An Amish catechism manual devotes nine pages and forty-three questions and answers to dress – second only to the topic of heaven. In hypermodernity, dress articulates individuality and personal taste. In Amish life, clothing expresses exactly the opposite meaning. When members wear Amish garb, they relinquish their right to self-expression and signal their commitment to communal authority. Clothing that shows off one’s individuality produces a proud, haughty person, and pride is considered an abomination in the eyes of God.
Dress is a visual system of human communication that aids in defining social identity and interactions across space and time. For organised religious faiths, techniques of adornment have always operated as effective communicators of religious identity, also assisting to reinforce the boundaries between the sacred and the secular, believers and non-believers.
Written in 1922, and later translated to English in 1951, Siddhartha is a seminal work by the German author Hermann Hesse. The cultural influence of Siddhartha reached its apex in the context of the Sixties, in the burgeoning hippy era of the time, but the book has lasting resonance as a point of reference of early contact for the West with the alternative philosophies and narratives that became increasingly popular to experiment and explore with.