Alatzas handwoven fabrics during the early industrial period in Greece (1880-1920)

Linda Welters, University of Rhode Island


In the Greek provinces of Argolida and Corinthia, women wove striped or checked cotton fabrics called alatzas for a variety of purposes including clothing. Alatzas fabrics are not well understood, as they represent a relatively short transitional period from the older forms of village dress based on Byzantine prototypes to modern Western ready-to-wear attire. In the Peloponnese, they appear about 1890 and fade away after the Second World War. These fabrics represent the first stage of development in Greece's early industrial period. Improved transportation, particularly the railroad, brought manufactured goods to market towns where they were sold in shops or peddled to outlying villages. These goods included machine-spun cotton yarns, aniline dyes, sewing machines, commercial patterns, ribbons and other trims. This fieldwork study provides an insider perspective on the introduction of the concept of fashion to isolated villages, which informs our understanding of the process of fashion itself. © Costume Society of America 2013.