Adam Grice is Senior Technician for Graphics, Web and Film at the Fashion & Textiles Institute.
I’ve always been fascinated by pockets…
Deriving their name from the Norman diminutive of the Old French word ‘Poke’ (the modern French word is poche) a pocket is a bag or envelope-like receptacle either fastened to or inserted into an article of clothing to hold small items. One also finds them attached to luggage, satchels and similar.
With origins shrouded in the mists of time (the oldest known European mummy – circa 3,300 BC was discovered on the border between Austria and Italy with a pouch sewn to his belt) the full extent of the pocket’s history is as much a mystery as what might be contained within…
Over time the separate bag or pouch has been incorporated into our garments and our collective consciousness. In European clothing they have evolved from the ‘fitchets’ of the 13th century (a slit in a garment designed to give easy access to a purse or keys kept safe within), to pouches worn like a purse on a belt under an overcoat or tunic to deter thieves.
In modern apparel we enjoy watch pockets, patch pockets, flap pockets, welt pockets, jetted pockets, inset pockets, bellows pockets, waterproof pockets to name but a few.
The simplicity, the versatility, the practical, utilitarian functionality of the pocket is a thing of wonder. Who among us has not squirreled away a handful of loose change, pocketed a bunch of keys or deposited a keepsake in a garment cavity? Continue reading