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.
Wearing clothes is also a social norm, and being deprived of clothing in front of others may be embarrassing. In most parts of the world, not wearing clothes in public so that genitals, breasts or buttocks are visible could be considered indecent exposure.
Origin and history
Scientists are still debating when people started wearing clothes. Estimates by various experts have ranged from 40,000 to 3 million years ago. Some more recent studies involving the evolution of body lice have implied a more recent development with some indicating a development of around 170,000 years ago and others indicating as little as 40,000. No single estimate is widely accepted.
Ralf Kittler, Manfred Kayser and Mark Stoneking, anthropologists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, conducted a genetic analysis of human body lice that suggests clothing originated around 170,000 years ago. Body lice are an indicator of clothes-wearing, since most humans have sparse body hair, and lice thus require human clothing to survive. Their research suggests that the invention of clothing may have coincided with the northward migration of modern Homo sapiens away from the warm climate of Africa, thought to have begun between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago. However, a second group of researchers using similar genetic methods estimate that clothing originated around 540,000 years ago.
According to archaeologists and anthropologists, the earliest clothing likely consisted of fur, leather, leaves, or grass that were draped, wrapped, or tied around the body. Knowledge of such clothing remains inferential, since clothing materials deteriorate quickly compared to stone, bone, shell and metal artifacts. Archeologists have identified very early sewing needles of bone and ivory from about 30,000 BC, found near Kostenki, Russia in 1988. Dyed flax fibers that could have been used in clothing have been found in a prehistoric cave in the Republic of Georgia that date back to 34,000 BC.
Magic (trade show)
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MAGIC is a fashion tradeshow in the United States. Held twice a year (February and August) in Las Vegas, this fashion marketplace showcases men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, footwear, accessories, and manufacturing resources from around the world.