Stripes fashion: How a ‘devil’s cloth’ is now a favourite


Do you know how stripes came into existence? If not, here is an interesting story for you today.

Stripes started its journey with complete loathe in the society, contrary to the reputation it enjoys today. Stripes (horizontal or vertical lines on a cloth) were earlier famous as the “devil’s cloth”. Shocking enough?

The word “devil” is enough to signify that it was meant for “others”. These “others” were clowns, prisoners, and madmen who were treated with total contempt in the medieval period. But what happened next was a big turning point for stripes.

The happy journey of stripes elevated after two important revolutions – American Revolution and French Revolution. In 1783, Americans designed a flag with 13 red and white stripes, showing 13 colonies who won the freedom battle against the British rule. In 1789, the stripes in red-white-blue folded rosette (cockade) in hats worn by the French military people became a symbol of honour. From here stripes populism went on its peak. Here’s how:

In 1846, Queen Victoria dressed her son, Albert Edward in a “sailor suit” to board the Royal Yacht. From here on, sailors wore the striped pattern uniforms. It was during this time the reputation of stripes converted started transforming.

Entry of stripes in the fashion industry

In the 19th century, French fashion designer and founder of the famous brand Coco Chanel, Gabrielle Bonheur Coco Chanel got impressed with the sailors’ suits on her holiday and the idea of the 1917 timeless collection of “Nautical Theme” came into her mind.

Chanel created the first original breton top with navy blue stripes. In 1920, Breton Navy men wore the top designed by Chanel, which consisted of 21 stripes as their new uniform. The 21 stripes symbolised Napoleon’s victories for French navy men.

We can say that she was the first designer who paved the way for stripes in the clothing world.

Later, stripes made its entry in sportswear and later bankers too adopted it as their formal uniform. Musicians, artists, dancers, filmstars, photographers, theatre artists, people in office uniforms etc accepted stripes as a regular garment.

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