London’s launch of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club fashion Band was launch in London in May 1967. It was a fashion and musical landmark. John Lennon stole all the spotlight, despite the fact that the Beatles wore the most unusual clothes. A frilled, green shirt worn by John Lennon, along with maroon corduroy trousers and canary-yellow socks.
He also wore corduroy shoes with two unusual additions. The first was a leather scarf, while the second was an Afghan sheepskin jacket. Both worn with the fur on the inside and the skin on the outside. It was tan yellow with large red flowers and had a sleeve that was embroider with red roses.
They became an extremely popular fashion trend with a long life expectancy. Celebrities wore Afghans in the 1960s. They became a standard piece of youth clothing for the better part of a decade and were an emblem of the counterculture and the archetypal hippie outfit.
They enjoy a resurgence that was inspire by Penny Lane’s role in the 2000 film Almost Famous. Their international embrace change the way coats are made and looked like. These coats were only possible because Afghanistan was changing its relationship with the rest.
Medium, Long Or Short
Traditional Afghan coats came in three types: sleeveless or shorter-sleeved hip length vests known collectively as pustinchas, knee-length long-sleeved coats called pustakis, and an ankle-length cloak known as pustins.
Men cured the skins and tanned them yellow using the rinds from pomegranates. They then cut the pieces into pieces and sewn them together. Women and girls embroider the pieces with geometric and floral patterns, often in red or yellow. They were sometimes bear, fox, or goat skins, but more often karakul (a long-haired breed) of sheep.
Although they are often portrayed as only for men, they were also worn by women, and were so common in winter that they were even considered Afghan national dress.
The smaller pustins and pustakis were usually more affordable for the poor. These coats would be more expensive if they purchased the larger pustins.
High-ranking government officials, wealthy merchants, and wealthy clerics purchased lavishly decorated pustins to show their wealth. Maynard Owen Williams, the first National Geographic Society field correspondent in 1946, considered the pustin the ultimate in masculine chic. He wrote that the archetypal Afghan man was dressed in red-embroidered sheepskin.
Ghazni, located south of Kabul, was their main source. Sylvia Matheson, a British archaeologist, discovered that there were “one shop after the other selling only pustin in this area.
Matheson was attracted to white fur but decided they were too difficult for her winter fieldwork. Matheson chose a brown-furred pustincha, which was still enchanting, the yellow skin completely covered in tightly stitched flowers of red pillarbox, with a touch of periwinkle.
Hippie Commerce Fashion
More foreigners arrived in Afghanistan from the 1960s, when a program of modernisation saw significant numbers of women move to new areas and get paid work. A few westerners arrived in Kabul by plane with large amounts of money.
It was open by the Intercontinental Group in 1969. The majority of western visitors were hippies, who, according to J. C. E. Bowen, travel overland in every type of clapped-out motor car, through Kabul’s bottleneck, on their way to the imagined Elysium at Kathmandu.
The Shahr-e Naw was their main destination. It was a suburb in the garden close to Kabul’s city centre. Chicken Street was once a place for poultry sellers. It became a tourist area with antique shops and clothing and embroidery stores as well as carpet dealers. Tony Wheeler, in Across Asia on The Cheap, the first Lonely Planet guide published in 1973, described Chicken Street the freak centre of Kabul.
Hippie capitalism was commonplace. Some people traveled to find local products that they could sell back to the West. If they were able to make a profit, they imported more.
Richard Neville, an Australian of Oz Magazine fame who purchased a pustincha while traveling overland from Sydney, Australia to London in 1965, was a proponent of this type commerce.
Neville recognized the larger exchange of dresses in Afghanistan and other countries along the Hippie Trail by publishing Play Power, his 1970 manifesto for hippies and manual. He advised:
You can sell your western-style jeans in Nepal and long leather boots in Morocco. You could make 500% profit by bringing back lambskin jackets from Kabul. Then you could triple your profits with antique robes.