Purposes and Importance of Clothing

Last Updated on 31/12/2020

Purposes and Importance of Clothing

R.S. Balakumar
Associate Professor,
Dept of Fashion Design & Arts,
Hindustan University, Chennai, India
Email: rsbalakumar1953@gmail.com


The records of man’s use of Textiles, dates back thousands of years. Our knowledge of the early development in textiles is very less as they are not evident through proper records. Textiles were first developed as a means for carrying food and as mats in shelter. Only in later stages it is used as clothing.

When early people realized they needed more than their own hair and skin to protect them from the weather, they looked around to see what was available. People lived in a cold climate, saw animals with skins that kept them warm. They hunted these animals for food and used the fur to cover their body.

Various types of clothing
Fig: Various types of clothing

Early Development of Sewing and Fabric:
Once they started to hunt, they used the skin of animals as to wear as their clothes. This skin when continuously used becomes harder and made difficult for them to hunt. For this purpose, he started to treat the skin to preserve its softness. Later the bones of animals were used as needle and nerves were used as thread to stitch the hides.

Ancient people used Grasses, reeds, leaves and stems to cover their body of purely the vegetable origin. He also learned to spin the fiber, convert it into yarn and these yarns are interlaced to form a cloth. Flax and wool were the first of the fiber to be used because they were easier to twist into yarn than cotton. They also used the hair of animals as bed, in due course, these hairs tangled with each other and formed as a fabric. This method is only followed while making felt cloth.

After thousands of years of wandering, people learned that they could live in one place with other humans and grow what they needed. This is known as an agrarian society. People learned how to raise certain animals for the meat and the skins. They learned to grow certain plants for food. People no longer had to spend all their time hunting and farming.

People learned how to spin bits of plants, reeds, horse hair, and bark into one continuous strand, or yarn. Then they discovered how to take these long pieces of yarn and weave them into fabric, just like they wove the grasses. People began to look around for other fibers they could use to make yarn. The cotton, wool, silk, and flax that they found.

Fiber, Yarn and Fabric:
Are still the most common natural fibers today? Other fibers, such as alpaca from llamas and angora from rabbits, were discovered, but, even today; these fibers are too scarce and expensive to be widely used.

For thousands of years the four natural fibers used by men are flax, wool, silk and cotton. Man-made fibers were introduced only at the beginning of the 20th century. From ancient times to the middle of the 18th century. Spinning and weaving were-done by hand.

Progress in this area culminated in the industrial revolution, which was the start of the factory system and mars production. From Ancient times colours have been used in fabrics. Dyestuff from plants and insects were used until the synthetic dyes were discovered.

Cellulose is the basic scaffolding of all plants. It is formed through photosynthesis.

Sources of Textile Fibers:
Cotton, cellulosic man-made fibers, synthetic man-made fibers, Flax , Wool, Silk. The food taken in by animals is transformed into fiber forming proteins source material is cellulose extracted from wood raw material is petroleum derived from sea plankton.

Purposes and Importance of Clothing:
Covering the body is the principle among other purposes of clothing. Besides, it help to make you feel more attractive, and to communicate with others. People wear clothes for many different reasons. Some of these reasons are physical. You wear clothes for comfort and protection. Others are for psychological and social purposes of clothing. Clothes give you self-confidence and express your personality. Clothes also help you identify with other people.

purposes of clothing

All people have basic human needs. Meeting these needs provides satisfaction and enjoyment in life. Clothing helps to meet some of these needs. Knowing something about the role of clothing helps you to understand yourself and others better. Clothing is a complex but fascinating part of everyone’s life. Clothing has some important purposes in every human. Therefore, clothes are worn for:

1. Protection:
Our skin is uncovered and exposed. We can be easily affected by the elements-rain, snow, wind, cold, and heat. We can be harmed or injured on the job or while participating in sports. In some cases, we need to protect us with our clothing. Clothing aids to your comfort. It absorbs perspiration, prevents sudden chills, and acts as a buffer between your body and accidental burns, scratches, and rough surfaces. The right garments can insulate your body against extremely hot or extremely cold temperatures.

