In many countries, people wear more western-style clothes (suits and jeans) than their traditional clothes. Why? Is it a positive or negative development?
Western clothing styles have widely conquered the hearts and closets of people all over the world, especially suits and jeans which have found their place in the wardrobes of rich and poor, celebrities and common people. There are several reasons behind this pervasive dressing style.
Clothing styles change over time for a variety of reasons. Although environmental changes can have drastic effects, trade causes the quickest shifts in a culture’s clothing styles. The prevalence of western styles throughout the world indicates the global dominance of western trade. Meanwhile, cultural currents flowing through Europe also facilitate the spread of this clothing style. Colonies with western settlers followed fashion trends back home and picked up the attire that way. Other countries, such as Japan, China and Russia, willingly adopted the dressing style as a part of their modernization efforts. They wished to catch up with and compete with the West and they believed that this required them to abandon many of their old traditions in favor of the new industries and styles that made the West successful. And the shift from traditional wear to western attire bears practical and conceptual reasons as well. For example, jeans are thick, strong and long lasting. They require little maintenance and anybody will swear for its durability. Suits are prone to be taken as a symbol of elite.
On the other hand, this seemingly inevitable trend exerts negative impact on local culture. Since western style clothes flourished in many countries, the traditional apparel industry has been radically weakened. As textile manufacturing became more efficient and increasingly cheaper to purchase the mass-produced jeans and suits rather than spend large amount of time and resources sewing or embroidering, the traditional crafts and skills are gradually vanishing. It is not uncommon that the traditional costumes have almost disappeared or are on the way to disappear under this pressure.
In conclusion, the domination of western culture and the practicality of the clothing itself make it an inevitable trend that prevails many countries. However, the loss of culture identity is indeed a cause of regret.