A Transport for London moquette seat covering in the 2011 Barman design, named after Christian Barman, who commissioned the first moquettes for the London Underground in 1936.

Moquette is a type of woven pile fabric in which cut or uncut threads form a short dense cut or loop pile. The pile's upright fibres form a flexible, durable, non-rigid surface[1] with a distinctive velvet-like feel. Traditional moquette weave fabrics are made today from a wool nylon face with an interwoven cotton backing, and are ideally suited to applications such as public transport.


Moquette originated in France, where it was woven by hand. Named after the French word for carpet, its standard width was a Flemish ell of 27 inches. There were two finishes: moquette velouté, which had a cut pile like English Wilton carpet, and moquette bouclé, which had an uncut pile like Brussels carpet.[2] It is still woven in Yorkshire using traditional techniques.[citation needed]


In clothing

Moquette is occasionally used in clothing. In 1932–33, the United States Army Air Corps contracted for cold-weather leather flight suits lined with moquette, apparently as an economy substitute for sheepskin.[citation needed]

In public transportation

Moquette seat coverings on the Victoria Line of the London Underground

Due to its durability, moquette is used as public transit seat coverings in many countries.[citation needed] Because it was relatively cheap to produce and readily available,[3] the fabric began to be used in London in the 1920s.[4] It is still used a century later, particularly to upholster the seats of London Underground's Tube trains. Such seat covers may be designed with intricate bright colored patterns to conceal wear. These may reflect local culture and history, such as "Barman" or "Landmark" designed in 2010 for London public transportation seat coverings that depict local landmarks.[5]

See also


  1. ^ W. A. Gibson-Martin (1932). Ship-furnishing and Decoration. p. 71.
  2. ^ O'Brien, Mildred Jackson (1946). "From European Looms". The Rug and Carpet Book. M. Barrows and Company, Inc. pp. 54–55.
  3. ^ During the decades of the many railway companies, there were some ten moquette manufacturers in the UK; by mid-1960s this was reduced to Courtaulds and Holdsworth Fabrics.[citation needed]
  4. ^ "A history of moquette". London Transport Museum. London Transport Museum. Retrieved 2023-02-13.
  5. ^ O'Sullivan, Feargus (2019-02-25). "The Good, Bad, and Ugly Public Transit Seat Covers of the World". Bloomberg. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 2023-02-13.