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.
in which radical fashion students transform the industry and design training
in which a city is famous for its network of municipal clothes libraries
in which all textiles are used initially as curtains before being remade into clothes
in which members of a niche movement personify a book for a year via their clothes
in which blue clothes, which cannot be sold, are traded at community hubs
in which mass production is rejected in favour of locally derived ‘base-lines’
in which usable elements of damaged garments are traded as spare parts
in which fabric making is located on and integrated with the body
in which a child-led uprising transforms industry and consumer practices
in which prehistoric humans used plants, rather than skins, to clothe the body
in which everyone on the planet is restricted to a capsule wardrobe
in which professional menders, like tattoo artists, help to tell stories
in which digital fashion marketplaces limit the need for physical clothing
in which the film and TV industry recirculates the clothes used in production
in which celebrities must wear secondhand clothes, influencing others
in which the centre of fashion ends and the periphery thrives
in which disposal of clothes is illegal and makers have ongoing responsibility
in which sewing becomes an unstoppable trend among young people
in which a textile-inclusive STTEM curriculum leads to a skill-share community
in which wartime ‘digging for victory’ leads to widespread natural dyeing practices
in which Cuba leads a post-capitalist heirloom-chain economy
in which school uniform libraries transform attitudes to pre-worn clothing
in which a popular uprising leads to worldwide policies for clothing durability
in which secondhand-only editorial styling turns fashion upside down
in which post-Brexit Britain seeks to become a world leader in crafts
in which radical influencers exclusively dress from their parents’ wardrobes
in which the textile industry learns from the paper industry to minimise waste
in which tanneries become museums to discover the mistakes of the past
in which the purpose of the fashion ‘season’ is turned on its head
in which people rush back to the villages in search of greenery, food and clothing
in which young men become obsessed with sewing
in which a commission on fashion’s role in ecocide is underway
in which people wear a single outfit for the rest of their lives
in which subsidised clothing factories are accessible to local people
in which a radical global environmental strategy has led to nomadic lifestyles
in which every high street has a repair salon, each with its own unique style
in which commercial clothes production has ceased and people dress ‘by chance’
in which making by hand is a quasi-devotional act and path to ‘enlightenment’
in which learning to sew is a teenage rite of passage, like learning to drive
in which clothing is deeply embedded in enduring subcultural communities
in which the WWII Utility Clothing Scheme continues to the present day
in which local councils run free libraries of occasional and formal wear
in which clothes rationing has led to local distinctiveness
in which eye-catching fashion statements are constructed from foliage
in which community laundries are thriving social hubs
in which chemical dyes have been banned worldwide
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.