What is "Hickory Cloth" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 02-Dec-2023 ( ago)
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Hickory Cloth: Unraveling a Staple of American Textile History

The Legacy and Significance of Hickory Cloth in Textiles

The History and Origin of Hickory Cloth

Hickory cloth has its roots deeply embedded in American history, tracing back to the 1900s. This durable, striped denim material was initially developed for workwear, most notably for the uniforms of railroad workers, due to its strength and ability to withstand rough conditions. Its name originates from Hickory Stripes, the distinctive blue and white stripe pattern characteristic of the cloth.

Types of Hickory Cloth

  • Classic Hickory Cloth: Known for its sturdy nature and distinctive stripe pattern, this is the traditional form of hickory cloth.
  • Modern Hickory Cloth: Modern versions of hickory cloth may experiment with color and stripe width while maintaining the fabric's inherent durability.

Tips for Handling Hickory Cloth

  • Wash Hickory Cloth garments separately to avoid color bleeding onto other clothing items.
  • Turn garments inside out before washing to preserve the stripe pattern and prevent excessive fading.
  • Avoid high-heat drying, as this can cause shrinkage in hickory cloth garments.

Major International Manufacturers and Users

  • Levi Strauss & Co.: Renowned for their denim, Levi's has also produced hickory cloth garments as part of their heritage collection.
  • Carhartt: Known for its rugged workwear, Carhartt has utilized hickory cloth in their product range for its durability and distinctive style.
  • Dickies: A global workwear brand, Dickies has incorporated hickory cloth in some of their products for its longevity and classic appeal.
  • Wrangler: Wrangler, a key player in the denim market, has produced hickory cloth garments as a nod to the fabric's workwear origins.
  • Stan Ray: This American brand, known for its durable workwear, has featured hickory cloth in several of its clothing lines.

Applications of Hickory Cloth

  • Workwear: Hickory Cloth's original and most enduring application has been in the production of durable workwear, especially for jobs that require robust, long-lasting clothing.
  • Fashion: In recent years, hickory cloth has experienced a resurgence in the fashion world. Its unique stripe pattern and vintage appeal make it a popular choice for contemporary heritage-style garments.


The impact of Hickory Cloth on the textile landscape extends beyond its functional applications. As a testament to the early days of industrial workwear, the fabric symbolizes a critical period in American history. Furthermore, its continued use today demonstrates its timeless appeal, both for its durability and aesthetic qualities. While contemporary fashion frequently shifts towards the new, the resilience of hickory cloth shows that traditions can also shape the industry. As designers continue to explore this heritage fabric's potential, Hickory Cloth is likely to sustain its presence and influence in the textile world. The study of Hickory Cloth, therefore, illuminates not only the fabric itself but also the broader connections between textiles, history, and culture.

Hickory Cloth
Denim, in American usage since the late 18th century, denotes a rugged cotton twill textile, in which the weft passes under two (twi- "double") or more warp fibers, producing the familiar diagonal ribbing identifiable on the reverse of the fabric, which distinguishes denim from cotton duck. Denim was traditionally colored blue with indigo dye to make blue "jeans," though "jean" denoted a different, lighter cotton textile.
Hickory Cloth
A twill known for its excellent durability. It is warp striped and comes in a variety of colors. It usually is created with cotton and found in work clothes.

Some other terms

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