Textiles have been an important part of human life since the beginning of civilization, but the methods and materials used to create it have changed and expanded significantly as mankind has evolved, while the functions of textiles remain the same, being the fundamental basis for its development.
The history of textile art is also the history of international trade and the development of transcontinental contacts. An example of this is the phenomenon of the Great Silk Road, which in the vast expanses from the Mediterranean to the Pacific Ocean connected various countries and peoples, linked their material, artistic and spiritual culture. Ideas, techniques, crafts were interchanging on this route for many centuries.
It was the center of ancient civilizations, counting its history long before 1500 BC. Great trade cities such as Kashgar, Kokand, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Kunya Urgench, Merv and Nishapur appeared at the crossroads of the Silk Road. Linking Turkey, the Caucasus, Western China, Iran, Afghanistan and India, caravan routes turned them into one huge, unique cultural and economic zone. Free movement of people and ideas in this area contributed to the emergence of a number of prominent encyclopedists, scientists, poets and philosophers and their schools — Ibn Sino, Beruni, Al-Fargoni, Al-Khorezmi, Rudaki, Navoi. The majestic medieval mausoleums, mosques and madrasahs of Central Asia testify to the exquisite craftsmanship of artisans. To this day, Bukhara, the city core of Khiva — Ichan-Kala, Temurids era architectural masterpieces of Samarkand and Shakhrisabz, which have preserved their charm of antiquity, are a very precious and fragile heritage not only of architecture and art, but also of textile craftsmanship that flourished in these fertile lands.
The history of the origin and development of weaving and fashion goes into the graying antiquity of civilization, developing and improving together with man and his needs, satisfying his eternal desire for beauty and perfection through fashion delights. Each meter of textile material produced in our days, bears the memory and knowledge accumulated over centuries and millennia, during which our masters-ancestors by practicing one of the oldest crafts created masterpieces of weaving art that glorified our country and to the present day enchants both professionals and tourists by unrivalled craftsmanship and unique beauty of products.
Today, hardly anyone can name the exact date of origin of textile production on the Earth. At least 6 thousand years ago, before the appearance of the first chemical fibers (at the end of the XIX century) people already knew and used the four most important natural fibers: flax, cotton, wool and silk, which were mastered and used for the production of fabrics by prehistoric man according to the technological scheme: growing – spinning – weaving.
Archaeological excavations prove that even at the earliest stages of development people were able to grow and process these fibers into products. Along with the development of human culture, with the development of scientific and technological progress, the theoretical knowledge of mankind about weaving, as well as practical technological mechanisms for processing semi-finished products and obtaining textiles, grew. As a branch of large industry, the textile sector was formed in the II half of the XVIII century. Technical progress in the textile industry was stimulated by such inventions as spinning machine, loom, card machine, which led to the transition of the textile industry from the stage of small-scale manufacturing to the stage of large-scale machine industry.
Today, textiles are considered as an integral, organic part of the cultural heritage of the mankind, which is one of the most attractive factors in the development of traditional knowledge and customs of different peoples of the world. If you have been a tourist in any country, then when visiting museums, you probably noticed that in the exhibition, along with masterpieces of arts and decorative and applied creativity, the unique copies of clothes of the past centuries are stored with care. The largest museums in the world such as the Louvre (Paris, France), the Hermitage (St. Petersburg, Russia), the folklore and ethnographic museum of the history of the peoples of Russia and others have rich collection of antique clothing. Our national museums with a rich collection of national clothing, shoes, accessories and hats of the past (Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts of Uzbekistan, State Museum of Arts of Uzbekistan, Museum named after Savitskiy in Karakalpak region of Uzbekistan, Samarkand Costume Museum) are no exception.
The traditions of textile production, going from century to century, from millennium to millennium, were formed and developed in each country on the basis of local material base and its cultural, aesthetic and national characteristics. That’s why each country-producer has its own, unique textiles and artistic design products. The process of technology development has allowed to replace a very time-consuming crafted method of textile manufacturing with machine-driven process and to start mass industrial production (spinning looms, sewing machines, etc.). However, despite the replacement of manual labor with machinery, the high traditions of weaving craftsmanship, carefully passed down from generation to generation, are unshakable as cultural national values.
Today, the textile and garment-knitting industries of the light industry are part of the world’s leading branches of economy. It accounts for 5.7% of world industrial production and employs more than 14% of the population. The production of fabrics and clothing is an important source of income and employment in many countries, including developing countries. The industry is characterized by constant growth due to the increase in the population of the Earth and the increase in its well-being.
Since the second half of the XX century, the textile industry has become a global industry. Therefore, the state of the world textile and light industry and the prospects for its development are considered against the background of global trends.
The global textile industry is a unique example of the dynamic development of the industry. Since the beginning of the II half of the XX century to date, it is characterized by a continuous growth of the most important indicators of development — increasing production capacity, expanding the range of products, improving the quality characteristics and intensity of international trade flows with short-term fluctuations. Thus, today the volume of international trade in clothing and textiles is 4% of world exports.
For most of the developed countries of the world, it is the light industry, primarily textiles and clothing, that has become at certain stages a springboard for rapid economic growth (as it was two centuries ago in the more developed countries during the period of initial capital accumulation). These industries have played a major role in promoting the economic development of Europe, certain regions of South and South-East Asia, the United States and other countries in the key positions of the economy.