At the height of the Industrial Revolution, Sir Thomas Mason founded in Lancashire one of the first factories to manufacture cotton shirt fabric. These fabrics were used by London’s West End tailors serving the aristocracy and the upper class, before being exported throughout the British Empire and all over the world.
During the Victorian era the industry founded by Sir Thomas Mason became a reference point for male elegance. Its beating heart was situated in the London district of St. James’, home to the most exclusive clubs, cobblers, milliners, and umbrella, walking stick and shirt makers, particularly concentrated in Jermyn Street, the world’s shirt capital.
With the beginning of World War I, Thomas Mason was called upon to contribute to the war effort, by participating in manufacturing’s experiments on new fabrics and treatments to make waterproof, fireproof and mimetic cotton for pilots.
London was once again the international centre of male elegance, with its famous streets Savile Row and Jermyn Street, and the Duke of Windsor, who became an arbiter of the most refined and aristocratic style. Thomas Mason was appointed exclusive supplier to Turnbull & Asser, shirt makers to the Royal Family.
These were the triumphant years of the Beatles and youth fashion, dominated by a strong desire for change. Even traditional male elegance was infused by this thirst for novelty: clothing was colourful, imaginative and fun. Even shirts were eccentric and became the centre of attention with stripes and checks in bold new colours.
The Bergamo-based Albini family of entrepreneurs, who had been an active part of Italy’s textile tradition since 1876, seized on the importance of incorporating the English brand Thomas Mason into the Albini Group. They also took possession of its archives and comprising 700 volumes of textile designs of incomparable value.
Icons, a capsule collection that draws inspiration from the historical archives and pays homage to the heritage of Thomas Mason, was launched for the first time. Each season Icons proposes and celebrates an iconic fabric of the brand, reinterpreting it in a contemporary way.
Thomas Mason is a brand of the Italian Albini Group, the largest European manufacturer of shirting fabrics, which today has eight factories, 1,250 employees and an export business in more than 80 countries.