What is "Fabric" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 18-Apr-2024 ( ago)
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Fabric: From Looms to Labs, a Journey Through Time

The Fabric: Weaving the Threads of History, Culture, and Innovation

History and Origin

The history of fabric is as old as civilization itself. From the earliest civilizations who wove plant fibres to make cloth, to the technologically advanced methods used in today's textile industry, fabric has been central to human life. Fabrics have evolved from being a simple necessity to being a symbol of cultural identity, status, and technological progress.

Types of Fabrics

  • Cotton: Cotton fabric is durable, absorbent and breathable, making it ideal for clothing, bedding and towels.
  • Wool: Wool is warm, resilient and flame resistant, perfect for winter clothing and blankets.
  • Silk: Known for its luxurious feel, silk is often used for high-end clothing, bedding, and decoration.
  • Polyester: This synthetic fabric is durable, resistant to shrinking and wrinkling, and often used in clothing and homewares.
  • Rayon: This semi-synthetic fabric is soft, absorbent, and comfortable, making it suitable for a wide variety of garments.

Major International Manufacturers

  • Shenzhou International Group: This Chinese textile giant is one of the world's leading manufacturers of fabrics, with a particular focus on knitwear.
  • Arvind Limited: Based in India, Arvind Limited is a global leader in the production of denim and other woven fabrics.
  • Reliance Industries: This Indian conglomerate has a significant presence in the textile industry, manufacturing a range of polyester-based products.
  • Toray Industries: A Japanese multinational, Toray Industries produces textiles and other materials, including synthetic fabrics and carbon fibers.
  • Huntsman Corporation: This US-based company is a leading producer of textiles and materials, with a focus on innovation and sustainability.

Fabric Manufacturing Process

Whether natural or synthetic, the manufacturing of fabric involves several key steps: harvesting or synthesis of raw materials, preparation of the fiber, spinning into yarn, weaving or knitting into fabric, dyeing and finishing to improve appearance and texture, and, finally, fabric printing for adding patterns or designs. Advances in technology have brought about innovations in fabric manufacturing, such as smart fabrics and sustainable manufacturing practices.

Applications and Cultural Significance of Fabrics

  • Fashion: Fabrics play a crucial role in the fashion industry, with their variety and versatility allowing endless possibilities for creativity.
  • Symbolism: Fabrics often hold cultural significance, with certain colors, patterns, and materials carrying symbolic meanings in different cultures.

Handling Tips

  • Washing: Different fabrics require different care when washing. Always read the care label before washing a fabric item.
  • Storage: Store fabrics in a dry, cool place away from sunlight to prevent fading and damage.
  • Usage: When using fabrics, consider their characteristics. Some fabrics may be more suitable for certain uses than others.


The story of fabric is a narrative woven from the threads of history, culture, and innovation. From its origins in ancient civilizations to its place in modern life, fabric has proven itself to be an enduring and essential part of human existence. It has clothed us, provided comfort, symbolized our identities, and even driven technological progress.

Despite the evolution of materials and technologies, the essence of fabric its ability to connect us with our past, define our present, and shape our future remains the same. As we continue to innovate and create new types of fabrics, we carry with us the rich tapestry of its history. The future of fabric promises to be just as diverse and dynamic as its past, stitched together by the same enduring threads of human creativity and ingenuity.

Two-dimensional collection of yarns and fibers. In a general sense, also includes leather when used for furniture covers.
A manufactured assembly of fibres or yarns (or both) that has substantial surface area in relation to its thickness, and sufficient mechanical strength to give the assembly inherent cohesion.


Fabrics are most commonly woven or knitted, but the term also applies to assemblies produced by lace-making, tufting, felting, net-making and non-woven processes.
A Manufactured Assembly Of Fibres And/or Yarns That Has Substantial Surface Area In Relation To Its Thickness And Sufficient Mechanical Strength To Give The Assembly Inherent Cohesion. , Note: Fabrics Are Most Commonly Woven Or Knitted, But The Term Includes Assemblies Produced By Lace-making, Tufting, Felting, Net-making, And The So-called Nonwoven Processes.
An assembly of fibres and/or yarns, which is generally in a sheet-like form. Also known as cloth. A planar structure consisting of yarns or fibres. There are different types of fabric based on their manufacturing processes, mainly Woven, Knitted, Braided, Lace (or Net), Felt and Non-woven.
General term used for all materials made of fibers /yarnsby weaving, knitting, lace binding, braiding , felting,bonding, fusing orinterlocking.
A term used to denote all materials made of fibers

Some other terms

Some more terms:

A heavy, soft cotton material with a napped finish, usually only on one side. In cheaper qualities the nap comes off. Launders well, easy to manipulate and is warm to wear. There are many types on...
Ratine 473
Ratine is a type of textured fabric that is often used in the production of clothing and home textiles. The fabric is characterized by its unique, bumpy texture that is created by the use of slubbed...
Rayon 560
Rayon is a synthetic fiber that is made from regenerated cellulose. It is known for its softness, drape, and ability to mimic the texture of natural fibers such as cotton, silk, and wool. Rayon is...
Flax 114
Flax is taken from the stalk of the Linum usitaatissimum plant. It is a long, smooth fiber and is cylindrical in shape with a length varying from 6 to 40 inches but averaging between 15 and 25...
Lawn 43
Fibre: Cotton Weave: Plain Characteristics: Word derived from Laon, a city in France, where linen lawn was manufactured extensively. Light weight, sheer, soft, washable. It is crispier than voile but...

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