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Celtic Clothing

The influence Celts had on clothing across the world is most impressive. Descendents of early Indo-Europeans, the Celts design influenced central Asia and Europe. The Celts were intrigued by color and intricate patterns, thought to have been suggested by the colorful clothing of the tribes in India. Some books and movies portray the Celts as wearing dull-looking tattered clothing but this is hardly representative of what historians and archaeologists have found during research and excavation. The Celts not only had a love for garish patterns but also were far advanced in fabric making, enough so to have signature patterns and weaves.

The earliest evidence of materials to make clothing were made out of vegetable fibres and then woven grass. But as early as 5,000 BCE linen was being produced as a viable fabric. Once people learned to domesticate animals for their own survival, wool was collected from sheep and woven into fabric. The early evidence of this wool shows the sheep were mostly brown in color but people eventually learned to breed the lighter colored sheep from each litter and the wool collected became lighter and lighter in color until most of the flock were light in color as we would recognize in modern day flocks. The Celts primarily used wool for their clothing and the lighter colors made the fabric perfect for dyeing. The Celts were advanced in dye making by all accounts. The Celtic people discovered which plants made the best dye and began producing red, yellow, and blue and then mixing them to create other colors. This provided proof for historians evidence of an early understanding of primary colors.

There are records of the Celts idea of heaven being called "Green Erin" which is the nickname given to Ireland. Green is symbolic of Ireland, which was also known as the Emerald Isle because of the multitude of clover plants covering the entire island.

Celtic clothing was made primarily of wool with bright checked or herringbone patterns. The Celts became quite adept at weaving their own patterns on looms with hand-dyed wool. Can you imagine wearing wool undergarments and all wool clothing? Sounds dreadfully itchy but kept the Celts warm and dry in their daily life.