What is "Sheen" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 06-Apr-2024 (3 months, 10 days ago)
Share on FacebookShare on Twitter

Sheen is a term commonly used in the textile industry to describe the quality of shine or luster present on a fabric's surface. It refers to the reflective property of a textile, which adds visual appeal and enhances its overall appearance. This comprehensive guide provides an in-depth understanding of the concept of sheen in textiles, including its history, types, tips for handling, and profiles of top international users and manufacturers.

History and Origin

The concept of sheen in textiles has been valued for centuries, with early civilizations recognizing the allure and beauty that a shiny fabric can bring to clothing and decorative items. Historical records indicate that ancient cultures such as the Egyptians and Chinese were known for their expertise in producing fabrics with various levels of sheen.

In ancient Egypt, for instance, silk fabrics were woven with gold and silver threads to create luxurious garments that shimmered and reflected light. The Chinese, famous for their silk production, mastered techniques such as satin weaves and silk brocades to achieve different levels of sheen in their textiles. These early practices laid the foundation for the continued exploration and development of sheen in textile production.

Types of Sheen

Sheen in textiles can vary in intensity and appearance, depending on the fibers used, the weaving techniques employed, and any additional finishes applied to the fabric. Some common types of sheen in textiles include:

  1. Satin Sheen: Satin fabrics, known for their smooth and glossy surface, exhibit a pronounced sheen. The satin weave structure allows light to reflect off the fabric's surface, resulting in a lustrous appearance.
  2. Silk Sheen: Silk, a natural fiber, is highly regarded for its inherent sheen. The triangular prism-like structure of silk fibers refracts light, creating a soft, subtle sheen that adds elegance to garments and home textiles.
  3. Metallic Sheen: Fabrics with metallic finishes, such as lam or metallic-coated textiles, possess a distinct metallic sheen. These fabrics incorporate metallic yarns or coatings that reflect light, resulting in a high-shine effect.
  4. Pearlescent Sheen: Pearlescent sheen refers to the iridescent or opalescent effect observed in certain fabrics. It mimics the luminous quality of pearls and is achieved through the use of specialized yarns or finishes that reflect light at different angles.
  5. Glossy Sheen: Fabrics with a glossy sheen have a reflective surface that appears shiny and smooth. Glossy finishes can be achieved through various processes, such as calendering or resin treatments, which enhance the fabric's sheen and give it a polished look.

Tips for Handling Sheen Fabrics

Handling sheen fabrics requires care to maintain their visual appeal and integrity. Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Always check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure proper cleaning and maintenance.
  2. Avoid exposing sheen fabrics to excessive heat or direct sunlight, as this can fade the fabric's color and diminish its sheen.
  3. When washing sheen fabrics, use a gentle cycle or hand wash to prevent damage. It is advisable to use mild detergents specifically formulated for delicate fabrics.
  4. Take extra caution while ironing sheen fabrics. Iron on the reverse side or use a pressing cloth to avoid direct contact between the iron and the fabric's surface.
  5. Store sheen fabrics in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture to prevent discoloration or damage.

Top International Users and Manufacturers

Sheen fabrics have gained popularity worldwide, and numerous international users and manufacturers incorporate them into their collections. Here are some notable brands that utilize sheen fabrics:

  1. Armani: Known for their luxurious and elegant designs, Armani incorporates sheen fabrics in their collections, adding a touch of sophistication to their garments.
  2. Chanel: Chanel, a renowned fashion house, utilizes sheen fabrics in their iconic designs, showcasing a combination of classic style and contemporary trends.
  3. Dior: Dior, celebrated for its haute couture and ready-to-wear lines, incorporates sheen fabrics in their creations, elevating their designs with a subtle luminosity.
  4. Versace: Versace, a leading luxury brand, often incorporates sheen fabrics in their collections, creating bold and glamorous pieces that reflect the brand's aesthetic.
  5. Gucci: Gucci, recognized for its high-end fashion and accessories, incorporates sheen fabrics to add a luxurious touch and enhance the visual appeal of their designs.


Sheen in textiles plays a crucial role in enhancing the aesthetic appeal and overall visual impact of fabrics. With a rich history rooted in ancient civilizations, the concept of sheen has evolved, allowing for the creation of various types and finishes that cater to diverse design preferences. Whether it is the satin sheen, silk sheen, metallic sheen, pearlescent sheen, or glossy sheen, these qualities contribute to the allure of textiles used in garments, home furnishings, and other textile applications. The top international users and manufacturers mentioned here exemplify the significance and widespread adoption of sheen fabrics in the fashion industry, solidifying its position as a key element in creating visually stunning and luxurious textiles.

For film-forming wood finishes, the measure of reflectivity of light. This is normally measured as a percent of light reflected at a 60 degree incident. So it ranges from 0 to 100. Different manufacturers have different ranges for names for sheen level, but as a general guideline: High Gloss: 85 or higher, Gloss : 75 or higher, Semi-gloss: 50-75, Satin: 15-50, Flat : less than 10, Dead Flat : less than 5

Some more terms:


5/2 is a two-ply, mercerized, long staple cotton with 3,000 yds/lb. Pima is the finest cotton available. Pima's ability to resist pilling makes the garments more durable and longer lasting. Use Pima...

Read about Pima


A dashboard or dash board (sometimes facia in British English) in an automobile is a panel located under the windscreen (windshield) and containing indicators and dials such as the tachometer,...

Read about Dashboard

Bamboo Textiles: Unveiling Their Versatile Uses

A natural textile made from the pulp of bamboo grass, it is considered sustainable, because the bamboo plant grows quickly and does not require the use of herbicides and pesticides to thrive....

Read about Bamboo Fabric


Made from cotton, linen, and synthetics in a plain, cheap, low-textured, loose weave that is heavily sized and stiff. Also, two fabrics are glued together. One is an open weave and the other much...

Read about Buckram

Chintzed fabric

It is a type of cloth in which different colours of weft replace one another in succeeding horizontal sections of a design. Thus a figure is formed in more colours than there are series of weft...

Read about Chintzed fabric

Fabric: From Looms to Labs, a Journey Through Time

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. NOTE:...

Read about Fabric

Chenille Fabric

A fabric woven with chenille yarns which have a pile effect similar to velvet, and when woven through various warps can create a pile-like velvet, or. if woven on a jacquard loom, can look similar to...

Read about Chenille Fabric


A brassiere or bra is an item of women's underwear consisting of two cups totally or partially covering the breasts for support and modesty. In addition to the connection of the cups it has usually...

Read about Brassiere

Add a definition

Add a definition for a textile term that you know about! Send us an email & tell us:
  • The term you want to define
  • Its definition in 500 words or less
  • Attach an image if necessary.
  • Optionally, tell us about yourself in 200 words or less!

Companies for Sheen:

If you manufacture, distribute or otherwise deal in Sheen, please fill your company details below so that we can list your company for FREE! Send us the following details:
  • Company name
  • Company address
  • Attach a logo, if necessary.
  • Optionally, tell us about yourself in 200 words or less!

Did you know this fact? Fashion designer Stella McCartney is the daughter of Beatles member Paul McCartney.
(s) 2024 TextileGlossary.com Some rights reserved. • Sitemap