Monday, July 28, 2008

Clothes of The Future

If you lived in the States during the late 60’s/early 70’s, you may have watched a weekly series for a few years called “Lost in Space”. A family-the Robinsons-was sent into space for a short jaunt; the father was a space engineer, the mother was a doctor, and they had 3 children. Accompanying them was a co-pilot, and, unbeknownst to them, the resident bad guy, Dr. Smith, who snuck on before takeoff for his own devious reasons. Due to his intruding, plans were foiled and they found themselves…ah…lost in space. The galaxies offered grit for many sagas, even though today’s kids would scoff at the makeup and costumes of the aliens. Even the story lines were tame by today’s sci-fi standards, such as the alien who traveled across the universe, collecting beings for his zoo. People hadn’t yet experienced high tech special effects, so what the show offered was the height of coolness, even in the early black and white episodes. My personal favorite was when a female alien became enamored of the never-trustworthy, always lazy, Dr. Smith. His memorable character acting was never as funny as in that particular story line. The sexy femme fatale would appear outside of the spaceship window cooing “Dr. Smith” as she floated back and forth. Dr. Smith would run screaming and crying in his cowardly way, giving viewers a big laugh-or at least a smile. But none of this tops Robot. I loved Robot. Robot was the genius, the pet, the comic foil, and most importantly, the thorn in the side of Dr. Smith. He’d wave his stretchy-pipe arms and intone, “Danger Will Robinson, Danger”, and you knew something horrible was coming. He and Dr. Smith would trade insults until Dr. Smith would pull out Robot’s power pack and Robot would collapse with a sound that defies description. But by the end of every show, the family would escape the clutches of whatever evil alien being was intending to harm them, and be on their way to the next adventure. The movie version failed to do it justice, and I don’t recollect any board games, dolls or merchandise connected to it-true class.

Thinking about this earlier today again made me wonder if we, as a human society of the future, will ever wear the clothing that science fiction writers and designers portray. In this show, as in many other television and movie productions, the future means unisex attire, usually as a jumpsuit, and most often with long sleeves. It’s rather understood that we will have the joy of miracle fiber in the future, material that will keep us cool in summer, warm in winter, never need special laundering or any ironing, will come in flattering colors-or metallics-while still able to conform to our body-with the supreme advantage of not allowing any bulges, rolls, or other drawbacks to be apparent. This is a bit different than the clothes presented on the future world cartoon “The Jetsons” because in that, everyone did have unique styles, albeit quite geometric looking. (Of course, there is always the realm of future depicted by the entertainment industry in which everyone walks around in rags because the world has been practically destroyed, but we won’t go there today.)

My question is, do you think that the day will come when everyone will dress alike in unisex clothing? If it happened upon us in the next year-however absurd that may seem, would you go for it?

On one hand, I can see where a far-off future society-say thousands of years away-may be much more enlightened than we are, and will be at an intellectual and emotional place where attire isn’t important. In that case, unisex clothing would be much, much simpler in terms of decisions, packing, washing…not to mention what we could do with all the time and energy we now spend shopping, trying on, sewing, and accessorizing. It actually would be quite nice to be at such a place. But as far as things look to me, I can’t see that ever happening in our lifetime; we’re a far way from being that enlightened. We still want diversity, interest, fun and uniqueness. Our great, great, great, great, great grandchildren may never understand, but right now, fashion is fun, isn’t it?

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