The modern day rain poncho is certainly designed for practical desirability, but not necessarily visual desirability.
rain poncho was first developed in the 15th century by the Inuits, a
group of indigenous people in what is today Greenland, Canada, and the
United States. The Inuits had to fare wet oceans as they hunted for
fish. To keep dry, they used seal and whale intestines to create
protective gear that kept water out. The garments were thin,
lightweight, and see-through. As depicted below, these early ponchos
surprisingly resembled today’s ponchos.
south, in Central and South America, natives were developing heavy
cloth ponchos for uses other than rain. These ponchos became a
distinctive element of Latin American culture.
In the 1920s,
Charles Mackintosh created a heavy fabric that was able to repel water.
Since the 1920s, advances in fabric technology have allowed raincoats to
become more lightweight. Today, rain ponchos are made in lightweight,
compressible fabrics so that they can be rolled up, stored, and easily
transported. There is plenty of room under a poncho – to keep you and
all of your belongings dry.