By Alice Payne
What will we be wearing in the 2060s? Predicting the future is a dangerous game as it will never unfold as you think it will.
But there are some things we can guess about the future in fifty years. The world will be hotter and more crowded. By 2050, the United Nations predicts a world population between 9 and 11 billion people. The most recent IPCC report suggests global temperature rises of up to 2 degrees Celsius by 2060.
Fashion happens in culture and society, and how we will respond societally to the challenges of a hotter and more crowded world is tricky to predict.
But I can see at least two perspectives on fashion’s future. In one, it’s high-tech with clothes as wearable technology: smarter textiles that can be closed-loop recycled at end of life, self-cleaning garments 3D printed in the home and downloadable fast fashion.
In another, we return to localism as shrinking resources sees us treasure the vintage, the home-made and the ethically made.
Both can offer a hopeful future for fashion, albeit in different paradigms. In one, technology reinvents fashion to be cleaner and more efficient. In the other, the strength of our local communities sees us place new value on the skills of makers and the story of garments.
More likely, the fashion of 2060 will see a fusion of both paradigms. The way we make and consume garments will change through awareness, technology, or necessity – and fashion itself as an expression of individuality and belonging will simply continue on in new forms.