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Clothing A Social History

We learn about conflicts, politics, and people’s conditions while we research history. However, clothing has still played an important role in history. Let’s learn more about the fabric and clothes, as well as the social background.

Buildings, newspapers, churches, and the educational system, for example, all have a tradition. But have you ever considered that the apparel you carry has a fascinating backstory? Isn’t that correct? In this part, we’ll look at how clothing has changed over time, beginning with colonial rule. Let’s take a closer look at Clothing.

France’s Sumptuary Laws
The inhabitants of France exclusively practised “sumptuary codes” from about 1294 until the period of the French Revolution in 1789. These attempted to regulate the behaviour of social outcasts by forbidding them from wearing such garments. They were often prohibited from censuring specific foods and alcohol, as well as shooting game in certain regions.

Only royalty could wear costly fabrics like ermine and fur, as well as silk, lace, and brocade, according to the “sumptuary rules.” Most groups were advised to do something related to the nobility. These divisions were abolished after the French Revolution. Both men and women continued to dress in loose, convenient clothes from then on.

The usage of clothing as a symbol of beauty
The repeal of sumptuary laws did not eliminate any social divisions. The poor were unable to dress or feed in the same manner as the wealthy. However, there were no longer any limits regarding what could be worn.

Clothing styles highlighted the distinctions between men and women. Women were groomed to be docile and dutiful from infancy in Victorian England. An perfect woman was thought to be someone who could endure discomfort and misery. Men were praised for being extreme, strong, self-reliant, and offensive.

Clothing standards embodied these values. Girls were laced up and dressed in stays since childhood. The aim was to keep their bodies from growing out of control by confining them in tiny moulds. Girls had to wear corsets even though they were somewhat aged.

Women’s Responses to the Norms-These ideals were not universally embraced. Women in England started to fight for civil freedom in the 1830s. Many women continued to advocate for dress reform as the suffrage cause progressed. Tight dresses and corsets were portrayed in women’s magazines as causing deformities and lines in young girls. Many women were talking of real fatigue, feeling languid, and fainting often, according to doctors. Corsets were then needed to support the damaged spine.

Reforms’ Success
The reformers, on the other hand, were not instantly effective in reforming societal norms. They had to deal with mockery and animosity. Stuff began to change towards the end of the nineteenth century. The ideals regarding appearance and dress patterns undergone significant changes.

Times have changed.
The introduction of modern fabrics and innovations revolutionised the textile industry. Changes were often influenced by world wars and modern working practises for women.

Materials in the Future
After 1600, trade with India brought low-cost, attractive, and easy-to-care-for Indian chintzes within reach of many Europeans, allowing them to expand their wardrobes. Cotton textiles were first mass-produced in Britain. This is more available to a broader segment of the European population. Artificial fibres rendered garments much cheaper and simpler to wash and maintain by the early twentieth century.

War’s Effect on Clothing |Clothing An Overview of Social History
Women’s clothes evolved as a result of the two World Wars. Many European women have avoided wearing expensive jewellery and clothing. The number of women working has increased. They were dressed in a work suit. New schools for children in the twentieth century stressed the value of plain clothes. When women began to participate in athletics, they needed to wear clothing that did not restrict their activity.

Colonial India’s Transformations
In India, male and female clothes underwent major changes throughout the colonial era. A subset of the population dressed in western garb. Another group dressed in traditional garb. Both parties held opposing viewpoints.

In India, British Rule and Dress Codes

Clothing has a number of common interpretations in different societies. This sometimes results in miscommunication and disagreement. As a result of these tensions, dress styles in British India adapted. When European traders first arrived in India, they became known as the “hat wearers,” as opposed to the Indian “turban wearers.” In India, the turban served as both a heat shield and a symbol of respectability. As a result, Indians became adamant about keeping their turbans.

In Western culture, it was customary to take one’s hat in front of social superiors as a show of gratitude. Misunderstandings arose as a result of the cultural differences. Another point of contention was the wearing of sneakers. As Indians stood before Governor-General Amherst in 1824-1828, he demanded that they remove their shoes as a show of gratitude. This was not followed by the Indians.

Why did men and women dress differently?
Men had to go to work and deal with their native assistants and western superiors. As a result, these men will dress in western garb in order to impress their western superiors and gain favour. The women were unable to serve. As a result, they didn’t need any fresh attire.

The Designing of the National Dress
Indians started developing cultural icons to express the nation’s solidarity in the late nineteenth century. There have been a few notable campaigns that have bolstered Indian nationalism.

Clothing A Social Background | The Swadeshi Movement
The British Industrial Revolution mechanised spinning and weaving, resulting in a significant rise in demand for raw materials such as cotton and indigo. As a result, India’s role in the global economy has shifted. Significant numbers of citizens started boycotting British or mill-made fabric in the mid-twentieth century, opting instead for khadi, despite the fact that it was coarser, more costly, and more difficult to procure.

As a result of this measure, the Swadeshi movement arose. People were told to boycott all British exports and to establish their own manufacturing industries with items like matchboxes and tobacco. And the fact that many citizens were rallying to the cause of nationalism at the moment, competing with the inexpensive British imports that had entered the market was almost impossible. Mahatma Gandhi gained useful insights regarding utilising fabric as a symbolic shield against British law as a result of his Swadeshi experiment.

 Why couldn’t everyone wear Khadi?

Sol: Mahatma Gandhi’s wish was for the whole country to be clothed in khadi. Though he was effective in inspiring the Indian people through khadi, there were several differing viewpoints. Any of the explanations why Khadi isn’t suitable for all include:
Compared to khadi, British machine-made clothing was even less expensive. Western India’s rich Parsis were adamant about keeping their western garb. In India, the caste structure was rather strict, and everybody dressed in western style. As a result, many citizens followed it out of a sense of self-respect and equality.