Clothing

Clothing

Overview
Clothing refers to any covering for the human body that is worn. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

 characteristic and is a feature of nearly all human societies. The amount and type of clothing worn depends on functional considerations (such as a need for warmth or protection from the elements) and social considerations.

Physically, clothing serves many purposes; it can serve as protection from the elements
Weather
Weather is the state of the atmosphere, to the degree that it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Most weather phenomena occur in the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers, generally, to day-to-day temperature and precipitation activity, whereas climate...

, it can enhance safety during hazardous activities such as hiking
Hiking
Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails. It is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The health benefits of different types of hiking...

 and cooking
Cooking
Cooking is the process of preparing food by use of heat. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, reflecting unique environmental, economic, and cultural traditions. Cooks themselves also vary widely in skill and training...

.
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Encyclopedia
Clothing refers to any covering for the human body that is worn. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

 characteristic and is a feature of nearly all human societies. The amount and type of clothing worn depends on functional considerations (such as a need for warmth or protection from the elements) and social considerations.

Physically, clothing serves many purposes; it can serve as protection from the elements
Weather
Weather is the state of the atmosphere, to the degree that it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Most weather phenomena occur in the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers, generally, to day-to-day temperature and precipitation activity, whereas climate...

, it can enhance safety during hazardous activities such as hiking
Hiking
Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails. It is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The health benefits of different types of hiking...

 and cooking
Cooking
Cooking is the process of preparing food by use of heat. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, reflecting unique environmental, economic, and cultural traditions. Cooks themselves also vary widely in skill and training...

. It protects humans from rough surfaces by providing a barrier between the skin and the environment. Clothes can protect humans from insect bites or splinter
Splinter
Splinter may refer to:* A sharp fragment of material, usually wood, metal, or fibreglass-Music:* Splinter * Splinter * Splinter...

s. Further, clothes can regulate temparature and provide a hygienic barrier, keeping toxins away from the body and limiting the transmission of germs
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

. Clothing also provides protection from harmful UV radiation
Ultraviolet
Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays, in the range 10 nm to 400 nm, and energies from 3 eV to 124 eV...

.

Clothing performs a range of social and cultural
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 functions, such as individual, occupational and sexual differentiation, and social status. A uniform
Uniform
A uniform is a set of standard clothing worn by members of an organization while participating in that organization's activity. Modern uniforms are worn by armed forces and paramilitary organizations such as police, emergency services, security guards, in some workplaces and schools and by inmates...

, 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
Modesty
Standards of modesty are aspects of the culture of a country or people, at a given point in time, and is a measure against which an individual in society may be judged....

, religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

, and social status
Social status
In sociology or anthropology, social status is the honor or prestige attached to one's position in society . It may also refer to a rank or position that one holds in a group, for example son or daughter, playmate, pupil, etc....

. Clothing may also function as a form of adornment and an expression of personal taste or style.

Clothing can and has in history been made from a very wide variety of materials. Materials
Clothing material
Historically, clothing has been made from many materials. These materials range from grasses to furs to much more elaborate and exotic materials. Some cultures, such as the various people of the Arctic circle, until recently, made their clothing entirely of prepared and decorated furs and skins....

 have ranged from leather and furs, to woven materials, to elaborate and exotic natural and synthetic fabrics.

Not all body coverings are regarded as clothing. Articles carried rather than worn (such as purse
Purse
A purse is a small bag that may refer to:* Coin purse, in British English* Handbag, in American English* Money bag* WalletPurse may also refer to:...

s), 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
Fashion accessory
Fashion accessories are decorative items that supplement and complement clothes, such as jewelery, gloves, handbags, hats, belts, scarves, wigs, watches, sunglasses, pins, stockings, bow ties, hand fans, leg warmers, leggings, neckties, suspenders, and tights....

 rather than clothing, as are footwear
Footwear
Footwear consists of garments worn on the feet, for fashion, protection against the environment, and adornment. Being barefoot is commonly associated with poverty, but some cultures chose not to wear footwear at least in some situations....

 and hat
Hat
A hat is a head covering. It can be worn for protection against the elements, for ceremonial or religious reasons, for safety, or as a fashion accessory. In the past, hats were an indicator of social status...

s.

Functions


The primary function of clothing is to improve the comfort of the wearer. In hot climates, clothing provides protection from sunburn
Sunburn
A sunburn is a burn to living tissue, such as skin, which is produced by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, commonly from the sun's rays. Usual mild symptoms in humans and other animals include red or reddish skin that is hot to the touch, general fatigue, and mild dizziness. An excess of UV...

 or wind
Wind
Wind is the flow of gases on a large scale. On Earth, wind consists of the bulk movement of air. In outer space, solar wind is the movement of gases or charged particles from the sun through space, while planetary wind is the outgassing of light chemical elements from a planet's atmosphere into space...

 damage, while in cold climates its thermal insulation properties are generally more important. Shelter usually reduces the functional need for clothing. For example, coat
Coat (clothing)
A coat is a long garment worn by both men and women, for warmth or fashion. Coats typically have long sleeves and are open down the front, closing by means of buttons, zippers, hook-and-loop fasteners, toggles, a belt, or a combination of some of these...

