Approaching the Future Cultures DA Challenge
Future Cultures DA Focus: Consider the future in the next 5, 10, 25, or 50 years
The Future Cultures challenge for this subject was to consider the future in the next 5 to 50 years, in a field of our choice. We’re well versed with the concept of digital artefacts here in BCM, but this was the first time I’ve went about developing one with a specific aim linked to our subject content. After considering the future of vlogging, I switched directions and focused instead on the short-term future of fashion through a ‘fashion lookbook’ video and discussion.
Research on the future of fashion revealed its common focus on sustainability and ‘slow fashion’ to combat the rise of cheap fabrics, worker exploitation and waste. Conceptually, the concept of slow fashion originated from the Slow Food movement in Italy some thirty years ago (Clark 2008, p. 428). Some slow approaches to be used when thinking about fashion and sustainability include questioning the notion of fashion being concerned exclusively with the “new” and presenting fashion as a choice rather than a mandate. The ethical consumer market is experiencing a significant period of growth and there is speculation on a decreasing desire to be ‘fashionable’ over ethical (Joergens 2006). Buying vintage, repurposing and upcycling fashion is becoming the fashion itself, and the impetus to reuse more and better is increasing (Williams & Shaw 2017, p. 2).
Drawing on concepts
The aim was to create a video lookbook based on the future-based media we watched during the semester and examine the way that this media speculated a particular future through its fashion and costuming choices. Interviews with costume designers for these films, like Blade Runner and The Matrix, were crucial in informing my commentary for the digital artefact, as well as other articles linked below.
The decision to analyse these films as speculations of the future of fashion was based on the concepts learned in the Future Culture subject, especially Bell’s third purpose of considering images of the future as causes of present behaviour (Bell 1997, as cited by Moore 2021). Using these films as inspiration for current fashion reiterates the approaches of slow fashion to question the notion of being concerned with ‘new’ and choosing certain fashions over needing what’s trending. Bell’s arguments in investigating effects of deliberate social action and drive towards preferable futures (Bell 1998, p. 336) and Masini’s call for social responsibility of future thinking (Masini 1982, as cited by Moore, 2021) also played a role in my short-term speculation for the future of fashion
This as well my own research in the future of fashion helped to shape my own speculation for the short-term future of fashion, which I believe may be the move away from specific garments, patterns or colours, but a push towards recreating certain styles and aesthetics, particular to an era or ‘personality’, over what is ‘new’ or ‘trendy’.
Public audiences and social utility
Twitter was in an integral tool to gauge interest in my potential DA concepts, one I didn’t utilise quite as much during the early stages of the project. It was encouraging to see interest in the topic of the future of fashion, both through the direct use of polls and the engagement on fashion-related content.
Progression and refinement
A roadblock that I experienced in the progression of my DA and didn’t quite overcome was a sense of anxiety around posting fashion content on platforms like Instagram, where a new account is linked to your existing account, which is linked to Facebook. I didn’t feel totally comfortably posting fashion content to a platform all my friends and family were using and I didn’t end up following through with that plan. Ideally, having range of multimedia content would create a more comprehensive response to the DA challenge, and will have to bear in mind some of my anxieties around posting video content online for any future digital artefacts by planning other forms of content such as blog posts or podcasts. My original plan of multiple weekly content didn’t exactly pan out, and I ended up following an adjusted timeline of planning, filming and editing the main video and TikTok.
In the end, I created a YouTube video lookbook and commentary using the concepts learned from lectures and additional research, and a short TikTok using one of the additional resources (Murcikova 2019). I discovered how much I love talking about movies through our screenings and the development of my digital artefact and may continue to incorporate this into my general YouTube channel. It was also the first time I made a TikTok, which is a nice skill to have learned and may continue. Fashion and fashion media content will continue to be decidedly intertwined, so fashion-based digital artefacts are likely to shift and move onto new platforms and forms of content that grow in popularity, potentially in VR or AR forms.
As always, the freedom to create a digital artefact in line with other digital media skills I want to develop is a great opportunity, and the framework of future thinking explored in BCM325 can be applied to an endless array of fields.
And of course, here are the links to the digital artefacts!
Barrett, K 2020, ‘Down the rabbit hole: why is ‘Matrix dressing’ so on trend?’, The Guardian, 11 February, viewed 24 May 2021, <https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2020/feb/11/down-the-rabbit-hole-why-is-matrix-dressing-so-on-trend>.
Burcikova, M 2019, ‘One Dress: Shaping Fashion Futures through Utopian Thinking’, Fashion Practice, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 328-345.
Clark, H 2008, ‘Slow + Fashion – an oxymoron or promise for the future?’, Fashion Theory, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 427-446.
Hutchinson, P 2012, ‘Future-proof: How Metropolis still inspires fashion’, The Guardian, 27 February, viewed 24 May 2021, <https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/fashion-blog/2012/feb/27/metropolis-inspires-the-fashion-world>.
Joergens, C 2006, ‘Ethical fashion: myth or future trend?’, Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 360-371.
Lack, H 2012, ‘Michael Kaplan on Blade Runner’s Iconic Costumes’, AnOther, 22 October, viewed 25 May 2021, <https://www.anothermag.com/art-photography/2286/michael-kaplan-on-blade-runners-iconic-costumes>.
Moore, CL 2021, ‘Future Studies: Trajectories and Planning’, online lecture, BCM325, University of Wollongong, delivered 15 March.
Page, T 2017, ‘’Blade Runner’ influenced 35 years of fashion. Can its sequel do the same?’, CNN, 4 October, viewed 25 May 2021, < https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/blade-runner-2049-costume-design-fashion-renee-april/index.html>.
Williams, ID & Shaw, PJ 2017, ‘Reuse: Fashion or Future?’, Waste Management, vol. 60, pp. 1-2.