The herringbone pattern has its origins in the architecture of ancient Rome, when the Romans developed this architectural pattern for paving. However, it was through the production of textiles that the herringbone pattern developed on a European scale.

The weaving technique of the herringbone pattern

Constructed with a twill weave, the herringbone is easily recognisable by its regularly opposing oblique stripes. This zigzag makes it unique and differentiates it from twill, while retaining similar qualities (suppleness, softness, durability). The herringbone pattern can also be called “broken twill weave”.

From soldiers’ uniforms to Savile Row suit

Herringbone weave is more resilient than simple twill. The American Army chose it at the beginning of the Second World War to make the uniforms of its soldiers in a cotton fabric: the HBT (herringbone twill). France later used a similar fabric from the Indochina War until the Algerian War.

The herringbone pattern is recurrent in the production of thick tweeds, but also in other fabrics such as Solaro. Initially, weaving was reserved for fabrics intended for intensive use: work clothes or hunting jackets. However, the wealthier classes adopted the herringbone pattern for its aesthetic aspects: this type of weaving accentuates the contrast and depth of colours, as the fibres catch the light differently depending on the orientation of the twill weave. Weavers will then develop herringbone patterns in more precious materials: mohair or even cashmere.

Uomo Vogue. September 1976. 

MCCARTNEY, Linda. MCCARTNEY, Paul. London, United Kingdom. 1968. 

SAVILLE, Peter, des. OMD, band. English Electric album. 2013. 

CORMAN, Richard, phot. BASQUIAT, Jean-Michel, art. New York City, United States. 1984. 

GNOLI, Domenico, art. Coat. Acrylic and sand on canvas. 160 x 100 cm. 1968. 

BAYLEY, David, phot. KERTÉSZ, André. London, United Kingdom. 1980. 

SIMONPIETRO, Christian, phot. BOWIE, David. 1977. 

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