Westernisation and colonialism: the age of empires

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The Fashion History Reader: Global Perspectives, 2010, 1, pp. 357 - 364
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Fashion, in the age before the mechanical reproduction of objects and images, could only be limited in its reach. Scholars over the last century have discussed, and mostly disagl'eed, on the extent to which fashion inftuenced the lives of billions of people across the globe. This Reader suggests that fashion, however one might define it, is a phenomenon that goes back in time at least to the Middle Ages, if not earlier, and had substantial importance not just for the rich and famous living in the period before the nineteenth century (monarchs, the court, and rich merchants) but also for the 'common people'. Yet these ideas are mostly applied to the West and in particular to those rich parts of Western Europe, and later North America, South Africa and Australia that enjoyed increasing consumption from the eighteenth century onwards, industrialisation, urbanisation/ and in the twentieth century experienced the rise of the afftuent middle class and its leisured lifestyle.
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