The study of the history of clothing and textiles traces the availability and use of textiles and other materials and the development of technology for the making of clothing over human history. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of most human societies. It is not known when humans began wearing clothes but anthropologists believe that animal skins and vegetation were adapted into coverings as protection from cold, heat and rain, especially as humans migrated to new climates; and an alternative hypothesis is that covering may have been first used for other purposes, such as magic, decoration, cult, or prestige, and later found to be practical as well. Clothing and textiles have been important in human history and reflects the materials available to a civilization as well as the technologies that had been mastered. The social significance of the finished product reflects their culture.
Textiles can be felt or spun fibers made into yarn and subsequently netted, looped, knit or woven to make fabrics, which appeared in the Middle East during the late stone age. From the ancient times to the present day, methods of textile production have continually evolved, and the choices of textiles available have influenced how people carried their possessions, clothed themselves, and decorated their surroundings.
Sources available for the study of clothing and textiles include material remains discovered via archaeology; representation of textiles and their manufacture in art; and documents concerning the manufacture, acquisition, use, and trade of fabrics, tools, and finished garments. Scholarship of textile history, especially its earlier stages, is part of material culture studies