Look to the Future for Clothing Design Inspiration

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

February 16, 2007

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As a fashion school student, do you ever daydream about what fashion in the distant future will look like? I'm not talking about 10, 20 or even 50 years from today, but what will people be wearing in, say, the year 2500?

It's a fun question to consider. Just looking back at fashion history we learn that clothing design has been dramatically shaped by politics, wars, technology, and socio-economic factors. Thinking about how fashion changes is exciting, but it may also help you cultivate a more creative eye when it comes to your own clothing designs, perhaps furthering your career in fashion.

Why Future Clothing Design Matters
When you think about clothing of the future, it's easier to dismiss the often narrow-minded thinking of the industry, which focuses on seasons and what will sell now, three months from now, or even a year from now. But to be truly innovative, to make something utterly modern, you need to step away from derivative thinking and let your imagination disengage from the conventional wisdom of the clothing design business. It's a skill that could separate you from the creative pack.

Fashion School: Learning the History of Fashion
One way to start thinking creatively about the future is to learn more about the past. Study fashion history. Learn how clothes complemented people's lifestyles, how they reflected social norms, and how they adapted to changing economic developments.

Your Future Career in Fashion
Take that knowledge from fashion school and start thinking about what the future may be like. There will be more technology, likely more opportunities for working at home through advances in telecommuting technology. You may even be able to take a course on the future of fashion. Imagine it - the assignment might be to design a wardrobe for a professional middle-aged woman based in the year 2100. It would involve thinking about the type of work she does, the environment she lives in, and her political surroundings.

So start thinking about the future during fashion school, not only in preparation for your career in fashion, but to get away from the short-term thinking that can dominate the fashion industry, and the creative side of design.

About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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