If Life is a Simulation, You May As Well Dress Like It
Fashion is officially entering a new dimension. In a world that revolves around technology and rapid innovation, it only makes sense that this mindset would influence the types of trends we see.
On one hand, designers are looking back at past decades for inspiration, following the cyclical timeline of fashion. What goes around comes around and all that. They’re pulling styles from vintage Sears catalogues and your grandmother’s closet, reinventing our favorite trends that return decade after decade.
On the other hand, they have to think about modern trends and the types of garments they have the capability to make. Many designers nowaday constantly push the limits of design with the help of technologies like 3d printing, laser cutting, or digital textile printing that can create virtually anything you can dream of. The styles that are born as a result of this retro-futuristic mindset are otherworldly, featuring unconventional textures and silhouettes that turn every garment into a wearable glitch.
The movement toward these surreal styles is heavily inspired by the 90s cyberpunk trend. This style arose in the mid-nineties as a reaction to the impending new millennium and rise of technology. A defining collection for the style is Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 1995 collection, “Horsewomen and Amazones of Modern Time”. Or, as it’s more commonly referred to, “Cyber”. Drawing inspiration from movies like The Matrix and Mad Max, Gaultier designed a collection full of black leather, chic silhouettes, and graphic patterns that combined historical elegance with the absurdity of the newfound internet craze.
We’ve seen this Gaultier collection come back on the likes of Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, and Cardi B. This is important because celebrities directly impact fashion trends nowadays and if these big names are banding together to bring back the same style of dress, then it’s more likely to trickle down into facets of the industry beyond luxury and designer goods.
There are several brands pressing their hands into the wet cement of this new age of fashion. One popular name that most already recognize is Iris van Herpen. Her SS21 collection dives into the realm of sci-fi and fantasy, drawing inspiration from the anatomy of humans and fungi. While she isn’t directly inspired by technology, she makes sure to utilize it throughout the production process to create intricate patterns and designs that push the limits of wearable art. Her textile choices are also unconventional which adds a layer of intrigue to every garment, like a dress made of resin and iron that had to be molded with magnets.
@irisvanherpen / Instagram
Smaller designers shouldn’t be left in the dark, though. Some of the brands and designers I personally love the most right now only have a mere 10,000 or so followers on Instagram. Not to say this isn’t great for them, but it leaves room for growth in the near future.
Three of the names I’m most interested in are Chet Lo, Paolina Russo, and Windowsen. Each of these figures has taken a unique route in developing sustainable fashion that sets new standards for everyday style.
Chet Lo’s most recent collection, 2nd Gen, is heavily reliant on unique tangible features and inspired by cyperpunk culture and modern technology. Some items are even aptly titled with “glitch” in their names such as a mesh “Glitch Top” and matching “Glitch Boxing Gloves”. The garments are all brightly colored and fade between colors like the sliding scale of a hue chart. Some of the inspiration found on his Instagram page include anime, 90s pop star fashion, and video games.
@chet__lo / Instagram
Paolina Russo not only develops garments from scratch, but also reworks old sports gear such as Adidas cleats or soccer balls into trendy works of art. Her garments ooze with creativity and movement. Pieces from the capsule collection she worked on for Central Saint Martin prove her familiarity with garment construction as she combines cutting-edge silhouettes with functional elements. The collection provides pieces that could adapt to a flexible schedule, going from grocery store to night out in a way that isn’t too ridiculous.
@paolina_russo / Instagram
Windowsen is a brand under the designer Sensen Lii. She finds the whimsicality of modern dress through avant garde garments that combine streetwear, haute couture, and the unclassified absurd. There are billowy gowns that trail down staircases, oversized gloves with talons attached, and bedazzled balaclavas that transport you to another dimension somewhere between an abyss of code and a magical land of make-believe creatures. Her work has been featured in several editorials and even made it onto the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam this past December.
@windowsen / Instagram
In a day and age that opens every door for fashion experimentation, it’s fun to take a look at the ways fresh faces are shifting the industry. There are so many more designers and brands out there creating unimaginable garments that a brief article can’t even begin to cover. Life simulations and virtual reality are only going to become more prominent as we enter the 2020s and the inspiration taken from these new technologies is leading a new cyber revolution full of bold patterns and the most creative renditions of beloved brands and styles. So put on your moon shoes and don’t get left in last week’s reality.
Cover illustration by Beyza Çelikman / @pepperooni.playboy (IG)