At first glance, a scarf might not seem like much—just a simple length of colored fabric. However, the more one delves into the history of scarves, the more one realizes the immense and varied power of these pieces of clothing.

Fashion

Most obviously, scarves have been used in Western countries as a fashion accessory. This practice goes back to the 18th century (if not earlier), when women began wearing large kerchiefs or “fichus” to cover bodices with low necklines. The trend started in the UK and became popular in the United States and France.

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In addition to helping women maintain an air of modesty, fichus and scarves could add a touch of flair to an ensemble. In the early days of the scarf, one especially popular style was a lightweight shawl made of silk and cashmere. Napoleon’s first wife, Empress Joséphine, had an impressively large collection of them.

Status and Prestige

Scarves are still a mainstay of high fashion. As such, a scarf can also signify one’s social and financial status. In the 1950s, French couturiers like the House of Dior would send limited edition scarvesto valued, longtime clients as a way of saying, “Thank you.” The famous New York restaurant 21 did the same thing—its owners commissioned pieces from major designers and sent them to regulars up until the 1970s.

Today, brands like Echo and especially Hermès are known for their beautiful, finely crafted scarves. Their ads and marketing emphasize the idea that their pieces embody class and sophistication.

Artistic Expression

Scarves have also provided a space for artists to experiment. In the 1940s, Ascher London owner Zika Ascher reached out to artists for a design that the company could print as a scarf. The people who said “yes” are an impressive group—it includes Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.

40s art critic Sacheverell Sitwell called Ascher’s “Artist Squares” project “something like a revolution.” He went on to declare, “Not a few of these Ascher scarves will be framed upon walls a hundred years from now, for they are among the best and most characteristic products of our day.”

VIDA is proud to offer scarves, wraps, jewelry and other finely crafted yet affordable pieces by artists from around the globe. The company uses direct-to-fabric digital printing to produce items at scale and share its designers’ visions with the world.

About VIDA

VIDA is a global partnership that aims to reinvent commerce for today’s interconnected world community. Customers can find a scarf, a sleeveless top and other garments and accessories designed by artists from all over the world.

For more information and to browse the company’s collection, visit Shopvida.com