Explain the reasons for the changes in clothing patterns and materials in the eighteenth century.
After the 18th century, the colonisation of most of the world by Europe, the spread of democratic ideals and the growth of an industrial society completely changed the ways in which people thought about dress. People could use styles and materials that were drawn from other cultures and locations. Western dress styles for men were adopted worldwide.
From 1294 to the time of the French Revolution in 1789, the people of France were expected to strictly follow the sumptuary laws. These rules tried to regulate the lifestyles of the lower classes by regulating the amount and type of clothes they bought. The laws tried to control:
→ the behaviour of those considered socially inferior
→ preventing them from wearing certain clothes
→ consuming certain foods and beverages
→ hunting game in certain areas.
Give any two examples of the ways in which European dress codes were different from Indian dress codes
Two examples of the ways in which European dress codes were different from Indian dress codes:
→ In Europe, dress codes were enacted on a socio-economic bias, while in India, these norms were along the lines of caste.
→ While the lower classes in Europe were barred from wearing specific materials, the lower castes in India were barred from wearing particular clothes; for example, the Shanar women, who were disallowed from covering their upper bodies like the higher caste women.
In 1805, a British official, Benjamin Heyne, listed the manufactures of Bangalore which included the following:
Women's cloth of different musters and names
Of this list, which kind of cloth would have definitely fallen out of use in the early 1900s and why?
Muslin would have fallen out of use as machine cloth had flooded the Indian markets and was cheaper. Muslin was expensive and hence was not used. In fact, the Industrial Revolution brought about a complete change in which muslin cloth had no place.
Suggest reasons why women in nineteenth century India were obliged to continue wearing traditional Indian dress even when men switched over to the more convenient Western clothing. What does this show about the position of women in society?
Women in the 19th century India were obliged to continue wearing traditional Indian dress even when men switched over to more convenient western clothes. This clearly shows that women during that time were accorded a lower status than men in society. They were not allowed to be aware of what was going on outside the house and were confined within the four walls of their homes. Modernity and change were not for them.