The Industrial Revolution and Textiles manufacturing

Fashion matters more than most people realize. Textiles manufacturing was one of the four drivers of the Industrial Revolution with iron founding, steam power and cheap labor.

The Industrial Revolution is a turning point in history with an economic take-off that changed most aspects of daily life and particularly income, standards of living and population which underwent an unprecedented sustained growth.

Starting in the mid-18 th century production of fabrics shifted from small-scale at-home to mechanized in mills. Cotton had become more fashionable and the demand for the fiber increased but to protect the British woolen industry, the government wrote a series of acts banning cotton goods imported from India. Cotton was so popular, it is now the world’s most important natural fiber, that a British cotton industry sprung up using the raw material imported mainly from New England.

To restore the balance between supply and demands artisans needed to become more productive and many found a series of inventions and innovations that dramatically increased the quantity and the quality of the output. The new much larger scale production created the need for commercial structures, cotton exchange and warehousing. Of course all those innovations and new technologies were also applied to other fibers such as wool and linen. Many improvements were made to cut cost of production and further improve quality.

Transport infrastructure had to follow suite to facilitate the import of raw materials and the export of finished cloth.

And that is one of the reasons fashion makes the world go round.


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