s, hat
Hat
A hat is a head covering. It can be worn for protection against the elements, for ceremonial or religious reasons, for safety, or as a fashion accessory. In the past, hats were an indicator of social status...

s, glove
Glove
A glove is a garment covering the hand. Gloves have separate sheaths or openings for each finger and the thumb; if there is an opening but no covering sheath for each finger they are called "fingerless gloves". Fingerless gloves with one large opening rather than individual openings for each...

s, shoe
Shoe
A shoe is an item of footwear intended to protect and comfort the human foot while doing various activities. Shoes are also used as an item of decoration. The design of shoes has varied enormously through time and from culture to culture, with appearance originally being tied to function...

s, sock
Sock
A sock is an item of clothing worn on the feet. The foot is among the heaviest producers of sweat in the body, as it is able to produce over of perspiration per day. Socks help to absorb this sweat and draw it to areas where air can evaporate the perspiration. In cold environments, socks decrease...

s, 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. However, if clothing is too sheer, thin, small, tight, etc., the protection effect is minimized. Clothes also reduce the level of risk during activity, such as work or sport. Clothing at times is worn as protection from specific environment
Environment (biophysical)
The biophysical environment is the combined modeling of the physical environment and the biological life forms within the environment, and includes all variables, parameters as well as conditions and modes inside the Earth's biosphere. The biophysical environment can be divided into two categories:...

al hazards, such as insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s, noxious chemicals, weapon
Weapon
A weapon, arm, or armament is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm to living beings or artificial structures or systems...

s, and contact with abrasive substances. Conversely, clothing may protect the environment from the clothing wearer, as with doctors wearing medical scrubs
Scrubs (clothing)
Scrubs are the shirts and trousers or gowns worn by nurses , surgeons, and other operating room personnel when "scrubbing in" for surgery. In the United Kingdom, they are sometimes known as Theatre Blues. They are designed to be simple with minimal places for dirt to hide, easy to launder, and...

.

Humans have shown extreme inventiveness in devising clothing solutions to environmental hazards. Some examples include: space suits, air conditioned clothing
Air conditioned clothing
Air conditioned clothing is intended primarily to be used by workers in areas where air conditioning systems cannot be easily installed, such as tunnels and underground construction sites....

, armor, diving suits, swimsuits, bee-keeper gear, motorcycle leathers, high-visibility clothing
High-visibility clothing
High-visibility clothing, a type of personal protective equipment , is any clothing worn that has highly reflective properties or a colour that is easily discernible from any background. Yellow waistcoats worn by emergency services are a common example....

, 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 function often consider fashion in their design.

The wearing of clothes also has social implications. They are worn to cover those parts of the body which social norms require to be covered, and act as a form of adornment, as well as other social purposes.

Scholarship


Although dissertations on clothing and its functionality are found from the 19th century 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.

Gender differentiation


In most cultures, gender differentiation
Gender differences
A sex difference is a distinction of biological and/or physiological characteristics associated with either males or females of a species. These can be of several types, including direct and indirect. Direct being the direct result of differences prescribed by the Y-chromosome, and indirect being...

 of clothing is considered appropriate for men and women. The differences are in styles, colors and fabrics.

In Western societies, skirt
Skirt
A skirt is a tube- or cone-shaped garment that hangs from the waist and covers all or part of the legs.In the western world, skirts are usually considered women's clothing. However, there are exceptions...

s, dresses and high-heeled shoe
High-heeled shoe
High-heeled footwear is footwear that raises the heel of the wearer's foot significantly higher than the toes. When both the heel and the toes are raised equal amounts, as in a platform shoe, it is technically not considered to be a high heel; however, there are also high-heeled platform shoes...

s are usually seen as women's clothing, while necktie
Necktie
A necktie is a long piece of cloth worn for decorative purposes around the neck or shoulders, resting under the shirt collar and knotted at the throat. Variants include the ascot tie, bow tie, bolo tie, and the clip-on tie. The modern necktie, ascot, and bow tie are descended from the cravat. Neck...

s are usually seen as men's clothing. Trousers
Trousers
Trousers are an item of clothing worn on the lower part of the body from the waist to the ankles, covering both legs separately...

 were once seen as exclusively male clothing, but are nowadays worn by both genders. 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 law
Sumptuary law
Sumptuary laws are laws that attempt to regulate habits of consumption. Black's Law Dictionary defines them as "Laws made for the purpose of restraining luxury or extravagance, particularly against inordinate expenditures in the matter of apparel, food, furniture, etc." Traditionally, they were...

s regulate what men and women are required to wear. Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 requires women to wear more modest forms of attire, usually hijab
Hijab
The word "hijab" or "'" refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general....

. 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
Headscarf
Headscarves or head scarves are scarves covering most or all of the top of a woman's hair and her head. Headscarves may be worn for a variety of purposes, such as for warmth, for sanitation, for fashion or social distinction; with religious significance, to hide baldness, out of modesty, or other...

 to the burqa
Burqa
A burqa is an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic religion to cover their bodies in public places. The burqa is usually understood to be the woman's loose body-covering , plus the head-covering , plus the face-veil .-Etymology:A speculative and unattested etymology...

.

