- A wide range of clothing, together with significant symbolism, defines the dress of non-Western cultures. Although this text focuses on the Western world, a similar domination existed in other parts of the globe where royalty, empires, and influential rulers impacted fashion. This impact by and large was limited to specific regions; however, when cultures interacted, a broader influence took place.Other areas of the world that played a role in fashion's history include Asia (China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan), South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, and Bangladesh), Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines), the Pacific Islands (Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga, the Marquesas, and Cook's Islands), Central Asia (the areas formerly known as Turkmenistan), Africa (particularly Morocco), and South America. As empires and colonies developed, the trend of borrowing silhouettes, textiles, and embellishments deepened.Europe's early contact with China not only stimulated trade, it directly influenced fashion. Silk from China and textiles from India and Turkey became the rage of royalty in Europe. By the seventeenth century this "borrowing" of dress from China, Japan, and South Asia was defined as influences or sources of inspiration known as Orientalism.In reviewing some of the pure non-Western silhouettes, one can easily trace the sources of inspiration for some of the most dramatic and influential trends of the fashion world. Beginning in France in the eighteenth century and continuing through the nineteenth century, chinoiserie was a favorite inspiration for Mariano Fortuny and French designers Paul Poiret, the Callot Sisters, and Jeanne Paquin. Other designers drew inspiration from Japanese kimonos and butterfly prints. Non-Western cultures that have made substantial fashion contributions are Indonesia, defined by the sarong; the Pacific Islands, with the pareo; China, which presented the qipao, cheongsam, dragon robe, and Mao suit; Vietnam, with its the ao dai; and Japan, which offered the kimono. From India came the sari, kamiz, salwar, burga, kurta pajama, turban, and Nehru jacket; from Turkey came the harem pants; and from Morocco were the djellaba and Zouave pants. The African dashiki and South American gaucho pants are just a few examples of ethnic dress that has been adapted and reinterpreted by fashion designers.The Chinese qipao, although not very old, became a staple of Chinese dress for women in the 1920s. It is, in fact, based on the traditional Chinese men's gown, the cheongsam. The evolution of the qipao took place in China's fashion capital Shanghai where the form-fitting, ankle-length garment with short cap sleeves is known today as the Suzie Wong dress or cheongsam. The Communist takeover of China in the late 1940s resulted in the end of the qipoa for women and the male cheongsam was replaced with the Mao suit. In Vietnam, the national costume, ao dai, has evolved with the current variation developed in the 1970s.The emerging fashion industry of the 1970s and 1980s infused Western influences into traditional Chinese dress. Also, even if in a smaller way, Hong Kong became a fashion center, especially for ready-to-wear manufacturing. Today, the People's Republic of China is known mostly as a copier of designs sourced from Europe and the United States; however, the country is a mammoth force within the manufacturing sector. As it strives to become a respected design hub in the twenty-first century, it lays claim to Chinese American fashion designers Anna Sui, Vivian Tam, and Zang Toi.Today, the Japanese kimono is worn almost exclusively for special occasions, such as significant events in life. Japanese brides wear a traditional kimono for the marriage ceremony and change into Eastern traditional bridal dress for the non-Western celebration.Globalization has had a direct impact on the purity of Eastern dress. Fashion is no longer exclusive to the West and the East has adapted Western influences in creating "fashion" just as the West has adapted Eastern influences in creating "fashion." Designers Donna Karen, Yeohlee, Anna Sui, Valentino, and Yves Saint Laurent are just a few where traditional Eastern clothing has influenced their collections.
Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. Francesca Sterlacci and Joanne Arbuckle.
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