In earlier times only royalty and nobility could afford to own garments of velvet. It requires more yarns to create and a number of extra steps in the process, which adds to the expense of velvet. As the nobility knew and we can still see today some of the richest colors can be produced when dying velvet. It has only been in this century that velvet has become affordable to the masses.
The industrial revolution brought with it the chance for the common person to experience luxury that was for centuries reserved for royalty and the rich.