The Historical Text Archive: Electronic History Resources, online since 1990 Bringing you digitized history, primary and secondary sources




Clothing

Since the beginning of time clothing has been not only an important part of survival but also a statement of status and wealth.

For thousands of years people have used jewelry, and fashion to indicate their class, wealth, rank and occupation.

The first clothing was made out of reeds, leaves and vines- basically whatever primitive man could get his hands on and fashion into something which would stay together and help protect against the elements. As ancient man was able to develop tools such as the spear and stone knife he was able to hunt effectively. The result of increased efficiency in hunting led to skinning the first animal, which in turn led to fashioning the first clothing.

Clothing was a necessary part of survival for ancient man and the first examples of hand sewing with bone needles and fashioned thread date back thousands of years. In many cases the clothing was also part of the shelter, for example you would use your clothing at night for a bed pad and then wear it in the day for warmth and protection.

As clothing evolved it turned into an industry of its own called the fashion industry. Everyone can relate to the great feeling you have when you put on a new suit or dress. A person’s sense of fashion can be one of the indicators of their status and wealth. There is also a large sense of belonging - for instance all soldiers wear the same uniform which helps identify them and their position within the organization.

The clothing centers of the world are located in Milan Italy, Paris France and New York City. Each year over three billion dollars are spent on clothing purchases in these three cities alone. It is a sure bet that, just like the return of the bell-bottom pants, the clothing and fashion industry are here to stay.

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