One of the things that inspired me to finally start this blog was a recent episode of Project Runway titled Welcome to the Future. In it the designers were challenged to come up with fashions that could be featured in Marie Claire 20 years from now. In order to do that, they had to imagine what that future might look like. Now, granted, the fact that the challenged assumed that the magazine would still exist 20 years from now means that they weren’t focused on an apocalypse, but I still felt like most of the designers didn’t take their stories far enough. One mentioned recycling, one made a small nod toward climate, but all I could think about were the questions they didn’t answer:
- Would the places we now inhabit become to hot or too cold and how could fashion compensate for that?
- What if the drought currently plaguing California and the southwest continues to get worse–how would the lack of water impact what we wear?
- Might the world be a more dangerous place requiring clothes that are also protection?
- Would our lives be more rooted or more nomadic?
My mind was filled with books and movies related to our possible future: Dune, Mad Max, The Man in the White Suit…
So imagine my excitement when I learned that there was an apocalypse-themed art show opening in my own town called End of Days.
Twenty-four artists were…asked to develop prophetic doomsday statements regarding how the end will come, and then…create clothing, accessories, and sculptural elements to address these prophecies and address issues related to human impact on the environment.
Which is pretty much exactly what I had been looking for. And though I would say the artists met with varying levels of success in terms of execution, each and every piece was thought-provoking–from the image of a virgin bride in her wedding dress and gas mask, to the sculptural dress of cabbage and leeks (my favorites being Sam by Thelma Mathias, At the 11th Hour Go Underground In The Old Library. Lock All The Doors Behind You. by Deborah Klezmer, and The Lineage Gown by Alicia Piller.
Envisioning the future can not only give us ideas that may help us survive, it allows us to build mental and psychological muscles that can help us cope with the unknown–as long as you focus on how might it be, what would we need, can I prepare, instead of we’re all gonna die.