It takes no effort whatever for us to speak a thought using our mouths. And making others aware of our mood and meaning using gestures and body positioning is similarly easy, and largely unconscious. But this vast symbol set I call Attire cannot be created and used entirely on ones own. We rely on a multiplicity of others to give us the words we use each day.
Its not just some designer somewhere, or some dressmaker or tailor. Though they have their roles in the process of bringing the clothing words we require to us, they aren't the whole story by a long shot.
At the very beginning of this process are farmers and ranchers. Farmers who harvest silk, cotton, and flax, and ranchers who raise sheep, goats and cattle. They raise up the raw materials from which almost everything we wear emerges. So, a raw bundle of un-carded wool has already seen the touch and care of multiple sets of hands.
All these raw stuffs need to be shipped to factories where they get spun into threads of various denier weights; so shipping companies, and truck drivers come into the process. More hands, and its still not even cloth yet.
Then various chemical processes happen, bleaching, dyeing, and stabilizing materials get used to color the thread and keep it pest free. Only then can cloth begin to happen. These days, the mills that make cloth are often the same ones who deal with making the thread they require, but it still happens that once that thread is made, it gets loaded onto another truck to go to another place. So, even more hands.
So, when you go shopping next time, take a moment to stop, and hold that dress in your hand, and think about the rows of people standing behind that garment, whose labors give you the Attire words you use every day of your life.