Tailor’s Guilds and Their Influence on the Formation of Women’s Rural Dress in Central Europe in Early Modern Times
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The aim of the study is to capture the process of the formation of women’s rural dress in Central Europe in the early Middle Ages. This period brought many new impulses to women’s clothing which resulted both in the emergence of national styles of clothing (Italian, German, and Hungarian), and the rapid adoption of pan-European fashion waves of Spanish and later French fashion clothing. This took root in the noble environment first, and then in the cities. The study tries to answer the question in what way these novelties were mediated to rural residents and who did this. The author shows how the field of competences of city tailor guilds spread from cities to adjacent manors, the residents in which were forced to have their garments made exclusively by guild tailors. Thanks to noble decrees, tailor pattern books served, among other things, as models for most garments made for subjected rural residents. The author analyses period depictions, inventories of estates, and estates to orphans. He shows that most hitherto written works fail when connecting the depictions and the terms for garments, the mutual relation of which is rather illustrative than comparative. The problem consists in little knowledge of cut constructions and their period terms. The solution can be brought about by the study of guild books with tailor’s patterns, which include cut constructions and period terms. From the 16th and 17th centuries, these books have survived from the various territories of contemporary Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Austria, and Germany. Due to this we can conduct necessary comparative research into iconographic, constructional, and written sources in Central Europe, and to acquire new information about men’s and women’s clothing and basic garments.
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