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Ireland’s Fashion & How it was different from England’s

By the time invading English banned traditional Irish clothing, both men and women were wearing tunics, Kilts, Mantle and cloaks made of wool. Saffron was the most popular colour for clothing, but English rule banned saffron colour with political intention. However due to ban, Irish people started wearing variations on English costume. However geographical proximity and similar environmental condition leads to many similarity with Scotland and England’s traditional dress.    


The traditional dress worn for dance symbolizes and inspired by peasants’ costumes from former centuries. The traditional dress generally has embellished patterns. In 20th century, innovative styles stared emerging and the dress designs are not necessarily inspired by traditional, as the increase of dance schools in late 19th century led to individual dance school innovate its own idiosyncratic dress pattern. Traditionally preferred colours are saffron, yellow, green and white. Saffron was the most popular colour for clothing, but English rule banned saffron colour with political intention.


Kilt was part of traditional Irish costume, particularly as it’s frequently worn by male step dancers. The Irish kilt becomes popular between 18th and 19th century as per some researches. Kilts became popular in the step-dance world in early 19th century and after that its fashion explodes in country.


Popular from 12th Century, Mantle was a kind of movable item of clothing typically used to cover indoor clothing to serve the same purpose as an overcoat. Historically the expression illustrates an extended, slack shawl like cover used in 12th century by men and women. Fashion changed after evolution of machine, Industrial revolution takes place in 18th century and textile production process changed completely. In 20th and 21st Century various designs and patterns were created and described as Mantle, gradually many wobbly fitting shaped outer clothing similar to a cape become popular worldwide, mainly in extremely cold countries. Dolman mantle was popular in 19th-century and its pattern was like a cape with partial sleeves.


Cloak is traditional dress and it looks like overcoat pattern. It protects the wearer from the cold, rain or wind. And lots of variation in cloaks pattern make it very fashionable outfit these days. Cloaks have been used by all classes of society for its benefits and style too. Extreme climate conditions encourage Cloak fashion as wearing a full-body garment which is easily removed and does not constrain the wearer with sleeves. For 21st century cloak designs have been completely modified to match fashion trend, market and technology.


Woollen sweaters were indispensable due to extreme winter conditions and these sweaters stitches had different designs and sense too. Some of the stitches in Aran sweaters contain customary connotations. The roundish honeycomb patterns stand for the hard work of the honey bee and the sweetness of the fruits of labour.


Even today contemporary dancers costume is inspired from traditional dresses. Female dancers frequently wear brightly coloured dresses with elaborate embellished designs, and as explained these schools of dancing have created exclusive designs for them. Now a day’s Celtic designs are also seen onto these dancers’ dresses. Many dancers costume comprise an elaborate, traditional Irish brooch called Tara to remember, conserve, promote and give respect to great artistry work of ancient inhabitants of the great Irish people.


About Author

MIFT ( Mysore Institute of Fashion Technology) students, trainee and scholars study and research about fashion, makeup, forecasting, e commerce, disruptive technologies in fashion & cosmetics industry. The primary research objective is to create open industry modular ecosystem platform for fashion designers and makeup artists to work and earn in hyper personal and local market using IR 4 and 5 ( industrial revolution) technologies to disrupt connected digitalization of mass production. 


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