What is clothing? What is the purpose of clothing?


The history of clothing begins with the history of man on Earth itself. Because thousands of years ago, he exposed to similar environmental influences as today. To protect himself from rain, cold, snow, but also too intense sun, he invented simple items of clothing that he wore around the body like a second skin. The way people wear clothes has always altered. Soon it no longer only served as protection but also served various other purposes.

Why clothing always changes

In the beginning, garments probably only used to protect against strong environmental influences. The Neanderthals could only defend themselves against the enormous cold of the ice age with thick and hardly processed animal skins. A few tens of thousands of years later, during the Stone Age, plant fibers or tree bark also used and sometimes combined with surfaces to create more practical clothing. Already at that time, about 35,000 years ago, clothing no longer seemed of possible use alone.

Because of the slow but steady cultural and social development of people, their needs and forms of expression also increased. The different cuts, colors, and patterns of early clothing show that the individual pieces should no longer only protect the body, but should also decorate it. Sometimes a unique fur or the chain with the teeth of a rare animal served as an award; perhaps it signaled its Position in a group or family.

At the latest, with the invention of the sewing needle, which initially made from animal bones, clothing once again made significant progress. Refinements, such as belts, hats, and buttons, which no longer only useful, were created. The Egyptians believed to have started between 4,000 and 3,000 BC. to weave and spin.

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Origins of the term fashion

From around the 15th century, the expression of “fashion” for a particular form of clothing. Which always emphasized its topicality, developed in France. The latest fashion always determined by the silhouette, the color, and the materials. And it is still so today—these three characteristics alternate from year to year, with fashions repeating themselves.

As long as social classes differentiate (want to) and people can emulate beauty ideals or cannot resist the power of fashion, clothing will continue to develop. Besides, there are stricter ethical standards which, in times of increasing global warming and scarce resources, also lead to the invention of new materials for clothing.

The current state of clothing and fashion

Since conscious clothing is commonplace these days, it is no longer possible to speak of a particular fashion that spans all countries or even generations. You almost get the feeling that every age group has its trends and styles; every city has its peculiarities. A precise analysis of the current fashion is complicated since it is changing incredibly quickly. In the meantime an assessment and an attempt to explain why exactly which type of clothing can prevail would have long since become obsolete. Numerous factors influence fashion today.

However, in times of digitization and the opportunities for quick exchange via the Internet, the tendency towards certain scenes in which there is a separate clothing code can be observed.

The history of clothing in epochs

In the beginning, was the fur

Even the first human ancestors had to resort to a “second skin,” that is, the first provisional clothing that primarily protected them from the cruel temperatures during the ice age. Although the homo Erectus, who lived about 1.85 million years ago and up to about 40,000 years ago. It is considered “the first upright person,” did not yet know the sewing needle But he was able to make so-called awl holes to drill in skins to hold them together with leather bands or with tendons from animals.

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Of course, there is much less to be said about clothing from that time than clothing from other eras. Because finds of such old items are quite rare and a real stroke of luck. Ötzi, who lived in the Neolithic Age and found in 1991, provided at least one more detailed example, researchers were able to find out that Ötzi’s equipment made from a combination of at least five different animal species :

  • goat
  • sheep
  • Beef
  • brown bear
  • deer

While the jacket and “leggings” consisted of parts of the livestock goat, sheep, and cattle, Ötzi had used brown bear fur for his hat and deer leather for the quiver.

Clothing from the Paleolithic period, however, is less accurate. Outerwear believed to be mostly reindeer fur, as reindeer were the main prey of the ice age. Since beavers have one of the densest skins in the animal world, beaver fur could also have been used.

Clothing becomes fashion

With the invention of the printing press, the discovery of America and humanism. And the development of nation-states in Europe The modern era began and with it a new era of fashion. Which also underwent some changes within a few decades:

Since the Burgundian court had assumed a leading role in Europe in the 15th century. The bourgeoisie also followed the usual clothing there. Gentlemen continued to wear tight-fitting piebalds, as well as trousers and stockings that melted into tights. The slenderness that should carried out through the body-hugging clothing was considered an ideal of beauty. Long coat skirts and the laterally opened “Tappert” created. Two-colored items of clothing, the colour red (burgundy), reserved for the nobility as an expression of its status.

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The house went out in 1482, and with it, the role of role model for the Burgundian court in the area of ​​clothing. Since Italian cities such as Milan and above all, Venice became urgent trading centers. Italian clothing dominated the fashion world throughout Europe in the Renaissance. Fashion spoken of from the 16th century onwards, in which men also became more eager to experiment and wore. For example, more striking and decorated “pubic capsules” that arose from the bib of men’s trousers. Clothing in its full range served to protect the body, to express the status and individuality.

Practical fashion and fashion in the 20th century

With the beginning of the industrial revolution in the middle of the 18th century, a social shift began in England, and social conditions and living conditions changed profoundly. The fashion has now become much more practical so as not to hinder work. Only those who wanted to show loyalty to the French court continued to wear more traditional court clothing.

In the 20th century, fashion finally became what it is today: a cultural asset and mass phenomenon that is commonplace in media and advertising. Even the Second World War, which briefly interrupted the enthusiasm for fashion in the 20s and 30s. It led to contemporary improvisation and innovation due to the lack of materials. To this day, this history of change in the fashion of the 20th century has not stopped. New trends and clothing styles emerge every decade. In addition to body protection, the primary function of this clothing is to confess belonging to a specific scene or to convey a message.

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