Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – Clothing
Chapter 2 – History of Clothing and Textiles
Chapter 3 – Weaving and Knitting
Chapter 4 – Textile Manufacturing
Chapter 5 – Textile Printing
Chapter 6 – Fashion
Chapter 7 – Hip Hop Fashion
A feature of most humans societies is the wearing of clothing, a category encompassing a wide variety of materials that cover the body. The primary purpose of clothing is functional, as a protection from the elements. Clothes also enhance safety during hazardous activities such as hiking and cooking, by providing a barrier between the skin and the environment. Further, clothes provide a hygienic barrier, keeping toxins away from the body and limiting the transmission of germs.
Clothing performs a range of social and cultural functions, such as individual, occupational and sexual differentiation, and social status. A uniform, for example, may identify civil authority figures, such as police and military personnel, or it may identify team, group or political affiliations. In many societies, norms about clothing reflect standards of modesty, religion, gender, and social status. Clothing may also function as a form of adornment and an expression of personal taste or style.
Throughout history, many materials have been used for clothes. Materials have ranged from leather and furs, to weaved and woven materials, to elaborate and exotic natural and synthetic fabrics. Recent scientific research estimates that humans have been wearing clothing for as long as 650,000 years. Others claim that clothing probably did not originate until the Neolithic Age (the “New Stone Age”).
Articles carried rather than worn (such as purses), worn on a single part of the body and easily removed (scarves), worn purely for adornment (jewelry), or those that serve a function other than protection (eyeglasses), are normally considered accessories rather than clothing.
A baby wearing many items of winter clothing: headband, cap, fur-lined coat, shawl and sweater It can be said that there are four primary factors in clothing comfort, “identifiable as the ‘4 Fs of Comfort’ (1) fashion; (2) feel; (3) fit; and (4) function. One of the primary purposes of clothing is to keep the wearer comfortable. In hot climates, clothing provides protection from sunburn or wind damage, while in cold climates its thermal insulation properties are generally more important. Shelter usually reduces the functional need for clothing. For example, coats, hats, gloves, shoes, socks, and other superficial layers are normally removed when entering a warm home, particularly if one is residing or sleeping there. Similarly, clothing has seasonal and regional aspects, so that thinner materials and fewer layers of clothing are generally worn in warmer seasons and regions than in colder ones.
Clothing protects people against many things that might injure the uncovered human body. Clothes act as protection from the elements, including rain, snow and wind and other weather conditions, as well as from the sun. Clothes also reduce the level of risk during activity, such as work or sport. Clothing at times is worn as protection from specific environmental hazards, such as insects, noxious chemicals, weapons, and contact with abrasive substances. Conversely, clothing may protect the environment from the clothing wearer, as with doctors wearing medical scrubs.
Humans have shown extreme inventiveness in devising clothing solutions to environmental hazards. Some examples include: space suits, air conditioned clothing, armor, diving suits, swimsuits, bee-keeper gear, motorcycle leathers, high-visibility clothing, and other pieces of protective clothing. Meanwhile, the distinction between clothing and protective equipment is not always clear-cut, since clothes designed to be fashionable often have protective value and clothes designed for functional often consider fashion in their design.
Although dissertations on clothing and its functionality are found from the 1800s as colonising countries dealt with new environments, concerted scientific research into psycho-social, physiological and other functions of clothing (e.g. protective, cartage) occurred in the first half of the 20th century, with publications such as Flugel’s Psychology of Clothes in 1930, and Newburgh’s seminal Physiology of Heat Regulation and The Science of Clothing in 1949. By 1968, the field of environmental physiology had advanced and expanded significantly, but the science of clothing in relation to environmental physiology had changed little. While considerable research has since occurred and the knowledge-base has grown significantly, the main concepts remain unchanged, and indeed Newburgh’s book continues to be cited by contemporary authors, including those attempting to develop thermoregulatory models of clothing development.
Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Turkish President Abdullah Gül both wearing Western-style business suits.
In most cultures, gender differentiation of clothing is considered appropriate for men and women. The differences are in styles, colors and fabrics.
In Western societies, skirts, dresses and high-heeled shoes are usually seen as women’s clothing, while neckties are usually seen as men’s clothing. Trousers were once seen as exclusively male clothing, but are nowadays worn by both sexes. Male clothes are often more practical (that is, they can function well under a wide variety of situations), but a wider range of clothing styles are available for females. Males are typically allowed to bare their chests in a greater variety of public places. It is generally acceptable for a woman to wear traditionally male clothing, while the converse is unusual.
In some cultures, sumptuary laws regulate what men and women are required to wear. Islam requires women to wear more modest forms of attire, usually hijab. What qualifies as “modest” varies in different Muslim societies; however, women are usually required to cover more of their bodies than men are. Articles of clothing worn by Muslim women for purposes of modesty range from the headscarf to the burqa.
Men may sometimes choose to wear men’s skirts such as togas or kilts, especially on ceremonial occasions. Such garments were (in previous times) often worn as normal daily clothing by men. Compared to men’s clothing, women’s clothing tends to be attractive, often intended to be looked at by men. In modern industrialized nations, women are more likely to wear makeup, jewellery, and colorful clothing, while in very traditional cultures women are protected from men’s gazes by modest dress.