What changes occurred in British clothing due to the introduction of new materials and technology?
Before the 17th century, women in Britain used clothes made of flax, linen or wool, which were difficult to clean. Trade with India brought cheap, beautiful and easy to maintain Indian clothes within the reach of many Europeans. There was a massive change occurred in British clothing which can be explained in the following ways
(i) During the Industrial Revolution, in the 19th century, Britain started the mass manufacture of , cotton textiles. Then cotton clothes became more accessible to a wider section of people.
(ii) By the 19th century, artificial fibres made clothes cheaper and easier to wash and maintain. Clothes became lighter, shorter^and simpler.
(iii) Heavy, restrictive underclothes were gradually discarded due to the campaign created by women’s magazines. Women’s clothes were ankle length until 1914, as they had been since the 30th century.
(iv) During First World War, a large numbers of women started to work in ammunition factories. So, clothes became plainer, simpler and skirts became shorter.
(v) Social attitudes about clothing were also dramatically changing. The pressure of new times made people feel the need for change.