9V6RJ3rpFgRWRKz9atzwHWSEAzE Useful Articles Hard To Ignore: Dress-Making - The Economics and Politics

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dress-Making - The Economics and Politics

First, consider these quirky facts on dress-making and the wearing of clothes.

In ancient China, only the emperor could wear yellow. It was the assigned imperial colors and nobody was entitled to use it except the highest royalty.

In the old island kingdom of Hawaii, only the chieftain had the right to wear feather cloaks, a clothing accessory that was hallowed to them.

Ancient temple priests had to wear specific garbs while doing their priestly duties, with the pain of death imposed on those who broke them. Today, not everyone can be assigned to sew priestly apparel, but once they are, standard forms and patterns must be thoroughly followed to the last lines.

In ancient Rome, only the senators of the republic could wear purple. Aside from the hallowed status, this came with some bragging rights because purple dye at that time was the most expensive and was not available to everyone.

Most of today’s women in the U.S. and Europe still wear white wedding dresses. This is because of the widespread belief that white symbolizes purity, and every woman wants to project that trait.

Sikhs in India wear turbans, one sample of a strict religious requirement.

Different Arab nationalities have different head scarves specific to their countries. The manufacture of these scarves follows exact specifications that are very important to them, sacred even.

Politics, religion, and traditions

Evidently, politics and other socio-cultural aspects play a very significant part in the making and wearing of clothes, including the accessories that go with it. One can see from the examples above that these practices transcend time and place. Some are still in practice today.

As societies and other groupings begun to coalesce and develop, hierarchical rankings developed as well. Royalties, priests, ordinary citizens and others took to their assigned roles in their respective groups.

One effective way people were classified and organized would be by their clothing.  

Countries have their own national costumes for their people. Armies have uniforms. The rankings of soldiers and officers are noted by insignias and other markings. Religious groups have their priests, rabbis, and elders sporting special clothes.

Economics and status symbols 

Today, the social status of a person or group can sometimes be classified, too, by their capacity to acquire very expensive clothes and other luxurious items not available to everybody. These personal goods are limited only to these people with enough wealth to buy them.

Clothes make the man, so goes a tired old saying. To most people, this still holds true. They see beautiful clothes worn by beautiful movie stars and models, and even by plain celebrities. Helped by non-stop media barrage, the ordinary guy’s desire of owning and wearing these clothes themselves becomes obsession. Everyone wants to look like the current hot movie star or celebrity.

Astute dress-makers (name couturiers, big clothing companies) come into the picture by making these kinds of clothes available to every man and woman. Mass production of these expensive-looking clothes at a much lower cost becomes the solution to everyone’s yearning of owning them.

One very simple way of increasing value for these low-cost products is the prominent display of the clothes-maker’s brand name logo on the merchandise itself. The difference in value becomes the profit margin for the designer-manufacturer. These items may be clothes, bags, or any accessory considered hot at the moment.

In effect, the dress-maker’s logo defines the status of a person’s place in society. Stranger still, most people put such a high premium on these little signs. They display them whenever possible for other people to see.

Who’s that on your shirt’s label?

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