Why did men from Spain to Sweden start to shave their heads and wear someone else’s hair in the mid-seventeenth century? Why did women decide that it was necessary to wear masks and other full-face coverings in public towards the end of the century? What was the economic and social impact of the sudden proliferation of ribbon-making machines?
Funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA), this project takes fashion seriously, asking the simple question: how and why did certain goods such as wigs, new textiles, ribbons, ruffs and lace become successful in early modern Europe while others failed? How far did these goods travel and how were they transmitted across linguistic, social and geographic borders? These are questions that remain relevant and our project demonstrates how a study of creativity and innovation as an economic and cultural force in the past can help our understanding of the same issues today.