What does it mean to have power? Being powerful can be related to how do we see ourselves in the future, the dream of conquest, to reach the moon — figuratively and literally speaking. Power is also our main source, the energy that keeps our technology alive and in development. It leads to a world of possibilities, with real power to change the world.
In these next paragraphs, we will explore the second path from our trend report, in collaboration with trend forecaster Cécile Poignant. The Fashion Future and Mobility Trend Report is a deep study on future long-term trends from four angles: freedom, power, collective, and exclusive. This is how we take a look at the global trends to see what will affect the human experience of fashion in the near future under the umbrella of mobility — physical, mental, and digital. The second part of this journey is about power.
The trend of power is about seizing individual strength and harnessing it to be something greater — like a superpower. Everything is highly inspired by science and the lab, as we can see fashion very interested in the development of the space odyssey. This space fascination brings the search for new materials and new developments in fashion design. The power of technology has the ability to transform the way we envision the relationship of one’s body with the outside.
We are already wearing something extremely well-evolved with a high level of technical development: our skin. But can you imagine how our skin could turn into something greater? What is holding back our bodies from becoming an interface? Instead of using another device, we can simply use the largest organ of our bodies, full of transmitters.
DuoSkin is a product collaboration by MIT Media Lab and Microsoft Research in which anyone can create customized devices that looked like temporary tattoos and could be directly attached to the skin. By touching the on-skin device, users can manipulate a mobile device, and display and share information.
Our eyes are great sources of power as well. In 2014, Samsung filed a patent on smart contact lenses that would provide an augmented reality superimposed over the real world. These smart lenses would include a built-in camera and sensors that could detect blinking motions. While the lenses haven’t come to market, this is just the beginning for this emerging product. It is estimated that the smart contact lens market will grow by 67.7% over the next five years.
Beyond using technology to improve our intellectual and physical bodies, what if we also wanted to utilize the power of our emotions? The artist Ye-Fei Chen created a “tear gun” that would take individual tears captive and turn them into a weapon. This new conceptual form of self-defence, symbolically, opens the conversation of how emotions can be employed. It is about how humans can take power from their body and express it outwardly.
Technology can allow us to immerse ourselves in animate objects beyond the boundaries of our physical bodies. An example is the 3D printed car seat that was made to imitate human breathing in an autonomous vehicle. This seat was created by Audi and a team of design students from the Braunschweig University of Art. Instead of just being a mode of transportation, they wanted to explore what a car signifies to a human. What if the breathing seat could become the emotional intersection between humans and cars?
Power will come from the lab, where new materials are grown and built for the future. Modern, highly resistant fabrics are being created similar to a new yarn called Twistron Harvesters. This material creates its own electricity, and harvests energy from breathing and ocean waves. While this thread isn’t quite ready to be woven and worn yet, it has the potential to make fashion more multidisciplinary — meaning that clothing will be equipped to provide protection and energy
Sometimes the products of the future will need to be made on-the-go, as in during spaceflight. Growing a MarsBoot was a project commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art for the exhibition “Items: Is Fashion Modern?”, and realized by Liz Ciokajlo from OurOwnsKIN and Maurizio Montali from Officina Corpuscoli. The project concerned the constraints of space travel to Mars, and addressed the need to grow materials during space flight to reduce spacecraft load at launch. This project takes a low-tech and high-tech approach by using astronaut’s sweat and fungal mycelium to grow materials.
Space tourism is still taking its first steps; but with private companies offering tours in the near future, this will quickly become a story about power. Only 24 people have flown to the moon; by 2024, the first female astronaut will land on it, part of NASA’s mission Artemis. But Elon Musk’s SpaceX promised to send the first space tourist on a journey around the natural earth’s satellite by 2023.
What makes this about power? In short, money. One day space tourism may become affordable, but at this rate, it will remain out of reach for the current world population minus one. This type of power is extraordinarily concentrated, and it is being disputed among billionaires in the world.
Besides Elon Musk, owner of the automotive and energy company Tesla, another CEO from the mobility industry is investing in this contemporary space race. Richard Branson of the Virgin Group, owner of Virgin Atlantic airlines, is investing in the space business with the Virgin Galactic, which is going public with an enterprise value of $1.5 billion dollars.
Jeff Bezos of Amazon founded the Blue Origin, an aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company. They are planning its first moon landing with the Blue Moon, a robotic space cargo carrier and lander, by 2024.
As we become superhumans, exploring augmented capacities and pushing to the limit our strengths, even money-related strengths, we are facing our emotions as an important part of our power. Balancing what comes from the human body, the most perfect machine ever created, with the technology we can create, we will face fascinating improvements in the next few years (including going to Mars — finally!).
In the next chapter, we are about to discuss the business implication of all this power we generate. The main idea is to understand how it is related to our lives and how we shape the future through our power as consumers. If you would like to read the entire report now, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
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