- List of Illustrations
- Notes on Contributors
- Citizen Consumers: The Athenian Democracy and The Origins of Western Consumption
- Things in Between: Splendour and Excess in Ming China
- Material Culture in Seventeenth-Century ‘Britain’: The Matter of Domestic Consumption
- Africa and The Global Lives of Things
- Transatlantic Consumption
- The Global Exchange of Food and Drugs
- From India to the World: Cotton and Fashionability
- Luxury, the Luxury Trades, and the Roots of Industrial Growth: A Global Perspective
- City and Country: Home, Possessions, and Diet, Western Europe 1600–1800
- Standard of Living, Consumption, and Political Economy Over the Past 500 Years
- Sites of Consumption in Early Modern Europe
- Public Spaces, Knowledge, and Sociability
- Small Shops and Department Stores
- Comfort and Convenience: Temporality and Practice
- Consumption of Energy
- Saving and Spending
- Consumer Activism, Consumer Regimes, and the Consumer Movement: Rethinking the History of Consumer Politics in the United States
- Consumption and Nationalism: China
- National Socialism and Consumption
- Things Under Socialism: The Soviet Experience
- Unexpected Subversions: Modern Colonialism, Globalization, and Commodity Culture
- Consumption, Consumerism, and Japanese Modernity
- Consumer Movements
- The Politics of Everyday Life
- Status, Lifestyle, and Taste
- Domesticity and Beyond: Gender, Family, and Consumption in Modern Europe
- Children's Consumption in History
- Youth and Consumption
- Self and Body
- Consumption and Well-Being
Abstract and Keywords
Since at least the nineteenth century, cotton has been the most important textile fibre in the world. In 1913, cotton accounted for 80 per cent of global fibre consumption: cotton consumption for textile uses was about 4 billion kilograms, while that of wool, the second most important fibre, was about 700 million kilograms. In 1990, even after the rise of synthetic fibres, which accounted for 38 per cent of global fibre use in textiles, cotton accounted for 48 per cent of world fibre share and wool had slumped to the low proportion of 4.9 per cent. The appeal of cotton lay in its fashionability, which was often associated with the exotic, the hard to get, the item that came from afar. Cotton textiles, many from the Indian subcontinent, satisfied these fashion desires for the rare and the unusual. This article explores cotton and fashionability in India. After discussing cotton textiles, it looks at the diffusion of Indian cottons in Africa and Asia, as well as in Europe and the Atlantic world.
Prasannan Parthasarathi teaches South Asian and Global History at Boston College. His publications include The Transition to a Colonial Economy: Weavers, Merchants and Kings in South India, 1720–1800 (Cambridge, 2001), The Spinning World: A Global History of Cotton Textiles, 1200–1850 (edited with Giorgio Riello) (Oxford, 2009), and Why Europe Grew Rich and Asia Did Not: Global Economic Divergence, 1600–1850 (Cambridge, 2011).
Giorgio Riello is Associate Professor in Global History and Culture at the University of Warwick. He is the author of A Foot in the Past (Oxford, 2006) and he is currently completing a monograph entitled Global Cotton: How an Asian Fibre Changed the World Economy (Cambridge, forthcoming 2012).
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