Shirts may seem a humble contrivance, but they are an indispensable part of humanity’s wardrobe. Without them, we would all be naked from the waist up.
Shirts have a long history; in fact, the world’s oldest preserved garment is a finely pleated shirt recovered from a first dynasty Egyptian tomb at Tarkan, circa 3000 B.C. This ancient relic was made from linen, but shirts today are made from many different natural and artificial fibres. Current natural fibres used include linen, cotton, ramie, wool, silk, and recently now bamboo or soya. Some of the synthetic fibres used are polyester, tencel, viscose, and poly-cotton(polyester mixed with cotton). The four main weaves used are plain weave(which includes the variations of broadcloth, poplin, and end-on-end), oxford, twill, and satin.
In recent years, many U.K. based clothing manufacturers have shifted their operations overseas, seeking more competitive labor markets. A few shirt manufacturers have remained in the U.K., however, and have not only survived but thrived. Perhaps the best business model for U.K. based shirt manufacturing is that exemplified by the Barnett Manufacturing Company, located in Middlesex. Their business is large enough to fulfill large orders, yet small enough to ensure the best possible care at each stage. On their website they claim remaining in the U.K. has allowed them to “offer a very personal bespoke service to retailers and private individuals” and to build up “a close relationship with many tailors and retailers who wish to go that little bit further in terms of offering an all around service.”
With the ingenuity shown by Barnett Manufacturing, and other similar entrepreneurs, we can see that the history of U.K. shirt making lies in the future, not in the past.