Men may sometimes choose to wear men's skirts
Men's skirts
Outside of Western cultures, men's clothing commonly includes skirts and skirt-like garments, however in North America and much of Europe, the wearing of a skirt is today usually seen as typical for females and not males...

 such as togas or kilt
Kilt
The kilt is a knee-length garment with pleats at the rear, originating in the traditional dress of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands of the 16th century. Since the 19th century it has become associated with the wider culture of Scotland in general, or with Celtic heritage even more broadly...

s, 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 more attractive, often intended to be looked at by men.

Social status



In some societies, clothing may be used to indicate rank or status
Social status
In sociology or anthropology, social status is the honor or prestige attached to one's position in society . It may also refer to a rank or position that one holds in a group, for example son or daughter, playmate, pupil, etc....

. In ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, for example, only senators were permitted to wear garments dyed with Tyrian purple
Tyrian purple
Tyrian purple , also known as royal purple, imperial purple or imperial dye, is a purple-red natural dye, which is extracted from sea snails, and which was possibly first produced by the ancient Phoenicians...

. In traditional Hawaiian
Native Hawaiians
Native Hawaiians refers to the indigenous Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands or their descendants. Native Hawaiians trace their ancestry back to the original Polynesian settlers of Hawaii.According to the U.S...

 society only high-ranking chiefs could wear feather cloak
Feather cloak
Featherwork cloaks have been used by several cultures.-Hawaii:Elaborate feather cloaks called [[ʻahuʻula]] were created by early Hawaiians for the alii .Feathers were also used in women's skirts called pāū....

s and palaoa or carved whale
Whale
Whale is the common name for various marine mammals of the order Cetacea. The term whale sometimes refers to all cetaceans, but more often it excludes dolphins and porpoises, which belong to suborder Odontoceti . This suborder also includes the sperm whale, killer whale, pilot whale, and beluga...

 teeth. Under the Travancore
Travancore
Kingdom of Travancore was a former Hindu feudal kingdom and Indian Princely State with its capital at Padmanabhapuram or Trivandrum ruled by the Travancore Royal Family. The Kingdom of Travancore comprised most of modern day southern Kerala, Kanyakumari district, and the southernmost parts of...

 Kingdom of Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

, (India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

), lower caste
Caste
Caste is an elaborate and complex social system that combines elements of endogamy, occupation, culture, social class, tribal affiliation and political power. It should not be confused with race or social class, e.g. members of different castes in one society may belong to the same race, as in India...

 women had to pay a tax for the right to cover their upper body. In China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, before the establishment of the republic
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

, only the emperor could wear yellow
Yellow
Yellow is the color evoked by light that stimulates both the L and M cone cells of the retina about equally, with no significant stimulation of the S cone cells. Light with a wavelength of 570–590 nm is yellow, as is light with a suitable mixture of red and green...

. History provides many examples of elaborate sumptuary law
Sumptuary law
Sumptuary laws are laws that attempt to regulate habits of consumption. Black's Law Dictionary defines them as "Laws made for the purpose of restraining luxury or extravagance, particularly against inordinate expenditures in the matter of apparel, food, furniture, etc." Traditionally, they were...

s that regulated what people could wear. In societies without such laws, which includes most modern societies, social status is instead signaled by the purchase of rare or luxury items that are limited by cost to those with wealth or status. In addition, peer pressure
Peer pressure
Peer pressure refers to the influence exerted by a peer group in encouraging a person to change his or her attitudes, values, or behavior in order to conform to group norms. Social groups affected include membership groups, when the individual is "formally" a member , or a social clique...

 influences clothing choice.

Religion



Religious clothing might be considered a special case of occupational clothing. Sometimes it is worn only during the performance of religious ceremonies. However, it may also be worn everyday as a marker for special religious status.

For example, Jains and Muslim men wear unstitched cloth pieces when performing religious ceremonies. The unstitched cloth signifies unified and complete devotion to the task at hand, with no digression. Sikhs wear a turban as it is a part of their religion.

The cleanliness of religious dresses in Eastern Religions like Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam and Jainism is of paramount importance, since it indicates purity.

Clothing figures prominently in the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 where it appears in numerous contexts, the more prominent ones being: the story of Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

, Joseph's cloak
Coat of many colors
In the Hebrew Bible, the coat of many colours is the name for the garment that Joseph owned. It may be a mistranslation, and the actual nature of the garment is subject to dispute...

, Judah and Tamar, Mordecai
Mordecai
Mordecai or Mordechai is one of the main personalities in the Book of Esther in the Hebrew Bible. He was the son of Jair, of the tribe of Benjamin.-Biblical account:...

 and Esther
Esther
Esther , born Hadassah, is the eponymous heroine of the Biblical Book of Esther.According to the Bible, she was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus...

. Furthermore the priests officiating in the Temple had very specific garments, the lack of which made one liable to death.

In Islamic traditions, women are required to wear long, loose, non-transparent outer dress when stepping out of the home. Women of higher status throughout history have worn more modest clothes. This dress code was democratic (for all women regardless of status) & protection from the scorching sun. The Quran says this about husbands & wives: "...They are clothing/covering (Libaas) for you; and you for them." (Chapter 2:187)

Jewish ritual also requires rending of one's upper garment as a sign of mourning. This practice is found in the Bible when Jacob hears of the apparent death of his son Joseph.

