gotten out of hand. What had been a sideline to her career has slowly made her career the sideline.

With pages of rare items and valuable collectables for sale as well as an incredible archive of must-see designs (all lavishly shot), we truly recommend this site to fashion designers, stylists, and denim affectionados alike. From patch and repair dungarees to moleskin worker pants and indigo yarn-dye smocks, the webstore presents a beautiful assortment of rich shades and authentically faded indigo tones. As Roos mentions on the site, everything you find is something she’s considered keeping for herself. A share of her treasures and a window into what she loves.


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