Nostalgic futurism: The space race is here to stay and so is the fashion inspired by it

By Monica Athnasious

Published Feb 19, 2022 at 09:54 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

The world, post-pandemic, has only worsened for a lot of us. From the burgeoning economic crisis and complete austerity to the ever-worsening climate catastrophe, there’s been a lot to deal with. But as always, an industry that continues to reflect the times as well as people’s reactions to change is the realm of fashion. Fashion, and the subcultures it forms, continues to reflect, parallel, oppose and even attempt to escape the issues gripping society.

Take goblincore and cottagecore with their aims to flee the reality of capitalism—let’s not forget the nostalgia-obsessed Weirdcore and Britishcore too—or dystopiacore even, which embraces the ‘chic-ness’ of the end of the world. Now, another fashion trend is on the horizon: a new space age.

Alongside the chaotic whirlwinds of the past few years came something that most of us didn’t even ask for—we’d rather you donate the billions you have to charity—but that didn’t stop our most famous billionaires from embarking on their dream of commercial space travel. With reports of a new space hotel, anti-ageing space missions, a seemingly misguided plan to populate Mars and space toilet troubles, we were bombarded with the news—even if most of us didn’t want to be. However, it looks like the new space age will be here to stay, and you might even be wearing it.

As technology evolves and its interaction with fashion strengthens, it’s not a stretch to assume that space and fashion may just have the same relationship. With digital fashion gaining traction in the metaverse, we’ve already seen a multitude of brands take the leap into the world of new tech. This list includes SUPERGUCCI and the most recent Maisie Wilen x Yahoo collaboration—inspired by Mattel’s Monster High, which displayed an all-holographic fashion show.

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A post shared by Maisie Wilen (@maisie_wilen)

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According to Lyst’s Year In Fashion 2021 report, this specific obsession with everything alien will inadvertently affect the fashion trends of 2022. On these terms, the report read, “New frontiers [in] 2021 saw some of the biggest human space flight moments in history take place, especially when it came to space tourism. This new development in travel will continue to inspire more future-minded designs and technologies.” For starters, recall Schiaparelli’s recent show at the Paris Couture Week.

The use of gold has only continued, putting metallic structure (instead of fabric) at the forefront. Dubbed as a display of “space goddesses” by Tatler, “this extraterrestrial elegance transcends to never-before reached realms of fashion, perfectly paired with gala-ready gowns and larger-than-life millinery—think Ascot on acid, on another planet.” Away from the world of couture, we see how this new space race is beginning to impact fashion in both a futuristic and nostalgic way.

“Inspired by The Space Race, 60s fashion took an experimental turn by focusing on unconventional materials (such as metals) and silhouettes, while 60s mod had a moment in 2021, advances in space tourism is set to inspire a new wave of futuristic designs,” reported TikTok trend analyst @thealgorythm.

Not only are we witnessing groundbreaking innovative ideas inspired by the new space race but epithets of the old one seem to be reviving under the same umbrella. 60s-esque elements of the decade’s own space age fashion seem to be making a reappearance with celebrities like Dua Lipa and Kendall Jenner reportedly ‘bringing back the Moon Boot’ as well as the ever-anticipated launch of Ariana Grande’s 60s space inspired makeup line, r.e.m.beauty. And who can forget the iconic Balenciaga x NASA collaboration?

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It will be interesting to see which trend dominates the year: will the new space age pull us into a visceral futurism or will the doomism of avant apocalypse stop it in its tracks?

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