Where does it come from?

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Discovering the origins of modern fashion


Wearing a head scarf can mean many things to many people. Often worn as a fashion statement or for warmth they have had and still do have various meanings. For example; a red or scarlet headscarf was worn by women aligning themselves with Bolshevism in times of Russian Revolution and civil war. Christian women wore them in Medieval times to show that they were married and Christian nuns still wear a version of this headscarf known as a habit. Orthodox Jewish wear them because their beliefs require them to cover their hair and Russian Orthodox women wear one when they go to church to indicate their convictions. Muslim men and women wear a form of headscarf that comes down over the shoulders and may cover part of the face to show their modesty.


Many women wear what skeptics may call ‘Jesus Sandals’ in the summer months. Though often associated with Jesus, Rome (Roman sandals) or Greece (Greek sandals) sandal wearing was first recorded at the end of the Paleolithic Period. Early pieces of footwear were made of wrappings of leather or dried grasses. Later on, oval pieces of leather were developed and bound to the foot by another piece of thin leather. Sandals are the successors to these bindings. In Egyptian funeral chambers we can see the many stages of footwear; originally made using straw, papyrus or palm fiber and later adorned with precious stones and jewels. Sandals were not found in Greece until the Greek empire began to expand and athletes for Greek games came from farther and colder climates. Eventually the local Greeks caught on and began wearing sandals to signify their social class. Romans, on the other hand, created durable leather thongs that we now call flip-flops.


Gauging, or tribal stretching, originated in Asian, African and South Pacific cultures for decorative purposes. Tribes such as the Thai hill tribe stretched earlobes for both men and women. Roland Loomis, also known as Fakir Musafar, is credited with founding the “modern primitive” movement and the popularization of stretched earlobes in current culture. Modern primitives are people in developed nations who engage in body modification rituals and practices while making reference or homage to the rite of passage practices in “primitive cultures.” Musafar himself engages in these bodily modifications as part of a spiritual ritual as tribal peoples did in the past. However, the majority of people who gauge their ears do not necessarily consider themselves part of the “modern primitive” movement and gauge their ears for aesthetic reasons.


In Mesopotamia circa 1600-1200 B.C. mountain people who lived on the border of Iran wore a type of soft shoe. These soft shoes were made of wraparound leather, similar to a moccasin. These moccasin type shoes are the most primitive form of foot covering but are now often associated with American Indians. All American Indian moccasins were originally made of soft leather stitched together with sinew. Though the basic construction of moccasins was similar throughout North America, moccasin patterns were subtly different in every tribe. The word “moccasin” comes from Algonquian Indians, the first tribe Europeans encountered. Though “moccasins” may be understood and accepted by all tribes at this point, most have their own native word for them. Today Native Americans still wear the moccasin during ceremonial times, and the look of the shoe has surged into the mainstream for both shoes and slippers.


While most agree that headbands may be as old as 6000 B.C., some experts believe that headbands were actually copied from the early day of head wreaths in 475 B.C. to 330 B.C. In more recent times, headbands are associated with the 60s to go with hippie go-go boots, mini skirts or dresses. Hippies wore headbands in more of a ninja style around the crown of their head often made of flowers. In the 90s designers started creating more durable, elegant headbands with altered bra straps and sash hair bands. In the mainstream, celebrities started wearing headbands around 2008. Designers mimicked more ancient styles creating bands from leather and stones or replicated flowers. Today “hipsters” or non-mainstreamers wear stretchy hippie like headbands. Others wear bandannas or cloth. Celebrities, or those wishing to dress up wear precious metal, jeweled, or flower adorned headbands that can go around the head in the hippie style or worn on top of the head.