Not long ago, I was in the attic, looking through some of my Mum’s old school notebooks. One of the questions my freckle-faced and youthful mother had once been asked was “What will we be wearing in 40 years time?”. Flash forward to now, that 40 years later, and there is a stark contrast between expectations and reality. Or is there?
Ultimately, no. We look nothing like the foil-wrapped, car-flying members of society we were once envisaged to be. However, nonetheless, we’ve embraced some aspects of those future ideas so bravely conjured up by small children all those years ago.
For example, my kitchen at home is what a younger version of myself might have described as “straight out the space age” with its clean white surfaces and cupboards that ping out on magnets at the lightest touch. With trends like minimalism arising, it is no surprise now that my kitchen is like this and that there are less patterns and pops to our every day lives than other times. Nowadays, our shelves aren’t rammed with trinkets and clutter but instead our cleared out peacefully while our phones and watches speak to us.
Our visions for the future now are perhaps less ambitious and a bit more morally inquisitive. The popular series of Black Mirror has done a remarkable job of helping us confront the future ideals of our society and the damage advancing technology could cause us. I noticed, while watching, all these characters you encounter on your Netflix binge live in situations that I find fairly relatable. Either their technology is enhanced in a familiar setting or technology already invented is used in an alien one. Overall, the future for us looks like a far less drastic a change than we might have expected.
The new Louis Vuitton collection is a good example of how the future has become now. Their show was inundated with contorted trainers and structured shapes, impossible to manufacture without the precision of a machine. In fact, if you seated a far smaller version of my mother on the front row (lucky her!) it would no doubt have fitted the description she would have whispered quietly to a stern teacher, chalk and cane in hand.
So, how have we managed to replicate that vision of the future so precisely? If you haven’t already noticed, we don’t wear funny-looking shoes and sunglasses out of practicality or because something has been invented making it necessary. Instead, when a creative director dreams up a design for the latest wearable technology, they no doubt think “this is the future, therefore it must look like the future.” They then proceed etching and sketching with a whole background of futuristic, metallic, David Bowie excellence in their back pocket.
The future has not yet arrived, it will almost certainly be something just out of reach. What has arrived, is the conceptual future we dreamed up when we were young and wanted to go to the moon