People who live in severely cold climates, such as the Eskimos, keep warm by wearing pants and parkas with fur linings. The fur traps the warm air from their bodies and creates a life-saving insulating layer of warmth. Desert nomads keep the harmful hot sun from dehydrating their bodies by covering up with long flowing robes and headdresses. Their clothing actually keeps them cooler.

2. Safety:
Clothing also serves to protect your skin from harm or injury. Some sports and occupations require protective clothing for safety reasons. Football players wear helmets and protective padding to help prevent injury during rough play. Some people’s work requires them to be in dangerous or hazardous conditions. Clothing can offer protection. Some items are even labeled with the term “safety” to identify them from regular day-to-day clothes and accessories.

Fire-fighters wear asbestos clothing in hazardous situations. Police officers wear bulletproof vests. Road workers wear florescent orange vests so that drivers can see them easily and prevent accidents.

3. Sanitation:
Special clothing and accessories are often worn for sanitation reasons. It is also important purposes of clothing. People who work in factories that produce food and medical products wear sanitary clothing, face masks, and hair covering. This precaution prevents contamination of the products by germs. In operating rooms, doctors and nurses wear special disposable sanitary uniforms, gloves, and face masks. Besides, it also used as sanitary napkin which is used during women’s period.

4. Modesty:
Modesty refers to what people feel is the proper way for clothing to cover the body. Different groups of people may have different standards of modesty. For example, Clothes that a woman might wear to a fancy party would probably be unacceptable at work the next.

5. Identification:
Clothing can also identify people as members of a group. Certain types of clothing, colors, and accessories have become representative of certain groups, activities, and occupations. Or by simply dressing alike, people can show that they belong to the same group. Ex. Air Crews, Air hostess, Doctors, Pilots, etc.

6. Uniforms: 
A uniform is one of the easiest ways to identify group members. Uniforms can provide instant recognition or create a special image for the group. Members of the police force, fire department, and military wear uniforms so that they can be recognized quickly and easily for public safety. Athletic teams wear different colors to identify their team and to tell them apart from their opponents.

People who work in service occupations, such as restaurant workers, airline personnel, and hotel staff also wear special uniform. These uniforms help to identify the worker to their customers, as well as create an image for the company.

7. Styles and Colors:
Some occupations require a unique style of dress. Judges wear the traditional black robe. Ministers, priests, and other clergy members may wear special clothing for conducting religious services. The style of the clothing often dates back many centuries to show visually that what they are doing is linked to the past. Many people wear special styles and colors of clothing for special occasions in their lives. Graduates may wear ling robes and mortarboard hats with tassels.

8. Insignias:
Insignias are badges or emblems that show membership in a group. Patches or emblems can be worn on jackets or blazer pockets. A school letter with a sports pin can be worn on a jacket or sweater to indicate participation in athletics.

9. Status:
Kings and queens wear crowns to set them apart from the rest of their subjects. Their crowns indicate their status, or position or rank within a group. Clothes and other accessories are used by people to show their level of importance. They may also be used to give the wearer a sense of feeling important. Status symbols are clothes or other items that offer a sense of status for the ordinary person. Usually these items are more expensive or the latest in design. For some people, status symbols can be fur coats, expensive jewelry, or designer clothes.

10. Decoration:
People decorate themselves to enhance their appearance. They wear clothes, jewelry, and cosmetics in hopes of improving their looks and attracting favorable attention. Adornment, or decoration, also helps people to express their uniqueness and creativity. Clothing and accessories can be used to improve appearance in different ways. Clothing can also be decorated to make it special and unique.

Clothing plays an important role in our human society. Fashion also dominates the human being’s status due to the acceptance of change in fashion occurs often and often. “Eat to your taste; but dress to others” is the phrase always used. A well-dressed personality is ever welcomed with red carpet reception throughout the world. Human can survive a few days without eating food, but cannot without the dress. Purposes of clothing is important to our society of the human being living together.

Book Sources:

  1. Introduction to fashion design.
  2. Inside fashion design.
  3. Fashion from concept to consumer.

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