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 Explorations (Stage 2 prototyping workshops and Stage 3 ‘everyday dress’ projects): participants will build on, adapt and even reinvent the proposed cultures and systems as they develop 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.

World 114

in which a society hides underground for 500 years to avoid colonisation

World 113

in which coloured clothing, changed every ten years, identifies the wearer’s age

World 112

in which Thailand’s self-sufficiency philosophies gain global influence

World 111

in which body imperfections and modifications are celebrated via clothing

World 110

in which new fabrics can no longer be produced

World 109

in which fashion designers become repair artisans in every area

World 108

in which clothes are made from scent-infused yarns, supporting well-being

World 107

in which garments are exchanged like money

World 106

in which each citizen receives 20kg of silk yarn as their birthright

World 105

in which a countercultural movement resists exploitative corporations

World 104

in which Singapore must maximise use of its local resources

World 103

in which Japanese, rather than Western, culture dominates Southeast Asia

World 102

in which a pandemic has caused everyone to see only in grayscale

World 101

in which garments are designed and produced in clear view of consumers

World 100

in which consumers are fully informed of the impacts of each purchase

World 99

in which ‘coolhunters’ are vilified and local notions of coolness flourish

World 98

in which a peaceful and prosperous Africa has never been colonised

World 97

in which wearing stained and soiled clothing signifies style and prosperity

World 96

in which for centuries textiles have been made only from plant-based food waste

World 95

in which Kim Kardashian and fellow influencers promote sustainable clothing use

World 94

in which globalised trade is no longer possible due to microbial transfer

World 93

in which intergenerational teaching and learning supports resourcefulness

World 92

in which mending skills abound on a land mass forgotten for 500 years

World 91

in which a Sewing, Theatre, Ecology, and Mindfulness curriculum guides learning

World 90

in which crinoline-like clothing forms are worn by all

World 89

in which ‘dandy grannies’ are key fashion influencers

World 88

in which genderless fashion dates back as far as the Spanish Armada

World 87

in which clothes start to tell their owners the stories of their own production

World 86

in which commercial space stations require a new approach to fashion

World 85

in which The Emperor’s New Clothes is interpreted as fact rather than fiction

World 84

in which sweatshop production is illegal, prompting a rise in making

World 83

in which sewing is a highly regarded core school subject

World 82

in which citizens must disassemble garments into their component materials

World 81

in which global supply chains are terminated and localised fashions emerge

World 80

in which wearing the same outfit for a month is considered normal

World 79

in which brands must manufacture all garments within their own postcode

World 78

in which oversupply of fabric waste leads to its use in the building trade

World 77

in which intimate knowledge of garments’ material inputs leads to a culture of gratitude

World 76

in which genderless school uniforms are made from locally grown undyed cotton

World 75

in which plant and flower pigments are injected to colour human skin

World 74

in which textiles are used to grow food from seed before being remade into clothing

World 73

in which diverse body types are glorified and clothes are unsized

World 72

in which wild one-night-only rented assemblages are worn at speakeasy clubs

World 71

in which water and power shortages lead to a shift in the nation’s laundry habits

World 70

in which we wear bio-monitoring spacesuits, cleaned by electricity

World 69

in which textile production has been discontinued and fashion has fractured

World 68

in which people wear only black and white, with no colour permitted

World 67

in which a clothing tax leads to nudity becoming common in everyday life

World 66

in which clothes are better adapted to our bodies and are mended many times

World 65

in which consumers must spend time working in agricultural fibre production

World 64

in which uniform garments are issued; surface accessories express the self

World 63

in which lockdown seeds new human-nonhuman communities

World 62

in which clothes are sold via Teletext, increasing garment literacy

World 61

in which increased hemp cultivation unexpectedly leads to gender-free fashion

World 60

in which fashion focuses on zero waste lifestyles, Maker skills and upcycling

World 59

in which a local focus on textile waste transforms clothing practices

World 58

in which hyperlocal production is coupled with a culture of virtual worlds

World 57

in which a tailor-made clothing movement has spread from town to town

World 56

in which citizen oversight of scientific research leads to responsible polyester use

World 55

in which cities have shared community wardrobes and fashion is a party

World 54

in which adults can own only 10 items of clothing at any time

World 53

in which biological garments are grown at home or in local material-makeries

World 52

in which a global digital network connects custom-makers and clients

World 51

in which the Covid pandemic prompts the emergence of a new system of consuming

World 50

in which people connect via unique signatures sewn into each others’ clothing

World 49

in which waged labour is abolished, creating a convivial, ludic society

World 48

in which talent competitions and Nobel Prizes reward textile resourcefulness

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

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.

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