Jumlo, T87.0143
Posted: Jan 8th, 2020 | Collection Spotlight

In honour of Button Day, a very real holiday, our Object of the Week is a garment from Pakistan called a jumlo, made in the 1950s.

The jumlo was one of the most lavishly embroidered and embellished garments in South Asia, and worn by Muslim women in Indus Kohistan. This North Western region of Pakistan has long been a trading hub, with people coming from modern-day Afghanistan, central Asia, and Northern India to buy and sell goods. The jumlo, worn with full trousers (shalwar) and an embroidered shawl (chuprai), was often embellished with trade items like coins, buttons, even key chains and old zippers. The addition of these embellishments was perhaps as a testament to the wealth and connectedness of the wearer, and a way to signify ones individual status and style.

There are three main parts to a jumlo: the bodice, the sleeves, and the large skirt. It is usually made with black cotton, and the fabric is cut and pieced together on a mannequin. Their bodices and sleeves are heavily decorated – this dress is decorated with plastic buttons, applied metal, beads, and coins.

Their voluminous skirts are hand sewn together, and made with hundreds of triangular gores (insets or godets). Each jumlo could take months to complete, and required a great deal of effort and skill.

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