Origin and history


First recorded use


According to archaeologists and anthropologists, the earliest clothing likely consisted of fur
Fur
Fur is a synonym for hair, used more in reference to non-human animals, usually mammals; particularly those with extensives body hair coverage. The term is sometimes used to refer to the body hair of an animal as a complete coat, also known as the "pelage". Fur is also used to refer to animal...

, leather
Leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

, leaves, or grass that were draped, wrapped, or tied around the body. Knowledge of such clothing remains inferential, since clothing materials deteriorate quickly compared to stone, bone, shell and metal artifacts. Archeologists have identified very early sewing needle
Sewing needle
A sewing needle is a long slender tool with a pointed tip. The first needles were made of bone or wood; modern ones are manufactured from high carbon steel wire, nickel- or 18K gold plated for corrosion resistance. The highest quality embroidery needles are plated with two-thirds platinum and...

s of bone and ivory from about 30,000 BC, found near Kostenki
Kostenki
Kostenki is a village located on western middle bank of Don River in Voronezh Oblast, Russia. It is known for high concentration of cultural remains of modern humans from beginning of Upper Paleolithic era....

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 in 1988. Dyed flax
Flax
Flax is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India and was probably first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent...

 fibers that could have been used in clothing have been found in a prehistoric cave in the Republic of Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 that date back to 36,000 BP
Before Present
Before Present years is a time scale used in archaeology, geology, and other scientific disciplines to specify when events in the past occurred. Because the "present" time changes, standard practice is to use AD 1950 as the origin of the age scale, reflecting the fact that radiocarbon...

.

Scientists are still debating when people started wearing clothes. Ralf Kittler, Manfred Kayser and Mark Stoneking, anthropologists
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology is a research institute based in Leipzig, Germany, founded in 1997. It is part of the Max Planck Society network....

, have conducted a genetic analysis of human body lice that suggests clothing originated quite recently, around 107,000 years ago. Body lice is an indicator of clothes-wearing, since most humans have sparse body hair, and lice thus require human clothing to survive. Their research suggests the invention of clothing may have coincided with the northward migration of modern Homo sapiens away from the warm climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

 of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, thought to have begun between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago. However, a second group of researchers using similar genetic methods estimate that clothing originated around 540,000 years ago (Reed et al. 2004. PLoS Biology 2(11): e340). For now, the date of the origin of clothing remains unresolved.

Making clothing



Some human cultures, such as the various people of the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

, traditionally make their clothing entirely of prepared and decorated furs and skins. Other cultures supplemented or replaced leather and skins with cloth: woven, knitted, or twined from various animal and vegetable fibers.

Although modern consumers may take the production of clothing for granted, making fabric by hand is a tedious and labor intensive process. The textile
Textile
A textile or cloth is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn. Yarn is produced by spinning raw fibres of wool, flax, cotton, or other material to produce long strands...

 industry was the first to be mechanized — with the powered loom
Power loom
A power loom is a mechanized loom powered by a line shaft. The first power loom was designed in 1784 by Edmund Cartwright and first built in 1785. It was refined over the next 47 years until a design by Kenworthy and Bullough, made the operation completely automatic. This was known as the...

 — during the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

.

Different cultures have evolved various ways of creating clothes out of cloth. One approach simply involves draping the cloth. Many people wore, and still wear, garments consisting of rectangles of cloth wrapped to fit — for example, the dhoti
Dhoti
The dhoti or pancha is the traditional men's garment in the in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. A similar garment is worn in some rural areas of Punjab province in Pakistan, but the use is fast declining...

 for men and the sari
Sari
A sari or sareeThe name of the garment in various regional languages include: , , , , , , , , , , , , , is a strip of unstitched cloth, worn by females, ranging from four to nine metres in length that is draped over the body in various styles. It is popular in India, Bangladesh, Nepal,...

 for women in the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, the Scottish kilt
Kilt
The kilt is a knee-length garment with pleats at the rear, originating in the traditional dress of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands of the 16th century. Since the 19th century it has become associated with the wider culture of Scotland in general, or with Celtic heritage even more broadly...

 or the Javanese sarong
Sarong
A sarong or sarung is a large tube or length of fabric, often wrapped around the waist and worn as a kilt by men and as a skirt by women throughout much of South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa, and on many Pacific islands. The fabric most often has woven plaid or...

. The clothes may simply be tied up, as is the case of the first two garments; or pins or belts hold the garments in place, as in the case of the latter two. The precious cloth remains uncut, and people of various sizes or the same person at different sizes can wear the garment.

Another approach involves cutting and sewing the cloth, but using every bit of the cloth rectangle in constructing the clothing. The tailor may cut triangular pieces from one corner of the cloth, and then add them elsewhere as gusset
Gusset
In sewing, a gusset is a triangular or rhomboid piece of fabric inserted into a seam to add breadth or reduce stress from tight-fitting clothing...

s. Traditional European patterns for men's shirt
Shirt
A shirt is a cloth garment for the upper body. Originally an undergarment worn exclusively by men, it has become, in American English, a catch-all term for almost any garment other than outerwear such as sweaters, coats, jackets, or undergarments such as bras, vests or base layers...

s and women's chemise
Chemise
The term chemise or shift can refer to the classic smock, or else can refer to certain modern types of women's undergarments and dresses...

s take this approach.

