From Blade Runner to Star Wars, we have seen an array of movies set in the future predict what we might be wearing one day. In this article we look at what films have got it right so far and what we might be wearing 50 years from now based on recent films & TV shows set in the future.
One of the best things about making a sci-fi film is having to make educated guesses over what exactly people will be wearing in the future. Given the fluid and random nature of fashion trends, it’s virtually impossible to predict just how we’re going to be dressing. If anyone in the 80s had created a sci-fi film set in the far-flung future of the early 2000s in which everyone was wearing their jeans down below their bum, we all probably would have laughed.
This being said, there have been some incredible predictions that we hope will come true and a few stabs in the dark that have not been too far off the mark. We take a look at the best of the best to give you some ideas of what the future of fashion might hold.
Back to the Future
It’s impossible to talk about the future of clothing in film without discussing Back to the Future. Specifically, Back to the Future II in which Marty has to go into the mystical future age of the year 2015. In 2015, Doc dresses Marty to blend in with the kids of the era. That means self-adjusting power laces on his shoes, a self-drying jacket, and jeans pockets turned inside out (as is the style at the time). Other characters wear two ties, talk to each other on single-lens chrome VR headsets, and Biff wears a spiked bike helmet on his head. There’s a lot of fluro which wasn’t too far off the mark for the early 2000s but really we just wish we had those cool hoverboards.
I, Robot might be remembered as a classic Will Smith action blockbuster with a bit of Matrix-style philosophising going on but it’s actually one of the most hands-down off-the-wall bonkers pieces of cinema to ever grace our screens. Set in 2035, it features long leather jackets, black beanies, and some of the most hilariously in-your-face product placement by way of the all-leather “Converse All-Stars, vintage 2004”. “Don’t turn your face up like that, I know you want some!”, Smith’s character tells his grandma. We’re not so sure but that cool robot arm he uses to beat up the hostile NS-5s would be nice.
The 1997 sci-fi classic Event Horizon features Sam Neill and a young Lawrence Fishburne as they explore a lost spaceship when things quickly head south in an Alien/Interstellar/Prometheus kind of way. Great film and totally worth a watch if you haven’t seen it. A cool little Easter Egg was recently revealed showing that Sam Neill had requested his Australian character wear the shoulder badge of what he thought the Aussie flag might look like in 2047 on his not-so-futuristic jumpsuit. The badge features the Aboriginal flag in place of the Union Jack in an updated design, a nod to the idea that this may one day become our perhaps more inclusive national banner.
This is the film that sparked a generation of slick, all-black, neo-gothic designs, the reverberations of which we are still seeing today. Although the actual date the film is set in is up for debate, we do know it’s somewhere in the distant future. If they got it nearly right, we’ll all be wearing tiny sunglasses, tight leather bodysuits, and shiny trench coats. Actually, that’s not too dissimilar to what is going on now on runways and trendy spots around the globe. Whether or not we’ll be keeping up this look into 2199 or beyond is hard to say but it’s certain the Matrix did a stellar job of not only predicting but influencing the future of fashion.
Tonnes of the on-screen garb you see in sci-fi films takes its influence from the OG science fiction series, Star Trek. Back when a love of sci-fi was something you kept to yourself, Star Trek was busting out some killer costumes and bold designs we would love to be rocking in the distant future. The signature is of course the semi-roll neck velour knits in single colours worn by the crew of the star ship enterprise. Then you’ve got the iconic VISOR worn across the eyes by Geordi La Forge and the trademark red minidress worn by Uhura. Really though, Star Trek was revolutionary in giving lead roles to non-white and non-male actors and showcased a future in which it wasnt about what you wore or who you were that mattered, it was about what you did.
Both the original Blade Runner and the sequel Blade Runner 2049 made some excellent predictions for the future of fashion. Who can forget the huge shoulder pad jackets, the sweet black stripe eye makeup, or those massive fur jackets that we all wore in the future of 2019? It may not have been spot on but Blade Runner was a huge influence on couture fashion which is why the sequel was just as bold in its fashion choices. Perhaps in 30 years time we’ll all be decked out in neon fur coats, black kimonos, or darting about in huge shearling coats like Ryan Gosling. Sounds pretty good actually.
The Hunger Games
Set in the not-too-distant future, if the year 2020 is any indication of the way the world is headed, The Hunger Games series was iconic for putting fashion at the forefront of its fictional future. If we wind up in the slums of District 13, it looks like we won’t have much to choose from except which shade of grey our boiler suit is going to be. The silver-spoon holding elite of District 1 however will be rocking huge powdered wigs and fluro ruffled collars and jackets a la Marie Antoinette. If you’re a hunger games champion of course, you may even be busting out the flame-proof dress and waistcoats to blaze a path through the area while literally on fire. Now that’s hot.