Taking a global, multicultural, social, and economic perspective, this work explores the diverse and colourful history of human attire. From prehistoric times to the age of globalization, articles cover the evolution of clothing utility, style, production, and commerce, including accessories (shoes, hats, gloves, handbags, and jewellery) for men, women, and children.
Dress for different climates, occupations, recreational activities, religious observances, rites of passages, and other human needs and purposes - from hunting and warfare to sports and space exploration - are examined in depth and detail. Fashion and design trends in diverse historical periods, regions and countries, and social and ethnic groups constitute a major area of coverage, as does the evolution of materials (from animal fur to textiles to synthetic fabrics) and production methods (from sewing and weaving to industrial manufacturing and computer-aided design). Dress as a reflection of social status, intellectual and artistic trends, economic conditions, cultural exchange, and modern media marketing are recurring themes. Influential figures and institutions in fashion design, industry and manufacturing, retail sales, production technologies, and related fields are also covered.
Case studies of Chinese workers in a variety of settings: state enterprises, urban collectives, domestic private enterprises and foreign funded enterprises, are examined through an analytical framework which lays out why labour rights violations have been occurring in China.