What Did Slaves Wear? Textile Regimes In The French Caribbean

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This study of the dress of enslaved men and women in the French Antilles is based on a critical examination of written and pictorial sources. Analyzing work clothes, by law masters’ responsibility, and festive apparel, which slaves themselves procured, the article focuses on the possibilities and limits of subordinate populations’ innovation in material culture. With comparisons to sartorial practices of enslaved people and other groups in the Caribbean and in the larger world, the paper addresses issues in the history of consumption and of the Atlantic basin in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, arguing that both standardization and diversification were fundamental features of early modern globalization.


Atlantic, Caribbean, slaves, dress, globalization