Modern European fashion
Fashion
Fashion, a general term for a currently popular style or practice, especially in clothing, foot wear, or accessories. Fashion references to anything that is the current trend in look and dress up of a person...

 treats cloth much less conservatively, typically cutting in such a way as to leave various odd-shaped cloth remnants. Industrial sewing operations sell these as waste; home sewers may turn them into quilt
Quilt
A quilt is a type of bed cover, traditionally composed of three layers of fiber: a woven cloth top, a layer of batting or wadding and a woven back, combined using the technique of quilting. “Quilting” refers to the technique of joining at least two fabric layers by stitches or ties...

s.

In the thousands of years that humans have spent constructing clothing, they have created an astonishing array of styles, many of which have been reconstructed from surviving garments, photos, painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

s, mosaic
Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

s, etc., as well as from written descriptions. Costume history serves as a source of inspiration to current fashion designers, as well as a topic of professional
Professional
A professional is a person who is paid to undertake a specialised set of tasks and to complete them for a fee. The traditional professions were doctors, lawyers, clergymen, and commissioned military officers. Today, the term is applied to estate agents, surveyors , environmental scientists,...

 interest to costumers constructing for plays
Play (theatre)
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

, film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

s, television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

, and historical reenactment
Historical reenactment
Historical reenactment is an educational activity in which participants attempt torecreate some aspects of a historical event or period. This may be as narrow as a specific moment from a battle, such as the reenactment of Pickett's Charge at the Great Reunion of 1913, or as broad as an entire...

.

Contemporary clothing


Spread of western styles


By the early years of the 21st century, western clothing styles had, to some extent, become international styles. This process began hundreds of years earlier, during the periods of European colonialism
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

. The process of cultural dissemination has perpetuated over the centuries as Western media corporations have penetrated markets throughout the world, spreading Western culture and styles. Fast fashion
Fast fashion
Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to acknowledge that designs move from catwalk to store in the fastest time to capture current trends in the market. This has developed from a product-driven concept based on a manufacturing model referred to as "quick response" developed...

 clothing has also become a global phenomenon. These garments are less expensive, mass-produced Western clothing. Donated used clothing from Western countries are also delivered to people in poor countries by charity organizations.

Ethnic and cultural heritage


People may wear ethnic or national dress
National costume
Folk costume expresses an identity through costume which usually to a geographic area or a period of time in history, but can also indicate social, marital and/or religious status...

 on special occasions or in certain roles or occupations. For example, most Korean men and women have adopted Western-style dress for daily wear, but still wear traditional hanbok
Hanbok
Hanbok or Chosŏn-ot is the traditional Korean dress. It is often characterized by vibrant colors and simple lines without pockets. Although the term literally means "Korean clothing", hanbok today often refers specifically to hanbok of Joseon Dynasty and is worn as semi-formal or formal wear...

s on special occasions, like weddings and cultural holidays. Items of Western dress may also appear worn or accessorized in distinctive, non-Western ways. A Tongan man may combine a used T-shirt
T-shirt
A T-shirt is a style of shirt. A T-shirt is buttonless and collarless, with short sleeves and frequently a round neck line....

 with a Tongan wrapped skirt, or tupenu
Tupenu
Tupenu is the Tongan term for a wrapped garment also called a sarong, lungi, or lava-lava, worn through much of South Asia and Oceania. It is analogous to the kilt worn in Scotland....

.

Sport and activity


Most sports and physical activities are practiced wearing special clothing, for practical, comfort or safety reasons. Common sportswear
Sportswear
Sportswear or activewear is clothing, including footwear, worn for sport or physical exercise. Sport-specific clothing is worn for most sports and physical exercise, for practical, comfort or safety reasons....

 garments include short pants
Shorts
Shorts are a bifurcated garment worn by both men and women over their pelvic area, circling the waist, and covering the upper part of the legs, sometimes extending down to or even below the knee, but not covering the entire length of the leg. They are called "shorts" because they are a shortened...

, T-shirt
T-shirt
A T-shirt is a style of shirt. A T-shirt is buttonless and collarless, with short sleeves and frequently a round neck line....

s, tennis shirt
Tennis shirt
A polo shirt, also known as a golf shirt and tennis shirt, is a T-shaped shirt with a collar, typically a two- or three-button placket, and an optional pocket...

s, tracksuit
Tracksuit
A tracksuit is an article of clothing consisting of two parts: trousers and a jacket usually with front zipper. It was originally intended for use in sports, mainly as what athletes wore over competition clothing and would take off before competition. In modern times, it has become commonly worn...

s, and trainers
Athletic shoe
Athletic shoe is a generic name for the footwear primarily designed for sports or other forms of physical exercise but in recent years has come to be used for casual everyday activities....

. Specialized garments include wet suits (for swimming, diving
Diving
Diving is the sport of jumping or falling into water from a platform or springboard, sometimes while performing acrobatics. Diving is an internationally-recognized sport that is part of the Olympic Games. In addition, unstructured and non-competitive diving is a recreational pastime.Diving is one...

 or surfing
Surfing
Surfing' is a surface water sport in which the surfer rides a surfboard on the crest and face of a wave which is carrying the surfer towards the shore...

