When I was growing up in the 80s everyone had a certain idea of what life would be like in the year 2000 and beyond. There would be abundant energy, we would move about in flying cars and everyone would communicate via video screens built into the walls of our homes and offices. We also had a certain idea about what people would wear. When I look around today, I can’t help being disappointed in our lack of progress.
I define ‘progress’ as building on what we’ve done in the past, making things simpler and easier to use, in a way that benefits humanity while protecting the environment. When it comes to clothing, we can evaluate progress in two areas—production and style.
On the production side, we’ve made great strides using artificial fibers to design lightweight clothes that keep you warm in cold weather, cool and dry in warm weather, and so on. Clothing today is more comfortable than ever and comes in designs that would have been difficult or impossible to make in the past, especially when it comes to athletic apparel. Going forward I would like to see an increased use of sustainable fibers, particularly hemp.
As for fashion, I have a very strong opinion about where we should be heading. To me, overly ornate or complicated designs, while artistically expressive, tend to be impractical and uncomfortable. I think the hallmark of future fashion will be simplicity and utility. I admit my view of the future is colored by depictions of our distant descendants in science fiction films, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many writers, directors and costume designers share the same vision. I’m not suggesting that we all don white robes or silver one-piece uniforms, but I believe that the first steps toward future fashion will a simplification of what we currently wear.
Take, for example, the necktie. As a man, I’m generally expected to wear a tie in business and other formal situations, but I don’t like ties. They’re uncomfortable, they get in the way and they serve no purpose whatsoever. Why do we wear them then, aside from tradition? I’m opposed to ties, decorative buttons or anything else that doesn’t do anything. I want a new type of business suit that looks classy and professional without the tie. The modern business suit has been around for about a hundred years. I think that a new century deserves a new style. In an increasingly globalized world, I would like to see a blend of Western and Eastern styles. I especially like the mandarin collar which lacks the fold of fabric found on traditional shirts whose sole purpose is to cover up the tie. I also want a jacket without lapels, which remind of too much of the Old West.
These two examples have some elements of what I’m looking for. I also want a shirt that would be worn untucked and look good, perhaps something of a cross between a dress shirt and a tunic.