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Aboriginal Dress in the Kimberley, Western Australia

Kim Akerman

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

As in most other areas of Australia, the Aboriginals of the Kimberley were traditionally unclothed. For them, dress consisted of headbands and hair belts. Pubic tassels (made by tying multiple strands of spun fur or hair string into a mop, suspended over the genital area) were worn occasionally. Other elements of dress consisted of ornaments made from feathers, fibers, animal teeth, or shell, the use of which was often dictated by the ceremonial and social status of the wearer. More complex ornam

Children’s Wear in Australia

Michelle Bakar and Vicki Karaminas

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Sydney department store mail order catalogs and clothing advertisements from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries provide information regarding clothing available for Australian children. However, they refer mainly to the relatively affluent middle class. Australian life was often more informal than North American or British life; the climate necessitated practical styles. Turn-of-the-century catalogs assumed that English tastes would appeal to Australians and that mothers primarily

The Wool Industry in Australia

Prudence Black and Anne Farren

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

That the wealth of Australia rode “on the sheep’s back” is a well-known expression. In particular, it has been Merino wool (a thick fine fleece suited to weaving into quality fabric) for the international and increasingly global clothing market that has been Australia’s most significant product. The Merino sheep has been selectively bred for over two hundred years and is recognized worldwide for its uniformly fine and soft fibers. While Australia is home to only a small proportion of the world’s

Aboriginal Skin Cloaks

Fabri Blacklock

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In customary societies Aboriginal people were minimally clothed until contact with Europeans began to alter their habits. One exception was the skin cloaks widely worn by men and women throughout temperate zones of southeastern and western Australia. Cloaks were their main article of dress, important as rugs for warmth, but also for ceremonial use, trade, and as burial shrouds. Indigenous peoples made a variety of cloaks from different types of skin: possums, kangaroos, wallabies, and other fur-b

Antarctic Explorer Wear

Natalie Cadenhead

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Clothing worn in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica demonstrates important design changes developed to assist wearers with extreme weather conditions. Antarctic clothing history is split into two main eras: the heroic era from 1840 to 1917 and the scientific era from 1940 to the twenty-first century. Exploration that occurred between these eras was mainly sea-based for commercial reasons (sealing and whaling) and did not affect clothing design in any major way. At the beginning of the heroic era o

Convict Dress in Australia

Julia Clark, Linda Clark, Kim Simpson, Ian Terry and Elspeth Wishart

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Following the American War of Independence, Britain could no longer send convicts there, so one hundred and sixty thousand convicts were transported to the Australian colonies between 1788 and 1868. Their management, including clothing, was an enormous undertaking. Colonial penal authorities aimed to regulate convicts, make them easily identifiable, and classify them within the penal system. However, it was difficult to establish a coherent clothing system. Until the 1820s, convict clothing was o

Rural Dress in Australia

Jennifer Craik

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

A distinctive Australian sense of dress for Europeans is often considered to be bush wear, that is, clothes that have become synonymous with rural life and the outback. The typical elements of this rural dress include moleskin trousers, elastic-sided boots, cotton or wool shirt, bush jacket (in denim, wool, or leather) or waterproof oilskin coat, and a wide-brimmed felt hat. These garments are typically worn by men, so particular traits of masculinity are woven into the image of Australian bush w

Swimwear, Surfwear, and the Bronzed Body in Australia

Jennifer Craik

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

For many people, Australia is synonymous with the dream of sun, surf, and sand. Australia is perceived as a land of leisure and lounging around—preferably by the water. In order to do this, Australians dress in a casual way in swimsuits, surfwear, or leisure wear such as tank tops (sleeveless, low-necked tops) or T-shirts, shorts, and thongs (rubber sandals). Sunhats are, of course, obligatory in the Australian climate if skin cancer is to be avoided. Accordingly, popular representations of this

Cosmetics and Beauty Culture in Australia

Jennifer Craik

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Cosmetics and beauty culture are forms of body modification that have a place in the language of all cultures of fashion and dress. Australia has both indigenous and European traditions of body modification and aesthetics. In precontact times indigenous traditions were centrally connected with ritualistic practices, but they were also about making the body attractive. After European settlement colonists largely followed the cosmetic practices and beauty cultures of Europe and America. Among Europ

Torres Strait Islander Dress, Australia

Anna Edmundson

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Torres Strait is a narrow underwater shelf connecting the northernmost tip of mainland Australia to the Gulf of Papua New Guinea. Torres Strait Islanders are the indigenous people of the region, which forms part of the Australian state of Queensland. The term ailan kastom (island custom) is used to denote those products and practices that are unique to the Torres Strait Islands, including dress.

Settler Dress in Australia

Damayanthie Eluwawalage

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Clothing was a problematic aspect of the social and cultural life of colonial Australia from the time of first settlement in 1788. Apart from military officers and civil officials, much everyday clothing was working-class wear. Yet fashionable dress was soon to become a key aspect of cultural practice, emphasizing the social status and power of the elite and aspirational elite, as well as being a symbolic indicator of class. Status signals were important in this fledgling society made up of dispa

Jews in the Melbourne Garment Trade

Anna Epstein

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

For a large part of the twentieth century the garment trade was an important industry in the southern Australian state of Victoria. Since clothing was a big part of the country’s manufacturing, the Jews of the garment trade made a large contribution to Australia’s economy. This multifaceted industry had its own economic and social history, gorgeous products, and camaraderie and color at its heart, Flinders Lane. It gave rise to the individualism, flair, entrepreneurial spirit, and sheer fun that

