History and Culture of Cypriot Dress

Dress is a multi-dimensional cultural phenomenon and its development is affected by many factors, climatic/geographical, historical, political, social, religious. Dress denotes difference or similarity, devotion and defiance.  National identity, class identity, gender or political allegiance, ethnic or regional distinctions are expressed in dress. Furthermore, dress is the mirror of history and culture, the outcome of the exploitation of local natural resources but also of imported materials acquired by trade; it reflects the technological standard at any given period, the political and financial situation, the social stratification, the religious beliefs, customs and rites; it incorporates tradition and reflects identity, as well as foreign influences selectively adopted and/or assimilated.The clothing commonly worn in the pre-industrial era is known as “traditional”. Contrary to fashion, traditional dress is characterized by conservatism and slow development.  The digital library facilitates the study and dissemination of the history of the Cypriot dress in its broader socioeconomic and cultural context. Utilizing the available written, visual and material evidence, primary focus is given to the early modern and modern eras corresponding to the periods of Ottoman and British rule in Cyprus. During this time the development of Cypriot dress mirrored aspects of the cultural identity, the daily life and the socioeconomic aspirations of the various strata of Cypriot society as they transitioned between the insular realities of Ottoman Cyprus and the island’s gradual Europeanization in the colonial context of the British Empire. The use of advanced digital technologies and applications offers a unique approach to an important aspect of Cypriot Cultural Heritage. Digital documentation, 2D and 3D imaging and database applications contributes to the creation of a web-based digital platform that will virtually narrate and explore the cultural development of the Cypriot dress. Furthermore, the project is an integral part of the framework of Dioptra, the Cyprus Institute’s digital library for Cypriot Culture. It is also worth mentioning that will be the first comprehensive attempt to utilize the great opportunities offered in the field of Digital Cultural Heritage for the study and dissemination of the history of dress in Cyprus.

Project under development