I’m keen for others to contribute their own fictional fashion Worlds – both because daydreaming about alternative fashion systems is fun, and because many heads are much better than one! All ideas received will be added to the website and considered for use in subsequent workshops and ‘everyday dress’ projects.
You can submit your World via this form.
Before having a go at the form, please read the rest of this page to learn the rules of the game, and have a look at the current Worlds to get an idea of the format. If you have any questions, please email me – I’m happy to help!
There are occasional events to support you to write a World, including a Being Human online workshop on 16 November (now fully booked) and an online workshop on 22 November organised by New York-based fashion think tank Fashion Forward. If you’d like to be notified of future World-writing workshops, please get in touch.
Please bear in mind that your contribution may be adapted, remixed, combined with others or otherwise altered – whether to create a new 100-word outline or by groups building on the fiction in future.
With that in mind, all contributors are required to agree to a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence being applied to their submission. This will allow others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the original creators (i.e. you) and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.
Parameters for Fashion Fictions
These are the rules of the game! All of the Fashion Fictions Worlds should:
- Describe parallel presents, rather than speculative futures (think The Man in the High Castle, not Blade Runner 2049)
- Be physically possible (no magic, aliens, time travel or speculative technologies that aren’t viable in the here-and-now)
- Be positive and enticing, in terms of individual satisfaction and sustainability more broadly, rather than dystopian (though there might have been some hard times in the World’s history, and it won’t necessarily be a perfect utopia)
- Explore social and cultural factors, rather than technological change (think social fiction rather than science fiction)
- Focus attention on use and associated practices such as loaning and sharing, rather than production and conventional consumption (as the aim of the initiative is to think about people using clothes differently, not designing and producing clothes differently)
- Think beyond what happens, or even feels plausible, today – in the author’s experience (this might involve amplifying an existing individual practice into a thriving subculture, or a marginal culture into the mainstream)
- Include an explanation of the historical juncture – genuine or invented – which caused this parallel world to split off from our own.
Earth Logic Fashion Research Action Plan by Kate Fletcher and Mathilda Tham presents a radical vision for fashion, a vision which recognises that sustainability cannot be achieved within the ‘growth logic’ of the current system. Three key ideas within the plan provide valuable starting points for dreaming up new Fashion Fictions.
LESS calls us to imagine living with fewer goods and materials, with a focus on things such as:
- ways of caring for and continuing the use of existing clothes
- fashion activity that takes place outside the narrow lens of consumerism
- practices such as thrift, gifting and passing on clothes between friends and family
LOCAL prompts us to think about fashion that is rooted in and adapted to its local environment, exploring ideas such as:
- fashion activities that sustain the places they are based in
- decentralised modes of garment production and use
- distinctive localised cultures
PLURAL challenges us to think up new centres for making fashion with space for a diversity of voices, including:
- fashion which challenges ablebodyism, ageism, sizeism
- fashion which values different ways of knowing and being
- new relationships between fashion, nature and non-human species
Inspiration for ‘what if’ ideas that work within these landscapes are all around us. We can explore other spheres, and transpose ideas and systems to the sphere of fashion. We can hunt out non-commercial fashion practices which persist, despite everything, in the margins. And we can spin out imagined subcultures and mainstream activities from tales of resourceful individual fashion practices – such as those collected in Kate Fletcher’s wonderful Craft of Use book and the related Local Wisdom website.
Or perhaps you are a dreamer who already has a Fashion Fiction within you, bursting to get out!
Ready to submit?
The contribution form has fields for a ‘what if’ suggestion, an issue to be addressed, a mention of inspiration and the outline itself. You’re very welcome to fill in as many or as few of these fields as you prefer – so you could just pose a one-line ‘what if’, or submit a much more developed scenario.
The form also asks for your location in order to get a sense of the fashion culture or system that you are ‘thinking beyond’ for this challenge. What feels ‘normal’ and possible will, of course, be different in different cultural contexts.