The Worlds

The first stage of Fashion Fictions generates outlines of fictional fashion cultures and systems – Worlds – presented via 100-word sketches. These outlines are used in the workshops and ‘everyday dress’ projects: participants will build on, adapt and even reinvent the proposed cultures and systems as they prototype and enact them.

Each outline offers a brief sketch of an alternative fashion culture or system, including an explanation of the historical juncture – genuine or invented – which caused this parallel world to split off from our own. It is accompanied by a ‘what if’ question that summarises the fiction, the underlying issue it addresses, and the inspiration which informed it.

These outlines have been written by a range of contributors, credited by name or anonymously on each World page.

World 47

in which radical fashion students transform the industry and design training

World 46

in which a city is famous for its network of municipal clothes libraries

World 45

in which all textiles are used initially as curtains before being remade into clothes

World 44

in which members of a niche movement personify a book for a year via their clothes

World 43

in which blue clothes, which cannot be sold, are traded at community hubs

World 42

in which mass production is rejected in favour of locally derived ‘base-lines’

World 41

in which usable elements of damaged garments are traded as spare parts

World 40

in which fabric making is located on and integrated with the body

World 39

in which a child-led uprising transforms industry and consumer practices

World 38

in which prehistoric humans used plants, rather than skins, to clothe the body

World 37

in which everyone on the planet is restricted to a capsule wardrobe

World 36

in which professional menders, like tattoo artists, help to tell stories

World 35

in which digital fashion marketplaces limit the need for physical clothing

World 34

in which the film and TV industry recirculates the clothes used in production

World 33

in which celebrities must wear secondhand clothes, influencing others

World 32

in which the centre of fashion ends and the periphery thrives

World 31

in which disposal of clothes is illegal and makers have ongoing responsibility

World 30

in which sewing becomes an unstoppable trend among young people

World 29

in which a textile-inclusive STTEM curriculum leads to a skill-share community

World 28

in which wartime ‘digging for victory’ leads to widespread natural dyeing practices

World 27

in which Cuba leads a post-capitalist heirloom-chain economy

World 26

in which school uniform libraries transform attitudes to pre-worn clothing

World 25

in which a popular uprising leads to worldwide policies for clothing durability

World 24

in which secondhand-only editorial styling turns fashion upside down

World 23

in which post-Brexit Britain seeks to become a world leader in crafts

World 22

in which radical influencers exclusively dress from their parents’ wardrobes

World 21

in which the textile industry learns from the paper industry to minimise waste

World 20

in which tanneries become museums to discover the mistakes of the past

World 19

in which the purpose of the fashion ‘season’ is turned on its head

World 18

in which people rush back to the villages in search of greenery, food and clothing

World 17

in which young men become obsessed with sewing

World 16

in which a commission on fashion’s role in ecocide is underway

World 15

in which people wear a single outfit for the rest of their lives

World 14

in which subsidised clothing factories are accessible to local people

World 13

in which a radical global environmental strategy has led to nomadic lifestyles

World 12

in which every high street has a repair salon, each with its own unique style

World 11

in which commercial clothes production has ceased and people dress ‘by chance’

World 10

in which making by hand is a quasi-devotional act and path to ‘enlightenment’

World 9

in which learning to sew is a teenage rite of passage, like learning to drive

World 8

in which clothing is deeply embedded in enduring subcultural communities

World 7

in which the WWII Utility Clothing Scheme continues to the present day

World 6

in which local councils run free libraries of occasional and formal wear

World 5

in which clothes rationing has led to local distinctiveness

World 4

in which eye-catching fashion statements are constructed from foliage

World 3

in which community laundries are thriving social hubs

World 2

in which chemical dyes have been banned worldwide

World 1

in which the buying and selling of clothing has long been illegal

Reminded of something?

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

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

Have another idea?

Ideas for new Worlds are welcomed! Click here to find out more.

Inspired to explore?

I am looking for people to take part in workshops and ‘everyday dress’ projects exploring these Worlds. To find out more and express interest, click here.

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