Abraham Moon and the creation of British cloth for the global market

By Regina Lee Blaszczyk



  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1931-5
  • Pages: 368
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £25.00
  • Published Date: October 2017
  • BIC Category: Art History, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century, BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economic History, DESIGN / Textile & Costume, BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Fashion & Textile Industry, DESIGN / Fashion, Textile Industries, History Of Fashion, History of specific companies / corporate history, Economics, finance, business & management / Economic history


Fashion studies is a burgeoning field that often highlights the contributions of genius designers and high-profile brands with little reference to what goes on behind the scenes in the supply chain. This book pulls back the curtain on the global fashion system of the past 200 years to examine the relationship between the textile mills of Yorkshire - the firms that provided the entire Western world with warm wool fabrics - and their customers. It is a microhistory of a single firm, Abraham Moon and Sons Ltd, that sheds light on important macro questions about British industry, government policies on international trade, the role of multi-generational family firms and the place of design and innovation in business strategy. It is the first book to connect Yorkshire tweeds to the fashion system.

Written in lively, accessible prose, this book will appeal to anyone who works in fashion or who wears fashion. There is nothing like it - and it will raise the bar for historical studies of global fashion. Here you'll find intriguing stories about a tweed theft from the Leeds Coloured Cloth Hall, debates on tariffs and global trade, the battle against synthetic fibres and the reinvention of British tweeds around heritage marketing. You won't be bored.


'This book is a gem. It breaks new ground in uniting business history with the history of fashion and retailing. It feels like a story from the inside; the varied personalities, backgrounds, skills, training and outlook of numerous characters, involved in the firm over the years, are injected into the narrative. The book is also well situated in the context of the history of the British wool textile industry as a whole and includes a comprehensive commentary and analysis of much broader trends.'
Professor Pat Hudson, Cardiff University

'...of particular interest to the well-read dress historian...those who study Yorkshire and/or British History, the history of trade, the history of wool textiles, and the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.'
Andrew Breer, The Journal of Dress History, Vol 2, Issue 2

'Fashionability traces the history of a single firm - Yorkshire tweed manufacturers Abraham Moon and Sons Ltd - from its origins as an early nineteenth-century cottage industry to its present-day success as an internationally recognised heritage brand, producing fabric for high-end clothes and furnishings. In charting the continual processes of adaptation that made it possible for Moon and Sons Ltd to survive as one of the last remaining woolen mills in Britain, Blaszczyk makes connections between the turbulent fortunes of this family firm and broader topics of mechanisation, social change and the growth of global commodity chains, bridging the gap between microhistory and macrohistory. Blaszczyk achieves this particularly effectively through her use of evocative historical vignettes, which situate the individual stories of employers and employees in explanations about wider social and economic contexts. This shifting sense of scale enables the book to comment on topics ranging from the role of wholesalers as fashion intermediaries to the growth of multiple retailers and the impact of fast fashion on British businesses while simultaneously contributing to wider ongoing debates in the field of fashion studies about the relationship between fashion and modernity, and the nature of creative practice.'
Bethan Bide, Business History (2018)



Commended for the Business Archives Council Wadsworth Prize.


1 The case of the grey tweed
2 Looking good
3 The wider world
4 Moving upmarket
5 From necessity to fashion
6 Adjustments
7 What's next?
8 Reinvention
9 Fashionability: The way forward


Regina Lee Blaszczyk is Leadership Chair in the History of Business and Society, and Professor of Business History at the University of Leeds

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