Science Fiction After a Fashion

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MDJ_SydMeadHeaderScience fiction helps us to visualize the future. It asks questions about our place in the universe and it looks forward into the murky depths of future time and it asks the very important and profound questions. Where will we get food enough to feed the planet’s population. Will we keep the integrity of our bodies or will we merge with technology and eventually become post human? Will science conquer death, rendering us all essentially immortal? And, most importantly, what will we wear?

Fashion is important to people (apparently). What kinds of clothes one wears says a lot about who they are and where they come from (so I’ve been told)

I don’t really see it myself. I have to confess, I don’t know much about fashion.

That would become pretty obvious to you if you were to hang around with me for any amount of time. I don’t really have the time, money or interest to invest in dressing myself in the latest clothes. My interest is chiefly in science fiction and science fiction illustration.

So, what does science fiction illustration have to say about our fashion choices?

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Well, for women the choices seem to be pretty clear: If it’s not a silver spacesuit, then she should wear next to nothing. Bikinis or just, you know… stars.

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Okay, that’s not really accurate. There are some fabulous evening gowns among the fashion choices as well as silver spacesuits and bikinis.

War Maid of Mars (1953) original painting by Allen Anderson

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Okay, let’s check out the real stuff. Here is futurist painter Syd Mead showing us how the future will look. Obviously it’s the future because everything is so new and shiny. We all want the future to be shiny and new, right? Lots of chrome, lots of extreme curves, lots of lights and lots of helmets. No shirts, of course, but a shiny helmet to cover our heads. Maybe a pair of silver spacesuit pants, but certainly a helmet. Apparently the “Judge Dredd” look is going to be very in not too long from now.

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Interview: Syd Mead

Interview: Syd Mead

Maybe the movies and television science fiction will give us a better idea of what we will be wearing in the future. According to the movie Logan’s Run the women will be wearing very short silvery dresses and the men will be dressed in black with a single grey strip across the front.

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I had a sweater like that once. My wife made me throw it out.

Well, what about fashion for the moon. If we were to build a base on the moon what would we wear… other than a spacesuit, of course, because there’s no atmosphere. The lack of atmosphere means we have to bring our own and what better way to bring the party to the lunar surface than with… bell bottoms?

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Okay, well. Maybe science fiction has no sense of fashion, either. From strategically placed bits of cloth to silver, form hugging spacesuits to bikinis, science fiction seems to have its mind stuck in a bit of a rut.

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Unless you’re Harrison Ford in Bladerunner, in which case you wear a natty suit and tie and a long trench coat. Hmm. That kind of looks like my wardrobe from the 1980’s. Maybe I’m not such a fashion refugee after all?

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Maybe science fiction isn’t where one should look to find high fashion. Perhaps fashion is a topic that I should leave alone. Maybe I should stick to buying my clothes at department store.

Or maybe I should check out the thrift stores. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find a second-hand spacesuit for a real bargain!

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