World 49

After a series of devastating natural disasters in 1999, world leaders were no longer able to ignore the fact that overproduction was directly linked to catastrophic ecological events. Humans abandoned systems founded on obsolescence and infinite growth, replacing them with systems of sustenance.

By 2021 waged labour was abolished. World 49 is a ludic society where people provide for one another through play and experimentation. Their clothing reflects the convivial, ludic nature of their society, self-provision and self-expression are highly prized, as is longevity and circularity. Free of time constraints, the reward for making is the experience of the activity itself.

What if …

waged labour was abolished?

Issue targeted:

overproduction, sustainability and exploitation of garment workers


Bob Black

This World was contributed by Matthew Crowley (located in London, UK) using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the author and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.

Response to World 49

There are strong parallels with the counter-culture movement in the 1960s in this world, particularly in respect of the colourful, playful clothing that is worn in a society where a new work ethic has been adopted. Although written very much in the real world of the period, activist Abbie Hoffman’s 1970 book, “Steal This Book” provides an excellent manual on how to disengage with paid work and ‘the system’.

– Julie Ripley

Does this World remind you of something?

I am keen to hear about any historical or contemporary real-world examples – whether individual practices, subcultures or mainstream activities – that this fiction brings to mind.

Please share any such examples using this form. Thank you!

Published by Amy Twigger Holroyd

explorer of Fashion Fictions