A contraption used to extract the silk from a spider

The Tangled History of Weaving with Spider Silk

Spider silk is as strong as steel and as light as a feather, but attempts to industrialize its production have gotten stuck, so to speak.
"The Macaroni. A real Character at the late Masquerade", mezzotint by Philip Dawe, 1773

The Gender-Bending Style of Yankee Doodle’s Macaroni

The outlandish "macaroni" style of 18th-century England blurred the boundaries of gender, as well as class and nationality.
Victorian gloves

What Gloves Meant to the Victorians

According to one historian, the year 1900 was “the zenith of glove-wearing,” when any self-respecting Victorian (British or American) wouldn’t be caught dead without covered hands.
Sari drape

Why Saris are Indian Material Culture

Between 1996 and 2003, a folklorist studied the connection between handlooms (technology), sari makers (producers), and sari wearers (consumers) in the ancient city of Banaras.
Michelle Obama portrait

What Amy Sherald Tells Us with Michelle Obama’s Dress

How do the artistic inspirations that portrait artist Amy Sherald cites for Michelle Obama’s dress impact our visual and cultural understanding of the portrait for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery?
18th century hoop skirt

Why Hoop Petticoats Were Scandalous

In the 18th century a new trend in women's underwear sparked public scandal: the hoop petticoat. How the world became obsessed with what was under women’s skirts.
Kilts

How Highlanders Came to Wear Kilts

Kilts are traditional garb from Scotland, right? Well, that's not quite the whole story.

Fashion Forward: How Three Revolutionary Fabrics Are Greening the Industry

Kelp, yeast, and sequestered methane gas are on the forefront of the move to create environmentally friendly clothing
Kimono pattern

The Surprising History of the Kimono

The kimono that the world associates with Japan was actually created in the late-nineteenth century as a cultural identifier.
Red London Double Decker Bus

Coffee-Powered Buses, Cannabis Megafarms, and a Fashionable Facelift

Britiain's red double-deckers will run on spent coffee grounds. California cannabis farms may now mushroom in size. Fashion is due for an ecological shift.