Monday, December 20, 2010

The Anime Aesthetic and Future Fashion

        One of the things I've been wondering about while working on the design ethic of The Black Desert is how fashion will morph and change over the course of the next two centuries. This kind of thing is simply impossible to predict with any accuracy, which means that I can cut loose and use my imagination to come up with a sleek, futuristic sci-fi ethic that will...oh, who am I kidding? I'll steal from some previous era and call it new, just like all of the other writers of SF out there.

        That being said, I am curious to see how present-day trends will effect future fashion. Personally (and my professional artist wife agrees) I believe that fashion will not follow any single trend any more than it does now. The trends that do develop will also be capable of being carried to extremes that are simply not possible with the technology today. Like what, you may ask? Clothing that has built-in WiFi and the capability to project images on the surface of the fabric will make the cut and design of the clothes less important than the art/video one plays upon it. This'll give a whole new meaning to the question, “who are you wearing?”

My, Gaga...what big eyes you have!
        But as the title suggests, I am wondering about the modern trend toward the anime aesthetic of really big eyes. Frankly, I don't see this one going anywhere; thinking big eyes are cute is actually hard-wired into our brains as one of the mechanisms that insure we cuddle and love and feed babies. The advent of CG has allowed the big-eyed look to become common in live-action mass-media, which has spawned an industry of making over-sized contacts to attempt to simulate the look.
Get yours today!

        So, in two hundred years, when it's common to have organs and limbs grown in vat to order (BTW, this isn't science fiction), will the anime aesthetic be able to reach it's logical conclusion? I think so. I think we will definitely see people with eyes twice as big as they were born with, and probably in a variety of colors. Hair color, which in most if not all anime covers all the colors of the rainbow, will not only still be as common as it is today, it will probably be permanent and able to change at will. Or to match the décor or your outfit. Bonus cool points for hair and eyes that coordinate.
She's even from the 23rd Century!

        Of course, the Big-Eyes-Blue-Hair thing is not the only thing that defines the anime aesthetic. There is also the Teen-Age-Androgynous thing as well. This one will be even easier to replicate in the future; thanks to biotech breakthroughs that should become reality in the next few decades, people in The Black Desert will be able to stay young looking for pretty much as long as they want. As for the androgyny thing, this also pretty likely. Right now is, as far as I can tell, the only time in history that big boobs and skinny bodies have been considered the standard of beauty. And despite what many popular media outlets would have us believe, it's by no means universal, either. When you throw in the facts of life regarding space travel, where weight and limberness are essential factors, sheer practicality will also limit the size and dimensions of the physical ideal. So the beautiful women of the future may very well be lithe, petite, and have adorably big eyes.

        I say "may" because other factors will be at play as well. Ethnic and cultural demographics have always dictated what is considered beautiful. The racial makeup of the world and population growth predict that Asians, Indians, and Hispanics will be the dominant races in the future, and in that order. Each one of these groups have their own physical ideals that will inform the future concepts of beauty.

        That all I've got for you on this topic right now, RocketFans. If you agree, disagree, or have another opinion all together, feel free to comment below.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm. Curiouser and curiouser. I wish I knew more artists that could play with this.

    On the face of it, natural blonds and red heads are going to be relatively rare and considered exotic. One group - Asian - will have relatively small noses considered the norm. The other two you mention will have more prominent noses. My Mexicana wife is a good example of this. She can pass for Middle Eastern, Turkish or Indian.

    What else? Biometrics are going to be a stone killer problem if the radical changes in appearance you posit are common, especially if a person can be restored from a backup copy (even if they aren't quite the same person). Going to have to borrow the authentication rhyme from Glasshouse: Something shared (password), something due (time sequence), something secret (crypto key), something you (firm establishment of ID). While I doubt that the last (something you) is going to be too much of a problem with the Turing Fallacy of Black Desert, some bozo wouldn't be above hacking about with someone's backup to get a compliant copy.

    What else? Hair color is potentially all over the map - especially for those that can afford it. And yes, the curtains will match the carpet.

    Finally, where does the bulk of the population of the setting live? That will be the fashion trend setter there. If its Eurafrica, then all your earlier bets are off. The common appearance may be more like Halle Barrie, or Iman. If its Mars, then it could be almost anything.


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