Future fashion has been the subject of speculation for centuries. For as long as people have paid attention to trends, someone has always been out to start a new one, to be the first to do the next big thing. Almost every science fiction classic lingers, at least briefly, on the matter of what’s being worn.
With the advent of the 3D printer that can print in plastics, paper, and other mediums, the future of fashion is closer than ever. Printers can print elegant, custom-fitted casts that are as much adornment as medical device, laser cutters can carve out elaborate patterns and intricate lace in the blink of an eye. Some scientists are looking to refine recyclable household items from clothes to dishes: why wash it when you can simply remake it?
If one were to believe Barbarella and countless science fiction films since, the future isn’t going to require a lot of fabric—maybe less material than it would take to make a place setting. Climate change and intensifying solar radiation may put an end to that fantasy as full-coverage comes into style to keep us healthy, not modest. Take heart, with warmer temperatures becoming the norm indoors, in order to save money and reduce pollution, we may go nearly-naked as soon as we’re out of the sun.
In our future setting of the Pandora Project, uniforms are quite common. Simple, egalitarian, work-safe, easy to produce, and time-saving, uniforms have a place both in and out of the military. Beyond that, our characters’ clothing is often a nod to the past. Formalwear includes the ancient toga and barely more modern tuxedo, casual dress includes kilts, traditional hand-dyed tunics, and even jeans.
When people express themselves through clothing in our future world, they often reflect their culture and their past, accented by their individuality. It’s a way to express the diversity of Earth’s cultures and to stay connected with the foundations that make our characters who they are.
In the present, we are often looking to the future. When we get there, we’ll no doubt want to remember where we came from.
Anah Crow and Dianne Fox write sci-fi, paranormal, and contemporary queer romance for Carina Press, Samhain Publishing, and Amber Allure. They’ve been writing together for more than 10 years. You can find them on the web at anahcrowdiannefox.com and on Twitter at @anahcrow and @diannefox.