The perennial favorite cool-weather fabric
In 1976, Orvis was the first company to bring the popular British moleskin pants to the USA. That year, a fellow by the name of “Dig” Diggory of Cambrian Fly Fishers in Wales had insisted I take a look at pants made of this extraordinarily soft cotton fabric that possesses a felt-like hand, blocks wind, and endures hard, outdoor use.
Dig, an eccentric if ever there was one, called his moleskin pants “ratcatchers,” named for the 19th-century farmers who favored the pants for their toughness and comfort. These farmers used Jack Russell Terriers to catch rats around their grain bins, and often wagered to see how many rats would be caught. As the trend toward more casual attire grew, “ratcatchers” caught the eye of estate owners and sporting gentry. Soon, the pants acquired the up-market name of “Moleskin.”
How Orvis Moleskin is made
The soft, dense nap unique to moleskin fabric is achieved through a special process. Machines with multiple knifelike blades and brushing properties work the 2 ply cotton fabric to give moleskin its renowned hand and legendary durability. The mill, located in the England Midlands, provides and maintains the machines necessary to make moleskin to its original, authentic specifications.
When we introduced moleskin in 1976, they became a huge success. Today, they continue to be one of our most popular cool-weather pants. Moleskin fabric may have been popularized (and cheapened) by others along the way. But we have honored Dig and the heritage of this wonderful fabric by insisting it remain made to the original exacting quality specifications, by the same British mill that has been in existence since 1901. Our moleskin remains as rugged as ever to withstand the challenge of the land, with the comfort and soft hand fit for gentry.