Institute of Draped Clothes

Newsletter 7, May 2000



1. news
2. IDC in the USA
3. about an African drape
4. a new point of view on plaids
5. a personal note from Chantal

1. News:

*** In Mexico, Universidad del Valle de Mexico, on May 12th, presents the collection "Oriental Cultures", based on Indian, Chinese and Japanese traditional garments, brought into modern life.
from IDC member Maricela Lojero, who designs draped garments.

*** We are getting close to 100 members in the USA alone, so it is great news that soon there will be a registered IDC-USA! See § 2.

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

2. IDC in the USA:

Pauline Pavon, who regularly contributes to this newsletter, has taken the courageous step to initiate IDC-USA.
Her Email is:
<>, please get in touch with her if you would like to help.
There will be more about this in our next newsletters.

3. About an African drape: Kente cloth.

Thanks to Pauline Pavon, for the following:

On a recent public television program, in which an American man was filming a documentary in Africa, his host in Ghana brought him to the local marketplace to shop for kente cloth, the local attire. I was excited when I caught site of the cloth he had been speaking of, not only because it was unusually beautiful, but because it was worn as a draped garment. I later learned that this richly patterned fabric garment, is worn by both men and women, though the drape is gender specific. The color, pattern and size of the fabric used to strongly denote social position, and even though certain color themes still have symbolic meanings, it is much less so in modern Ghana. PBS Online (USA Public Broadcasting System) has more information about kente cloth, and how it is draped.

Kente cloth introduction -

Kente cloth video clip -

4. A new point of view on plaids.

Dominic Eckersley offers us a new perspective on the "belted plaide":

I am particularly interested in the culture of the Indo-Europeans, both Asian and European. A native of the United Kingdom, I wear what is now refered to as the Great Highland Kilt, of "belted plaide". It has been understood that this garment preceded the modern Kilt for some time now. The belted plaide is a garment which is also draped and belted around the waist. The way in which this is done today, generally, is, in my opinion, a 19th century reconstruction. I feel that I am able to demonstrate clearly, that Celts wore garments so similar to the saris of India as to be almost indistinguishable. A coin from Aetolia dated at 279 bc shows an individual wearing what is clearly a knee length "nivi" style draped garment. Most of the paintings prior to 1745 (a time at which the British Government banned the wearing of tartan) appear to show men wearing draped wollen cloth, albeit folded lengthways first to shorten the overall garment to knee length. There appear to be two styles of draping, both of which you describe in the book, "Saris: An Illustrated Guide to the Indian Art of Draping". The more common is similar to the style called Gujarati although the men do not take it over the head (the women do). One can also see the "modern" drape described in the book, where the "mundanai" part is rolled over the left arm and not carried over the shoulder.

The method of draping the plaid with the wearer lying on the ground is
quite counter intuitive. Moreover in direct conflict with the iconography. I have already disputed this with Scottish Kilt suppliers who disagree and consider the iconography to be worthless. However, I do have many pictures from 17th century Scotland which quite clearly demonstrate my thesis. In fact, until 1745 or so, there is no other method in the iconographic record that I can find.

Dominic Eckersley

5. A personal note from Chantal:

Once again this newsletter is a bit late, but this time I have a good excuse: I was waiting to include info about IDC-USA and Dominic's contribution on plaids.
Writing this newsletter is getting easier as I get more contributions! So please send them in! Do not hesitate to react to contributions and add your own. As the weather is warming, it is time to get your cloth out and draped!
The creation of IDC-USA is a great news, and I will be watching its development.
Thank you all for your support and please help us get more members. We have very limited means and depend on each of you to reach out.

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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