Tonik or Tonic? When we talk about tonic (or tonik) we usually think of any two-tone look, shiny material, such as satin, but this couldn’t be more incorrect.
ToniK (with K) was a material produced by the French textile company Dormeuil. Dormeuil started as a small family business in 1842 and in 1957, the fourth generation of this luxury fine cloths suppliers introduced the famous “Tonik”, a trademark of the company. But what would make this fabric special or different?
Tonik was a 3-ply mohair/wool mixture. Its contrasting effect was not always caused by using two different colours but by the weave of the warp and the weft and the chemical shrinkage and singeing of the fabric. In fact, on the webpage of these manufacturers, this iconic material can still be found in plain black and medium navy.
It is important to mention that Tonik was never cheap, therefore, it was very difficult for first mods and then skinheads to afford it. Other cloth companies saw this as a market opportunity and soon started developing their own version of this popular fabric to satisfy potential customer needs: the so called ToniC (with C). Remember that ToniK was already a trademark of Dormeuil.
Tonic came in different mixtures, usually including man-made materials such as Trevira or Terylene, both better known as polyester. Some were good and still looked smart, some were not good and did not look smart. Anyway, it was a cheaper alternative to Tonik and definitely easier to iron if they contained polyester.
If you are not lucky enough to get vintage fabric, Dormeuil re-designed a version of the Tonik cloth called Tonik 2000, which has a range of dark colour as well as pastels but it is quite expensive. Otherwise, you might also want to try ebay, there are a few shops selling tonic fabrics (mohair/wool, mohair/polyester/wool) at affordable prices.
Now that we know the difference between Tonik and Tonic, it’s time for some music. And as always in parting… Proper fabrics are like gold dust.