By Silvia Ullah
The futuristic fashion trend is a phenomenon that goes beyond the aesthetics.
It is known that fashion has always been a sort of artistic representation of the social situation of each period. From the dangerous crinolines between the 17th and 18th century, to the new art nouveau era that encouraged freedom of movement in women’s clothing, dress has always managed to express both social and emotional identity of both men and women, though it was the most prominent symbol of women’s status evolution over the years.
Fashion nowadays, tends to take inspirations from the previous eras to satisfy the fascination towards the vintage, but also as a subtle and indirect way to distract us from the two of the life’s natural phenomenons that somehow scare human beings, being death and aging.
Futurism was an influential artistic and social movement born in Italy as a form of rebellion against the old traditional values, be it the social field or the political and artistic one, instead, it emphasized speed, technology, machinery; it was all about modernity and the future. This artistic movement of course, has touched clothing as well, and it had such relevance that we now have the futuristic fashion trend, which challenges artists to put elements of electronic, speed, technology and movement into the dresses, through the usage of unconventional materials and minimal colors.
Islam, especially fashion wise is getting a social evolution that rebels against the traditional conservative clothing, by making new forms of fashionable, colorful and expressive dresses that represent the rise of the Islamic business in fashion and in social life as well! As it encourages Muslim women to follow new trends by giving them a more diversified clothing market that respects their modesty.
Because of the modest fashion’s huge social importance, there is a small gap which not only needs to be filled but also given more attention to since it has a potentially important meaning that goes beyond fashion and beauty, and that is the “modest futuristic fashion”
This fusion can represent a meaning that goes beyond beauty and fashion, just as it did during its rise.
In the fashion field, it can be a more evident way to represent the modernization of the Islamic clothing for the youth, and through these dresses, this representation can go further to symbolize social evolution of the Islamic new generation.
There have been very few modest fashion designers who have put avant-garde and futuristic style into their collections.
From Hannie Hananto’s “Space Age” collection, to Ronald V Gaghana “Elements” and Noni Zakiah who presented an avant-garde collection to the Jakarta fashion week 2013. There was also the fashion and artistic performance by Zahra Sooty Hosseini who presented a futuristic style, black turban and gowns collection for the RCA MA fashion show 2017, we can see at least that this opportunity is being grabbed, though not given enough attention to.
Perhaps the reason why this section of fashion is not getting the voice it deserves, might come from the fact that majority of the focus is given towards street style promoted through modest fashion bloggers, since this is the main trend that follows or dictate the social life changes of millennials.
However, since modest fashion has been an important tool to express the relevant social evolution of the Islamic new generation, it needs to give a bigger voice to a field that can better symbolize the industry’s favor towards the progression of the society.
Futurism and sustainable fashion
Futurism can play an important role on the development of sustainable fashion, considering that sustainability is another important characteristic of the modest fashion industry, which does not just focus on the modest dress code but also the ethical value of respect towards the environment, something that is highly valued in Islam.
As it has been said, futurism is about technology, which can help revolutionize the garment and retail industry by permitting the inventions of sustainable clothing and changing the consumer’s behavior, as we are all influenced by technology in the daily life today.
There is a great variety of examples of how technology is helping change the fashion industry for the better.
For instance, it is known that the dyeing process is one of the main contributors to pollution, and as a response to reduce its negative impact on the environment many designers and researchers are exploring new ways that can replace the toxic dyeing process and the traditional garments and fabrics.
This type of research is being done by a research institution founded by Issey Myake, or “California’s Colorep” that created the “AirDye” system that uses 85% less energy and 90% less water than the usual dyeing by also using recycled materials, this method has been used by designer Costello Tagliapetra. There is also Chieza, a designer working for Gingko Bioworks who is developing a method that uses bacteria secreted pigment to dye fabric, which reduces water usage.
Other designers who have presented a futuristic sustainable collection include Iris Van Herpen, Alexander McQueen or Mary Katrantzou who have presented various 3D printed collections, another sustainable method that reduces fabric waste.
New methods are being explored and used to transform the fashion industry into an eco-friendly one, and this needs more focus by the modest fashion industry as well, considering that one of the main products of this industry is the hijab or abaya that are mostly made out of polyester and nylon which are synthetic fibers that contribute most to pollution.