Clothing in history, showing (from top) Egyptians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Franks, and 13th through 15th century Europeans
Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel and attire) is items worn on the body. Clothing is typically made of fabrics or textiles but over time has included garments made from animal skin or other thin sheets of materials put together. The wearing of clothing is mostly restricted to human beings and is a feature of all human societies. The amount and type of clothing worn depends on gender, body type, social, and geographic considerations.
Clothing serves many purposes: it can serve as protection from the elements, rough surfaces, rash-causing plants, insect bites, splinters, thorns and prickles by providing a barrier between the skin and the environment. Clothes can insulate against cold or hot conditions, and they can provide a hygienic barrier, keeping infectious and toxic materials away from the body. Clothing also provides protection from ultraviolet radiation.
"Summer", detail from a tapestry called The Seasons or Orchard, woven by Morris & Co. in wool, silk, and mohair on a cotton ground at Merton Abbey in 1890, designed by William Morris and John Henry Dearle.
John Henry Dearle (22 August 1859 – 15 January 1932) was a British textile and stained-glassdesigner trained by the artist and craftsman William Morris who was much influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Dearle designed many of the later wallpapers and textiles released by Morris & Co., and contributed background and foliage patterns to tapestry designs featuring figures by Edward Burne-Jones and others. Beginning in his teens as a shop assistant and then design apprentice, Dearle rose to become Morris & Co.'s chief designer by 1890, creating designs for tapestries, embroidery, wallpapers, woven and printed textiles, stained glass, and carpets. Following Morris's death in 1896, Dearle was appointed Art Director of the firm, and became its principal stained glass designer on the death of Burne-Jones in 1898.
Morris's reputation overshadowed Dearle's work throughout Dearle's career: Dearle exhibited early patterns under Morris's name and Dearle designs continue to be sold as Morris patterns. Critical assessment of Dearle's work then underwent a significant change, during the final decades of the twentieth century, recognizing Dearle's mature work as having a unique artistic vision of its own. Dearle always remained close to Morris's esthetic, but from the 1890s onward he incorporated a distinctive set of Persian and Turkish influences. (Full article...)
Her attire, which indeed, she had wrought for the occasion in prison, and had modelled much after her own fancy, seemed to express the attitude of her spirit, the desperate recklessness of her mood, by its wild and picturesque peculiarity. But the point which drew all eyes, and, as it were, transfigured the wearer--so that both men and women who had been familiarly acquainted with Hester Prynne were now impressed as if they beheld her for the first time--was that SCARLET LETTER, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself. "She hath good skill at her needle, that's certain," remarked one of her female spectators; "but did ever a woman, before this brazen hussy, contrive such a way of showing it? Why, gossips, what is it but to laugh in the faces of our godly magistrates, and make a pride out of what they, worthy gentlemen, meant for a punishment?"