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Story behind the origin and history of textiles

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Man has evolved quite fast and left behind the clothes constructed from fig leaves, animal hides and fur, sheep fleece, and other naturally available materials. However, since the raw materials used to make these garments in the earlier times were obtained largely from natural sources they have degraded and decomposed over time and so the origin of clothing becomes relatively obscure. Though, some evidence has been procured by the archaeologist around the globe where the climatic conditions were optimum for their preservation. With this, let us understand the emergence of clothing.

The Old Stone Age in Northern Russia paved the way for the development of early body coverings in the form of sheep fleece, animal hairs, stones, and shells. The shift of mankind from the body coverings such as animal hair to the textile material is said to have originated out of felt.

A great advancement was seen with the origin of spinning and weaving as the medium for the construction of clothing in the Neolithic times. Also, the art of basketry that came to be known around 27,000 years ago contributed largely towards the development of the interlacement of yarns i.e. weaving. The Neolithic period was succeeded by the Cro-Magnon man that further bought new innovations in clothing with one such discovery being the needles. Developed around forty thousand years ago, the needle resembled in construction to today’s widely available needle with one end being quite sharp and eye at the other end, and needles were composed of slivers of animal bones.

These needles were quite efficient to be sewn into a garment that would follow the contours of the body. Also, garments were constructed by the early man with the purpose to shield them against the cold and harsh climate and so were made from the cut pieces of fur. Thus, close-fitted clothing acted as a barrier. The garments largely included pants, shawls, hoods, and long boots.

By the beginning of the Bronze Age, woven fabrics from fibers such as linen, silk, and wool were commonly used. The Egyptians developed finely woven linen cloth in the era of 5500 BC. In addition, the shreds of evidence procured from the swiss lake dwellings in 1854, indicated the use of flax fiber in weaving. And the Chinese who tried to keep the secret of silk production secret is predicted to have started production around 4000 BC.

Thereafter, the Industrial Revolution bought a wave of change in the textile industry. The garments were no longer stitched in homes but have moved to factories with the emergence of new machinery both in terms of looms and sewing, which led to an increase in production. And that’s how the textile industry we see today has grown eventually.

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