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Clothes are garments that protect the wearer from the elements. They also serve other purposes. Clothing can be worn to express individual taste or personality and to indicate social status. However, they can also perform other functions, such as preventing wind damage, protecting against cold conditions, and preventing UV radiation.

Clothes are made from different types of fabric, including cotton, wool, and rayon. They can be folded to retain their shape and to store compactly. Some fabrics may also be treated to give them a certain texture. In addition, they can be woven from various animal and vegetable fibers.

The first textiles were extracted in the Middle East during the late Stone Age. At that time, the fabric was woven from fibers like animal skins, grass, or tree barks. During the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing of textiles started to be mechanized. Since then, there has been a rapid increase in global consumption of clothing.

Modern societies often use clothing as a way to signal social status. Several cultures traditionally make clothing out of furs, skins, and other materials. For example, a traditional Hawaiian society only allowed high-ranking chiefs to wear feather cloaks. Similarly, some cultures make clothes from tassels and other materials found in nature. Others, such as the Javanese, make cloth that is uncut and held in place by belts.

Many modern cultures, especially those in the developed world, have adopted a “fast fashion” approach to clothing. This means that garments are manufactured for a short period of time and are sold at a low price. That’s in part because most clothes are made from people working for low wages.

The clothing industry has a complex history. Although it is not clear when humans began wearing clothes, some records suggest that they have been using clothes for more than a million years. As for the exact function of clothing, some cultures use clothing for protection against rain and wind, while others make clothes to dress up.

Some researchers have developed methods for sorting the textiles that are used in clothing. However, this is a labor-intensive process. And it’s not always easy to sort the textiles because they are blended. So, in the end, many textiles are simply lost.

Another method of mending is invisible mending. Using a solvent or another material to dissolve the threads in a fabric can destroy the garment. Luckily, some people are still willing to sew up rips and tears with thread raveled from the hems.

Unlike other industries, the textile industry isn’t a tidy industry. Clothing is often a messy process, and there is a lot of waste. But a well-designed and manufactured garment is a far better investment than a rag. It’s also more environmentally friendly than disposables.

Some clothes are made from recycled plastic. These clothes can break down naturally in landfills. If enough of them are recycled, they could be used to produce new fabrics. A major retail fashion brand is working with Algalife, a biotech company, to develop a line of clothing made from algae.