draping

Ancient Greek Design in ETL

There are striking similarities between the first ETL collection and ancient Greek and Roman tunic designs. Here are the top three.

(1) Draped by Your Own Fair Hands:

Modern dress incorporates quite a bit of sewn structure. ETL garments are sewn, yes, but you have to drape the garments to finish the process. Just like the ancient Greeks! Of course, their choice was driven largely by necessity. Before such technology as the needle was widely used, cloth was used in an un-cut and un-sewn form, and tied around the body.

(Side note: Read this blog post about how stitched clothing was not prevalent in Southeast Asia until the 1500s)

Ancient:

Photo by  Nick van den Berg  on  Unsplash  (Note: not an ancient statute, but rather a modern interpretation of ancient dress)

Photo by Nick van den Berg on Unsplash (Note: not an ancient statute, but rather a modern interpretation of ancient dress)

ETL:



(2) Use of Gathering:

Gathering is the act of bringing more fabric than necessary together at a point. Gathering is done with stitches at the top of Athena with the Sashes, and in most modern sewing. The first ETL design, Athena with the Sashes, was inspired by depictions of the Greek goddess Athena, and traditional styles of Greek clothing. Gathering, in ancient times, was done with a … rope.

ETL:

Athena with the Sashes

Athena with the Sashes

Ancient:

Gathering is done with a belt rope, as seen in these depictions of Athena in the Parthenon replica in Nashville, Tennessee, and at the Temple of Athena Nike at Parthenon!

Athena at the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee - by  Geoff Stearns , used cropping pursuant to CC Attribution 2.0 Generic  License .

Athena at the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee - by Geoff Stearns, used cropping pursuant to CC Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

Temple of Athena Nike at Parthenon. Photo by  Luca Nicoletti  on  Unsplash

Temple of Athena Nike at Parthenon. Photo by Luca Nicoletti on Unsplash

(3) Femininity and Sensuality

Maybe it’s just the lack of sewn edges, or maybe depictions of Ancient Greco-Roman women just celebrates womanly, natural body shapes, but I think it’s awesome either way. The first ETL collection uses stretch to accommodate curves, and is designed for a shapely figure.

Ancient:

Image of Roman statute of Minerva by  rottonara  from Pixabay

Image of Roman statute of Minerva by rottonara from Pixabay

ETL:

Draping and the Invention of Stitched Clothing

ETL's first collection passes on the experience of "draping" clothing to ... you. Formerly the domain of ancient peoples and fashion designers, such as Madame Gres (AKA Alix Barton) was known as Queen of the Drape, ETL's spring/summer collection includes many opportunities to "manipulate fabric" and create your own "sculpture" in cloth, like the Athena.

But thousands of years before ETL, draping wasn't just artistic -- it was a necessary alternative to sewing . . .

"Ancient" peoples used draping in clothes for thousands of years despite the availability of stitching during that time. I'm researching the Sari for ETL's winter collection (photos of my sketchbook below). Although people in (what we now know as) India stitched as early as 2700-1700 B.C., the sari, known as the national dress of Indian women, was a draped garment without stitching for thousands of years thereafter.

sketchbookindianfashion

Stitched garments were likely in demand in Indian society by the 1st century B.C. In the famous Ramayana, King Ravana's brother wears a "kanchuka", a long tunic with sleeves (i.e. stitching). Yet, a traveler Ibn Battuta describes the non-sewn dress of women in the southern district of Karnataka in the fourteenth century:

"The women of this town and all the coastal districts wear nothing but loose, unsewn garments, one end of which they gird round their waists and drape over their head and shoulders."

Of course, regardless of the availability of stitched clothes, not just anyone could wear them. Through the fifteenth century, Indian persons who were not of noble birth were not allowed to wear stitched clothing (among other prohibitions in dress). 

So then what happened to draping? The invention of machine sewing ensured that stitched clothing is more available than ever today. Draping is still taught at fashion schools but rarely used other than by ateliers at the highest price points. Draping is not ideal for mass-produced clothing, and draping = more fabric = more expense. 

Luckily, I'm not making mass-produced clothing. I'm draping. You are too. Try the Athena for starters.

Happy Mother's Day and a thank you to my mother, my mother's mother, and those that came before and wore draped clothing,

Emma

fashionsketchbookdraping