Newsletter 21 - September-October 2001

1. news
2. the “langota”
3. wearing draped clothes in Arizona
4. how to drape sarongs
5. saris for sale
6. re-creation of ancient saris
7. a personal note from Chantal

1. NEWS:

*** Symposium on wrapping and draping as a generic way of clothing the body:
Wrapped & Draped: Alternative Fashions
University of Minnesota - September 14-16, 2001
For details, look at:

*** IDC members can now offer or buy saris through this web page:

*** If you know or participate in an event, web site, etc. connected with draping, please let us know. This “news” feature is yours!

By Prof. Dattatray Parasnis

It surprises me that the Indian wrap-round male underwear known as 'langota' has not been described anywhere. If you let a search engine like or look for it you will find a number of pages where it is mentioned but nowhere is there any description of it or how it is worn. I am sending you a sketch of the 'langota' and a description of how it is put on (below). The word is pronounced as one would in English the combination 'lung-oat'.

The great Mogul Zahiruddin Muhammad Babar, the founder of the Mogul dynasty who ruled India, mentions in his fascinating memoirs for the Muslim year 932 (by our reckoning 18 October 1525 to 7 October 1526) that the peasants and simpler people of India wear no clothes but a 'langota'. The worn appearance of this garment seems to have been much the same as the present 'langota' or the Japanese fundoshi, but from Babar's description, it seems to have been a two-piece garment.

Unlike fundoshi, which seems to be disappearing in Japan, the langota is in use among a section of the male population in India. It is almost mandatory for traditional wrestling, gymnastics, asanas in Yoga, playing kabbadi, old martial art training in South India etc. When I was young it was the only underwear many men ever used.

By Adam Burke

I enjoy so many things about the culture of India, and draped clothing is among them. When I visited India (Delhi) in 1998, I purchased a dhoti, and I have enjoyed wearing it here in Arizona, even though virtually no one wears dhotis around here. I've enjoyed sharing with others how much I like them, how comfortable, neat, simple and practical they are.

I have another "draped" experience to share. A few years ago, my musical partner and I played an outdoor show associated with Christmas, in December. December in Arizona can still be quite cold, so our fingers hurt as we tried to play our lutes and drums. Fortunately, we were dressed "Arabic" style, and we learned that night just how much sense those clothes make on a chilly desert night. As the cold wind blew clouds of sandy dust around, we pulled the ends of our “ghutrah” [the cotton, checkered head-wear worn by Arabs and notably by Yasar Arafat] across our faces and tucked them in, in a traditional way. This kept our lips from freezing and the dust out of our mouths! We subsequently wore our ghutrahs as we hiked in the hot desert and, again, they proved a most appropriate and comfortable garment of many uses!

I am so glad you are involved in helping to keep draped clothing alive! Sadly, it seems that many wonderful and ancient traditions are getting lost under the push for more technology, materialism, and "prosperity." I hope the world does not forget that true wealth is had in a simple life with warm relations among people. Thank you for your efforts!


We haved in our “yahoo egroup” a lot of files describing how to wear sarongs in many different ways. It shows the versatility of something as simple as a sarong!
You can see them one by one on: , click on "files" on the left handside menu, and then click on "Sarongs" to open the folder.
Or... you can go to the web page: and see them all in one go!

Also check out the web site :
Which is very detailed on African female headdresses. If you click on “how to...”, at the bottom of the page, you’ll also be shown how to drape a skirt-like (or rather “veshti-like”!) garment that goes with the headdress.


In our last newsletter, I offered for sale some 9 yard saris. Due to the overwhelming demand, I decided to buy some saris in India in September and send them from there. If you are interested, please have a look at this web page:
Please note that requests MUST reach me before Sept. 5th!

I also offered to IDC members who have extra saris for sale to put them on offer. So we now have some beautiful silk saris (6-yard) for sale. They are at very reasonable price (US$30 for most of them).
To view them, look at:
If you have some saris for sale, do not hesitate to let me know at:
You too can post saris on this web page, and this is free for IDC members.


It is no surprize that many IDC members are part of the Society for Creative Anachronism. After all, draped clothes have been more popular in the past! Two members are even teaching how to drape saris at some events. I also received several emails about ancient saris. Here is one excerpt:
“I bought a short sari (I think it is about 5 yards long) with a heavily brocaded pallav--I think it has real silver thread in it--and was having a problem figuring out how to wear it to my best advantage. I am positive that it will look best using the Fishtail sari, and since I will most likely only wear it at SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) events, I shouldn't upset anyone who might not approve of me wearing such a drape.”
Jeanne Pool


I had the visit of a family of IDC members from Nevada in August, who were visiting London. It was a pleasure to discuss saris and draped clothes together!
I am going to India in September, until mid-October. This explains why we won’t have a newsletter in October. Happily I received enough contributions to make this a “double-issue” newsletter!
Nevertheless, if you have important news to communicate to our group, please send me an email or send it to the egroup.
Things are happening, but we still need your help! I have had some answers to our campaign of free books for institutions and of course this month there is this very promising symposium at the University of Minnesota. Hopefully this will be the start of a wider acceptance of the art of draped clothes.
I also thank all the contributors to this and past newsletters. Please keep on sending contributions. This gives life to our newsletter!

Thank you for your help and support.

Best wishes!

Please do not hesitate to send any question, suggestion, criticism.
If you have some links to suggest, please let us know!
If you wish to write something for the newsletter, please do so and Email it to <>.

Institute of Draped Clothes


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