), salopettes
Salopettes
Salopettes are trousers which goes up above the waistline and have attached suspenders. They can be used as workwear , as part of a snowsuit or other protective gear, or in fashion....

 (for skiing
Skiing
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

) and leotards (for gymnastics
Gymnastics
Gymnastics is a sport involving performance of exercises requiring physical strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, and balance. Internationally, all of the gymnastic sports are governed by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique with each country having its own national governing body...

). Also, spandex
Spandex
Spandex or elastane is a synthetic fibre known for its exceptional elasticity. It is strong, but less durable than natural Latex, its major non-synthetic competitor. It is a polyurethane-polyurea copolymer that was co-invented in 1959 by chemists C. L. Sandquist and Joseph Shivers at DuPont's...

 materials are often used as base layers to soak up sweat. Spandex is also preferable for active sports that require form fitting garments, such as wrestling, track & field, dance, gymnastics and swimming.

Fashion



There exists a diverse range of styles in fashion, varying by geography, exposure to modern media, economic conditions, and ranging from expensive haute couture
Haute couture
Haute couture refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses,...

 to traditional garb, to thrift store grunge
Grunge
Grunge is a subgenre of alternative rock that emerged during the mid-1980s in the American state of Washington, particularly in the Seattle area. Inspired by hardcore punk, heavy metal, and indie rock, grunge is generally characterized by heavily distorted electric guitars, contrasting song...

.

Future trends


The world of clothing is always changing, as new cultural influences meet technological innovations. Researchers in scientific labs have been developing prototypes for fabrics that can serve functional purposes well beyond their traditional roles, for example, clothes that can automatically adjust their temperature, repel bullets, project images, and generate electricity. Some practical advances already available to consumers are bullet-resistant garments made with kevlar
Kevlar
Kevlar is the registered trademark for a para-aramid synthetic fiber, related to other aramids such as Nomex and Technora. Developed at DuPont in 1965, this high strength material was first commercially used in the early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires...

 and stain-resistant fabrics that are coated with chemical mixtures that reduce the absorption of liquids.

Working conditions


Though mechanization transformed most aspects of human industry by the mid-20th century, garment workers have continued to labor under challenging conditions that demand repetitive manual labor. Mass-produced clothing is often made in what are considered by some to be sweatshops, typified by long work hours, lack of benefits, and lack of worker representation. While most examples of such conditions are found in developing countries, clothes made in industrialized nations may also be manufactured similarly, often staffed by undocumented immigrants.

Coalitions of NGOs, designers (Katharine Hamnett, American Apparel
American Apparel
American Apparel is a clothing manufacturer in the United States. It is a vertically integrated clothing manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer that also performs its own design, advertising, and marketing...

, Veja
Veja Sneakers
Veja is a brand of ecological and fair trade footwear and accessories which was established in Paris in 2004.- History :2005February : Veja launch event at Palais de Tokyo, contemporary art museum in Paris2006...

, Quiksilver
Quiksilver
Quiksilver, Inc. , is an American company based in Huntington Beach, California, one of the world's largest manufacturers of surfwear and other boardsport-related equipment...

, eVocal, Edun,...) and campaign groups like the Clean Clothes Campaign
Clean Clothes Campaign
The Clean Clothes Campaign is the garment industry's largest alliance of labour unions and non-governmental organizations. The civil society campaign focuses on the improvement of working conditions in the garment and sportswear industries...

 (CCC) have sought to improve these conditions as much as possible by sponsoring awareness-raising events, which draw the attention of both the media and the general public to the workers.

Outsourcing
Outsourcing
Outsourcing is the process of contracting a business function to someone else.-Overview:The term outsourcing is used inconsistently but usually involves the contracting out of a business function - commonly one previously performed in-house - to an external provider...

 production to low wage countries like Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 became possible when the Multi Fibre Agreement (MFA) was abolished. The MFA, which placed quotas on textiles imports, was deemed a protectionist measure. Globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 is often quoted as the single most contributing factor to the poor working conditions
Occupational safety and health
Occupational safety and health is a cross-disciplinary area concerned with protecting the safety, health and welfare of people engaged in work or employment. The goal of all occupational safety and health programs is to foster a safe work environment...

 of garment workers. Although many countries recognize treaties like the International Labor Organization, which attempt to set standards for worker safety and rights, many countries have made exceptions to certain parts of the treaties or failed to thoroughly enforce them. India for example has not ratified sections 87 and 92 of the treaty.

Despite the strong reactions that "sweatshops" evoked among critics of globalization, the production of textiles has functioned as a consistent industry for developing nations providing work and wages, whether construed as exploitative or not, to thousands of people.

Fur



The use of animal fur in clothing dates to prehistoric times. It is currently associated in developed countries with expensive, designer clothing, although fur is still used by indigenous people in arctic zones and higher elevations for its warmth and protection. Once uncontroversial, it has recently been the focus of campaigns on the grounds that campaigners consider it cruel and unnecessary. PETA
Peta
Peta can refer to:* peta-, an SI prefix denoting a factor of 1015* Peta, Greece, a town in Greece* Peta, the Pāli word for a Preta, or hungry ghost in Buddhism* Peta Wilson, an Australian actress and model* Peta Todd, English glamour model...

