The change of seasons is an intriguing phenomenon that affects each one of us in unparalleled ways. Think about it; as soon as the orange hues of fall give way to the gloomy and somber tones of winter, a paradigm shift is in progress. Even though many of us might be taking this for granted, the moment you step out into the cold winter air, you are open to a completely different world than you were used to during fall. Everywhere you look, you see wooly creatures, covered in all manner of colors, materials and textures.
If our appearance changes so drastically with seasonal shifts, one can only imagine how much our clothing aesthetics and functionalities might have changed over the course of history. Many of us take our clothes for granted, oblivious to the fact that each and every piece of clothing has a historical story behind it. In this case, we will be exploring the story of a quintessential piece of clothing for the winters, the scarf.
The history of scarves is one full of unexpected and intriguing twists and turns. A piece of clothing which is mainly used to shield oneself from the cold and to make a fashion statement was used for quite different purposes throughout the ages. From being a crucial piece of military uniforms to a symbol of class, the scarf has seen a lot of different applications throughout the years. Here is a brief look at the history of this hardy companion of the cold:
A Symbol of Egyptian Royalty: One of the first instances of the use of scarves was seen in ancient Egypt in 1350 BC, when Queen Nefertiti wore them as a sign of the royal class along with their headdress.
A Roman Sweat-Cloth: During 8th century BC, the Roman Empire was full of people sporting a piece of clothing known as the “sudarium”. This was essentially a piece of cloth left loosely around one’s neck or pinned to one’s belt, for the purpose of wiping off sweat from their bodies.
A Symbol of Military Rank: The soldiers of Emperor Cheng’s army in 230 BC started to sport scarves as a means to differentiate between their respective military ranks. Silk scarves, owing to the immense importance attributed to the material, were used to designate higher rank officials. Lower ranked officials wore cotton scarves as a means of rank designation.
A Sign of Nobility: Around 12th Century AD, during the Middle Ages, noble and wealthy women wore elaborate headdresses that incorporated scarves made of linen. Knights during these times used to carry the scarves of their wives to battle as a token of remembrance.
A Weapon for Assassination: In 18th Century AD, Pavel the First of Russia disliked scarves to such a degree that he banned them completely from the Russian army. In the year 1801, he is strangled to death with a silk scarf. Talk about coincidence!
A Canvas for Experimentation: In the 19th Century, two remarkable scarf-makers are born, namely Hermes and Burberry. Both of these individuals transform scarves into a hot fashion trend in countries like France. Hermes is known for the graphic designs that he weaved into his scarves, while Burberry is credited with the creation of plaid scarf.
Know Your Fashion: Did you know that the Croatian army wore scarves which were called “cravats”, which acted as the precursors for neckties?
PROCESS OF CREATION
The process of creation of a single scarf involves a tradition that has been handed down through time. At Livalya, we are dedicated towards emphasizing the immense historical and traditional value in every piece of clothing that we weave. To preserve the authenticity of the scarves, our looms in Kashmir, India make use of time-tested traditional methods. The Cashmere scarves are entirely hand-made by local artisans, who are experts at molding and crafting scarves out of the delicate and precious fabric known as Pashmina. The Pashmina scarf, also known as the Cashmere scarf, is created out of the soft fur of the Himalayan mountain goat. Our looms in Kashmir are also known for handmade woolen scarves and silk scarves, made from the experienced hands of local artisans who have preserved this art since the times of their ancestors.
Today, the perspective towards the scarf as a fashion statement has changed considerably as far as its elaborate historical journey is concerned. In a world where functionality and aesthetics in clothing are constantly transforming, scarves are slowly finding a new social foothold. It is now an aesthetic enhancer for artists, a functional fashion statement for metrosexuals, and a symbol of cultural and casual experimentation for men and women all over the world.
At Livalya, our purpose is not to merely manufacture scarves. Our purpose of existence is to honor the legacy of each piece of clothing that we create and to add to the historical value of the same. We pride ourselves for ensuring the continuance of the preserved traditions of weaving and manufacturing scarves. However, we also pride ourselves for contributing to the changing perspectives towards scarves in today’s age, thereby erecting another milestone in the story of the scarf. Our aim is to preserve the ways of old and to learn from them, while constantly experimenting and creating novelty out of tradition. The story of the scarf is the story of Livalya, and all of us can be a part of it!