Corduroy originates from a ‘fustian’ fabric, similar to velvet, likely named after the Egyptian city Fustat where the material was originally manufactured
The name ‘corduroy’, according to folklore, comes from the French translation of ‘corde du roi’, cord of the King
It was first used in Europe by English and French royals, as well as their servants - it's very versatile, perfect for all lifestyles, like the busy life of a servant and the more luxury life of a King!
In 18th century England, corduroy was manufactured as a modern and practical choice for outdoor use, thanks to its warmth, durability and quick drying properties – it’s perfect for children as we all know how messy they can get from playing outside!
The 18th century is when the fabric began to go by the name ‘corduroy’, and the Oxford English Dictionary cites 1774 as the earliest use of the term ‘corduroy’
By the late 1800s corduroy was woven with cotton and mass produced in factories in Europe and the United States. This made it more widely available and more people were able to enjoy it.
By Victorian times, corduroy was seen as the working man’s uniform, this is likely because the corduroy was very hard wearing, and would last a long time.
Corduroy was popular as a children’s fabric in the early 1900s. It was used to make school uniforms in France and America – they must have been very cosy!
Soldiers fighting in World War One had their trousers made out of corduroy, it would have been one of their best chances to fight off the cold in winter. The Women’s Land Army also wore corduroy trousers, these would have lasted a long time and were useful as it was very easy to wash off all the mud after working in the fields every day!