, along with other animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

 and animal liberation
Animal liberation movement
The animal-liberation movement, sometimes called the animal-rights movement, animal personhood, or animal-advocacy movement, is a social movement which seeks an end to the rigid moral and legal distinction drawn between human and non-human animals, an end to the status of animals as property, and...

 groups have called attention to fur farming
Fur farming
Fur farming is the practice of breeding or raising certain types of animals for their fur.Fur used from wild caught animals is not farmed, and is instead known as 'free range fur' because the animals have lived their lives free and natural in the wild....

 and other practices they consider cruel.

Clothing maintenance


Clothing suffers assault both from within and without. The human body sheds skin cells and body oils, and exudes sweat, urine, and feces. From the outside, sun damage, moisture, abrasion and dirt assault garments. Fleas and lice can hide in seams. Worn clothing, if not cleaned and refurbished, itches, looks scruffy, and loses functionality (as when button
Button
In modern clothing and fashion design, a button is a small fastener, most commonly made of plastic, but also frequently of seashell, which secures two pieces of fabric together. In archaeology, a button can be a significant artifact. In the applied arts and in craft, a button can be an example of...

s fall off, seams come undone, fabrics thin or tear, and zipper
Zipper
A zipper is a commonly used device for temporarily joining two edges of fabric...

s fail).

In some cases, people wear an item of clothing until it falls apart. Cleaning leather presents difficulties, and bark cloth (tapa) cannot be washed without dissolving it. Owners may patch tears and rips, and brush off surface dirt, but old leather and bark clothing always look old.

But most clothing consists of cloth, and most cloth can be laundered
Laundry
Laundry is a noun that refers to the act of washing clothing and linens, the place where that washing is done, and/or that which needs to be, is being, or has been laundered...

 and mended (patching, darning
Darning
Darning is a sewing technique for repairing holes or worn areas in fabric or knitting using needle and thread alone. It is often done by hand, but it is also possible to darn with a sewing machine...

, but compare felt
Felt
Felt is a non-woven cloth that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing woollen fibres. While some types of felt are very soft, some are tough enough to form construction materials. Felt can be of any colour, and made into any shape or size....

).

Laundry, ironing, storage


Humans have developed many specialized methods for laundering, ranging from early methods of pounding clothes against rocks in running streams, to the latest in electronic washing machine
Washing machine
A washing machine is a machine designed to wash laundry, such as clothing, towels and sheets...

s and dry cleaning
Dry cleaning
Dry cleaning is any cleaning process for clothing and textiles using a chemical solvent other than water. The solvent used is typically tetrachloroethylene , abbreviated "perc" in the industry and "dry-cleaning fluid" by the public...

 (dissolving dirt in solvents other than water). Hot water washing (boiling), chemical cleaning and ironing are all traditional methods of sterilizing
Sterilization (microbiology)
Sterilization is a term referring to any process that eliminates or kills all forms of microbial life, including transmissible agents present on a surface, contained in a fluid, in medication, or in a compound such as biological culture media...

 fabrics for hygiene
Hygiene
Hygiene refers to the set of practices perceived by a community to be associated with the preservation of health and healthy living. While in modern medical sciences there is a set of standards of hygiene recommended for different situations, what is considered hygienic or not can vary between...

 purposes.

Many kinds of clothing are designed to be ironed
Ironing
Ironing is the use of a heated tool to remove wrinkles from fabric. The heating is commonly done to a temperature of 180-220 °Celsius, depending on the fabric. Ironing works by loosening the bonds between the long-chain polymer molecules in the fibers of the material...

 before they are worn to remove wrinkles. Most modern formal and semi-formal clothing is in this category (for example, dress shirt
Dress shirt
A shirt, or dress shirt in American English, is a garment with a collar, a full-length opening at the front from the collar to the hem, and sleeves with cuffs. Shirts are predominantly used by men, since women usually wear blouses...

s and suits
Suit (clothing)
In clothing, a suit is a set of garments made from the same cloth, consisting of at least a jacket and trousers. Lounge suits are the most common style of Western suit, originating in the United Kingdom as country wear...

). Ironed clothes are believed to look clean, fresh, and neat. Much contemporary casual clothing is made of knit materials that do not readily wrinkle, and do not require ironing. Some clothing is permanent press
Permanent press
A permanent press is a characteristic of fabric that has been chemically processed to resist wrinkles and hold its shape. Alternative terms include wrinkle resistant, wash and wear, no-iron,durable press, and easy care...

, having been treated with a coating (such as polytetrafluoroethylene
Polytetrafluoroethylene
Polytetrafluoroethylene is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene that finds numerous applications. PTFE is most well known by the DuPont brand name Teflon....

) that suppresses wrinkles and creates a smooth appearance without ironing.

Once clothes have been laundered and possibly ironed, they are usually hung on clothes hanger
Clothes hanger
A clothes hanger, coat hanger or coathanger, is a device in the shape of:* Human shoulders designed to facilitate the hanging of a coat, jacket, sweater, shirt, blouse or dress in a manner that prevents wrinkles, with a lower bar for the hanging of trousers or skirts.* Clamp for the hanging of...

s or folded, to keep them fresh until they are worn. Clothes are folded to allow them to be stored compactly, to prevent creasing, to preserve creases or to present them in a more pleasing manner, for instance when they are put on sale in stores.