The Australiana Phenomenon in Australia

Sally Gray

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The 1970s and 1980s saw a trend in Australian fashion design, consumption, fashion writing, and exhibitions toward the celebration of “Australianness,” including flora, fauna, urban vernacular themes, Aboriginal art motifs, and the idea of a national “personality” in dress. While this preoccupation was not unique to these decades, it was associated then with a wide range of clothing, leading designers like Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson, and key dates in Australian cultural history—including the Bic

Aboriginal Dress in Arnhem Land

Louise Hamby

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The items that Aboriginal people wore on their bodies in Arnhem Land, an Aboriginal reserve in the top portion of the Northern Territory, before contact with outsiders from Macassar and the rest of Australia, were influenced by environmental, cultural, and social factors. The landscape varies from the coast; Arnhem Land changes from escarpment to open woodlands. It has a monsoonal climate with hot to warm temperatures in both the wet and the dry seasons. Bodily items were not worn for warmth, pro

Global Positioning of Australian Fashion

Robyn Healy

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Over the years Australia has found it difficult to establish a presence in the fashion centers of Europe and the United States. Yet when Sydney fashion designer Collette Dinnigan staged a full-scale parade in the 1995 official Paris ready-to-wear calendar, it changed forever the perception of Australian fashion as being somewhat out of touch. This defining moment sparked debate and extensive media coverage about a new wave of emerging designers and was crucial in the development of the local indu

Dress and Fashion Education: Design and Business

Jane E. Hegland

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Haute couture education can be traced back to Louis XIV’s court, where French fashions were promoted through fashion dolls. Early education was informal, mostly based on apprenticeships. In the nineteenth century, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture was formed, providing a formalized education for couturiers. By 1927, the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne emerged as a universally recognized institution. Since these beginnings, the design and business of fashion has expa

Ceremonial and Religious Dress in Australia

Lynne Hume

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

While indigenous Australians have occupied the continent of Australia for over forty thousand years, the British, including convicts, only began arriving in 1788 on the First Fleet, and Christian clergy arrived with them. Religion, customs, and dress of Europeans in those early years of colonization were based on the motherland of Great Britain, the settlers being largely monocultural. Since then Australian ceremonial and religious dress has been characterized by considerable diversity, and in th

Subcultural and Alternative Dress in Australia

Glynis Jones

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

From the beginning of European settlement in New South Wales in 1788, Australians were using alternative forms of dress, body decoration, and modification, visibly expressing individual and collective identities, aesthetic codes, values, beliefs, and cultural experiences different from the dominant culture. Some developed personal style statements, and others have been part of collective subcultural expressions linked to interests, lifestyles, and philosophies. Most have been youth-generated, chi

Aboriginal Dress in Australia: Evidence and Resources

Philip Jones

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

As Bernard Smith, eminent historian of the art of colonial encounter, has demonstrated so clearly, Australian Aboriginal people have often been portrayed in terms of “hard primitivism.” Their minimalist suite of material possessions, their enforced nomadism and capacity to survive the harshest conditions, has been readily juxtaposed with the “soft primitivism” of hierarchically organized and sedentary Pacific peoples. This tendency can be traced from the earliest descriptions made by Dutch seafar

Urban Menswear in Australia

Vicki Karaminas

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Australia was relatively sparsely populated with Europeans until the discovery of gold in 1851. Immigration, together with increased urbanization and industrialization, led to growing prosperity for its colonies. A new class of professional city men, civil servants and entrepreneurs, emerged. While the governing class had always looked to Britain for their styles of fashionable dress, men abandoned the diversity of everyday town dress in the early colonies and began to conform to European standar

Aboriginal Dress in North Queensland, Australia

Kate Khan

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Although there had been occasional contact between Europeans and Aboriginal people in north Queensland since 1606, by the 1860s the increasing influx of Europeans and Chinese occupying Aboriginal lands made conflict inevitable. Until the 1870s tribal groups living in the rain forest region of Cape York Peninsula, north Queensland, escaped the upheavals of foreign contact and continued to lead the life of successful hunter-gatherers in this rich natural environment. Many items were unique to the r

Aboriginal Dress in Southeast Australia

Sylvia Kleinert

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Dress embodies a complex system of meanings in Aboriginal society. On the one hand, dress is seen to be pivotal to the formation of individual and group identity, articulating relationships between private and public. On the other hand, dress expands our understanding of the way in which Aboriginal people have engaged in cross-cultural relations with a colonial regime. Prior to European contact, the dressed body and its embellishment with artifacts encoded multiple meanings as a marker of individ

Wool

Ingun Grimstad Klepp

Translated by Stig Erik Sørheim

Kjetil Enstad

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Wool is probably the first fiber humans used, and throughout history it has been not only the most utilized fiber but also a commodity of great economic significance. In the twenty-first century, wool plays a more modest role and is primarily associated with quality and tradition.

Making and Retailing Exclusive Dress in Australia—1940s to 1960s

Roger Leong

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

From the 1940s through to the 1960s a handful of Australian society dressmakers, milliners, and quality stores made and sold couture-quality fashion. These key purveyors of exclusive and custom-made dress were found mainly in Sydney and Melbourne. They catered to an elite group of women, regarded as the leaders of fashionable society, whose demands for exclusive styles grew considerably after World War II. In the same period a small number of media organizations and department stores joined force

Geographical and Geopolitical Introduction

Margaret Maynard

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Pacific region covers a vast geographic area. From the continent of Australia it reaches its southernmost point at Antarctica, while to the north it extends to the shores of Asia, and to the west, the Americas. It includes all the island groups of Micronesia, Polynesia, and Melanesia. The first inhabitants arrived between forty thousand and sixty thousand years ago and populated Australia and New Guinea with successive waves of Austronesians, settling island after island. The Māori were among

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