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Clothes Make the (Hu) Man

first clothes Dzudzuana Cave

The first clothes, worn at least 70,000 years ago and perhaps much earlier, were probably made of animal skins and helped protect early humans from the ice ages. Then at some point people learned to weave plant fibers into textiles. But when? The answer is not certain, because cloth is rarely preserved at archaeological sites. […]

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The Psychology of Clothes

Suri tribesmen Kibbish

In addition to the environment in which man is placed by nature, without any participation on his part, he creates himself another, which is generally called the “cultural world.” When we consider the human being in this cultural world, we see that of all its multitudinous cultural forms his dress is not only the one […]

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The Dirty Secret About Our Clothes

textile mill

In the Colours of Nature dye house, Vijayakumar Varathan is busy prepping a vat of indigo. At 51, he looks frail, with a tanned body made mostly of bones, but he runs to and fro, setting up an open fire where he’ll brew cauldrons of natural colorants made from plants. He’s worked here for 15 […]

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Dress for Evolutionary Success

Dress for Evolutionary Success

Picture one of those ascent-of-man charts that depict a progression of profiles, from an ape walking on all fours to a slumped hominid to a modern human standing erect. What’s missing? The modern human is naked. No accessories! We may not find a chapter on fashion in science textbooks but ornamentation and tailoring have played […]

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Data-Mining 100 Million Instagram Photos Reveals Global Clothing Patterns

Instagram Photos Global Clothing Patterns

The millions of photos uploaded to social media are a massive untapped resource for studying humanity. But machine learning is beginning to tap this mother lode. “Imagine a future anthropologist with access to trillions of photos of people—taken over centuries and across the world—and equipped with effective tools for analyzing these photos to derive insights. […]