Many kinds of clothes are folded before they are put in suitcase
Suitcase
A suitcase is a general term for a distinguishable form of luggage. It is often a somewhat flat, rectangular-shaped bag with rounded/square corners, either metal, hard plastic or made of cloth, vinyl or leather that more or less keeps its shape. It has a carrying handle on one side and is used...

s as preparation for travel. Other clothes, such as suits, may be hung up in special garment bags, or rolled rather than folded. Many people use their clothing as packing material around fragile items that might otherwise break in transit.

Non-iron


A resin used for making non-wrinkle shirts releases formaldehyde
Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is an organic compound with the formula CH2O. It is the simplest aldehyde, hence its systematic name methanal.Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent odor. It is an important precursor to many other chemical compounds, especially for polymers...

, which could cause contact dermatitis for some people; no disclosure requirements exist, and in 2008 the U.S. Government Accountability Office
Government Accountability Office
The Government Accountability Office is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the United States Congress. It is located in the legislative branch of the United States government.-History:...

 tested formaldehyde in clothing and found that generally the highest levels were in non-wrinkle shirts and pants. In 1999, a study of the effect of washing on the formaldehyde levels found that after 6 months after washing, 7 of 27 shirts had levels in excess of 75 ppm, which is a safety limit for direct skin exposure.

Mending


In past times, mending was an art. A meticulous tailor
Tailor
A tailor is a person who makes, repairs, or alters clothing professionally, especially suits and men's clothing.Although the term dates to the thirteenth century, tailor took on its modern sense in the late eighteenth century, and now refers to makers of men's and women's suits, coats, trousers,...

 or seamstress could mend rips with thread raveled from hem
Hem
To hem a piece of cloth is to sew a cut edge in such a way as to prevent unraveling of the fabric.There are many different styles of hems of varying complexities. The most common hem...

s and seam edges so skillfully that the tear was practically invisible. When the raw material — cloth — was worth more than labor, it made sense to expend labor in saving it. Today clothing is considered a consumable item. Mass-manufactured clothing is less expensive than the labor required to repair it. Many people buy a new piece of clothing rather than spend time mending. The thrifty still replace zipper
Zipper
A zipper is a commonly used device for temporarily joining two edges of fabric...

s and button
Button
In modern clothing and fashion design, a button is a small fastener, most commonly made of plastic, but also frequently of seashell, which secures two pieces of fabric together. In archaeology, a button can be a significant artifact. In the applied arts and in craft, a button can be an example of...

s and sew up ripped hems.

Recycling


Used, unwearable clothing can be used for quilt
Quilt
A quilt is a type of bed cover, traditionally composed of three layers of fiber: a woven cloth top, a layer of batting or wadding and a woven back, combined using the technique of quilting. “Quilting” refers to the technique of joining at least two fabric layers by stitches or ties...

s, rags, rug
Carpet
A carpet is a textile floor covering consisting of an upper layer of "pile" attached to a backing. The pile is generally either made from wool or a manmade fibre such as polypropylene,nylon or polyester and usually consists of twisted tufts which are often heat-treated to maintain their...

s, bandage
Bandage
A bandage is a piece of material used either to support a medical device such as a dressing or splint, or on its own to provide support to the body; they can also be used to restrict a part of the body. During heavy bleeding or following a poisonous bite it is important to slow the flow of blood,...

s, and many other household uses. It can also be recycled into paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

. In Western societies, used clothing is often thrown out or donated to charity. It is also sold to consignment shops, dress agencies and flea market
Flea market
A flea market or swap meet is a type of bazaar where inexpensive or secondhand goods are sold or bartered. It may be indoors, such as in a warehouse or school gymnasium; or it may be outdoors, such as in a field or under a tent...

s and in online auctions. Used clothing is also often collected on an industrial scaled to be sorted and shipped for re-use in poorer countries.

There are many concerns about the life cycle of synthetics, which come primarily from petrochemicals. Unlike natural fibers, their source is not renewable and they are not biodegradable.

See also

  • History of clothing and textiles
    History of clothing and textiles
    The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of most human societies. It is not known when humans began wearing clothes...

  • Naturism
    Naturism
    Naturism or nudism is a cultural and political movement practising, advocating and defending social nudity in private and in public. It may also refer to a lifestyle based on personal, family and/or social nudism....

     (which includes nudism)
  • Second hand store
  • Thermoregulation
    Thermoregulation
    Thermoregulation is the ability of an organism to keep its body temperature within certain boundaries, even when the surrounding temperature is very different...

  • Timeline of non-sexual social nudity
    Timeline of non-sexual social nudity
    -Prehistory - 1800:*In Sparta, both women and men occasionally went nude in certain festivals and exercise.* 720 BC: According to one legend, an athlete, Orsippos of Megara who discards his loincloth wins his race at the Olympic Games. A variation of the legend asserts that the loincloth...

  • Timeline of requisite dress in Western civilization

Further reading

ebook ISBN 978-0-231-51273-2 Paperback ISBN 978-0-7456-3187-5 (see especially sections 5 – 'Clothing' – & 6 – 'Protective clothing').

External links