What Is Clothes?
Clothes are garments that are worn to protect the body. Some examples of clothing include coats, trousers, and shirts. Clothing is also used to indicate status in some cultures, and can be an expression of personality. Often, clothes are worn for practical reasons, such as protection from the sun, rain, or cold weather. In other situations, clothes are used as a form of decoration.
The word “cloth” is derived from the Greek kleos, meaning “a covering”. There are many different materials that can be used to make clothes. These include cotton, synthetic fibers such as polyester, and rayon. Fabric is spun and weaved by hand. It is then pieced together by sewing machines. Sometimes, the final product is treated again to provide a certain texture.
Today, it is estimated that over 92 million tons of textile waste is produced globally every year. Of this, 85% is sent to landfills. This amounts to a lot of carbon emissions. One of the major contributors to this is the production of textiles from petroleum-based crude oil.
Traditionally, clothes were made from animal skins and furs. However, in some cultures, cloth is also made from plants. As a result, the fashion industry is very complex. Many textiles are blended, making sorting them difficult.
In the 1950s, Americans spent ten percent of their income on clothing. In contrast, today’s consumers spend a much smaller proportion of their budget on wardrobes. Yet, even if they don’t buy brand new clothing, they do purchase more than a few items a year. A typical American throws away 37 kilograms of clothes each year. And, if we assume the average person purchases at least one item of clothing per week, it’s clear that the global consumption of clothing is growing exponentially.
The fashion industry is a highly sophisticated industry, with designers having the ability to influence clothing for the rest of a person’s life. It is not uncommon for a person to wear the same outfit for two to four years.
Modern societies also display social status by purchasing rare or luxurious items. For example, ancient Rome only allowed senators to wear purple, while the Hawaiians were only permitted to wear feather cloaks. Additionally, the modern fabric industry uses high volumes of non-renewable resources and produces clothes for short-lived periods of time.
While the concept of clothing is not new, it has been undergoing a revolution. For example, Vivienne Westwood introduced corsets in 1987, and the use of corsets has exploded over the last ten years. Corsets are now separated into separate pieces, and a new generation of designers is following suit.
Similarly, mending is an art in the past, but is becoming less common as the cost of labor has risen. But, in the past, meticulous seamstresses could mend rips with thread raveled from the edges of seams.
Nowadays, many fast-fashion companies encourage consumers to purchase inexpensive items of clothing. They then make money by limiting the amount of time it takes between trends.