Despite its popularity around the globe, you may be forgiven for knowing very little about moleskin, or for making false assumptions based on its name – for one, it’s not a skin at all. This durable, heavyweight fabric is crafted from woven carded cotton yarn and then lightly shorn to create a subtle, soft pile, similar in feel to the fur of the mole from which it takes its name.

Moleskin’s rich history can be dated back hundreds of years, though its first introduction to Australia came with early European settlers, looking to carve out a home in the wild bushland. With a lightweight feel and fiercely durable exterior, it provided a much-needed layer of protection against the untamed terrain and the host of new creatures who lived within it.

Before long, the fabric was adopted as a quasi-uniform for drovers, stockmen and shearers who’s lives and livelihoods were rooted in the rural way of life. In early R.M.Williams catalogues, moleskin was even heralded for its ‘snakebite proof’ strength and internal softness, comfortable against the skin on long rides through the outback.

“RM’s lifelong commitment to crafting products for the Australian outback is embodied by moleskin. It’s a heritage fabric that was so advanced for its time, still able to take on the elements with as much conviction now as it did back then,” comments Head of Product Development, Scott Faulder.

The 1940s introduction of ‘cleanskin’ jeans to the R.M.Williams product offering signalled the birth of a growing range of moleskin products, still evolving today to meet the needs of an ever-changing world. 80 years (and counting) down the line, R.M.Williams can proudly attest to the endurance of this unique fabric as the largest and longest-serving manufacturer of moleskin products in the country.

“We’re continually finding new ways to incorporate moleskin into our signature apparel collection, refreshing legacy silhouettes and reimagining different styles through its hardy lens. Our ambition to craft products for life is stronger now than ever before, and we firmly believe in the longevity of our moleskin products.”

For our latest collection, we partnered with the Pontoglio Mill in the Brescia region of Italy on a premium moleskin fabric that can be seen across foundational trousers and tailored jackets. With just 63 expert weavers on the production line, this small, artisanal business is a like-minded match for the skilled craftspeople sewing and finishing each product at our Adelaide workshop.

“We’re so pleased to be working with Pontoglio on our latest range of moleskin apparel, confident in the knowledge that we both share a laser-sharp focus on quality.”

Ruggedly elegant and steadfastly wearable, moleskin is a heritage fabric with its sights set firmly on the future.