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Content What is Dystopia? Fashion Relevance to Dystopian History Depicting Dystopia Dystopia And Fashion Dystopia and Storytelling Dystopia and Cinema Dystopian Image-making Dystopian ashion Sub- Culture Emerge of Dystopian Brands Fashion Eements according to Dystopian Music Dystopia and the ashion Industry Semiotics Dystopian fashion




Dystopia is defined as a futuristic, imagined universe in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through corporate, bureaucratic, technological, moral, or totalitarian control. Dystopias, through an exaggerated worst-case scenario, criticize a current trend, societal norm, or political system. (NCTE, 2020) CHARACTERISTICS In a dystopian society, propaganda is used to control the citizens. Information, independent thought, and freedom are restricted. A figurehead or concept is worshipped by the citizens of the society. Citizens are perceived to be under constant surveillance, have a fear of the outside world, live in a dehumanized state, and conform to uniform expectations. Individuality and dissent are not accepted. The natural world is banished and distrusted. The society is an illusion of a perfect utopian world. (NCTE, 2020)

Fig. 1 John Stuart Mill (Illustration by Maithilee Junankar)

TYPES OF DYSTOPIAN CONTROL Mostly, the dystopian world is presented in a way that reflects oppressive societal control. The illusion of a perfect society is maintained through one or more of the following types of controls- a) Corporate control: One or more large corporations control society through products, advertising, and/or the media. b) Bureaucratic control: Society is controlled by a mindless bureaucracy through a tangle of red tape, relentless regulations, and incompetent government officials. c) Technological control: Society is controlled by technology—through computers, robots, and/or scientific means. d) Philosophical/religious control: Society is controlled by philosophical or religious ideology often enforced through a dictatorship or theocratic government. (NCTE, 2020) In a dystopian society, citizens feel trapped and are struggling to escape. They question the existing social and political systems, believing or feeling that something is wrong with the society in which he or she lives. (NCTE, 2020) FASHION INCORPORATED IN DYSTOPIA In the constraining environment of dystopia, sometimes fashion opens the path to save people. One such example is, the Bubonic plague which started in October, 1347. It was the most fatal pandemic recorded in human history. Also known as ‘Black Death’, ‘Pestilence’ and ‘Great Mortality’. (Mukherjee, 2020) During that time, Charles de Lorme, a physician who catered to the medical needs of many European royals during the 17th century, including King Louis XIII and Gaston d’Orléans, son of Marie de Médici, described an outfit that included a coat covered in scented wax, breeches connected to boots, a tucked-in shirt, and a hat and gloves made of goat leather. Plague doctors also carried a rod that allowed them to poke (or fend off) victims. (Blakemore, 2020) (de Lorme, 1619) Their head gear was particularly unusual: Plague doctors wore spectacles, and a mask with a nose which was “half a foot long, shaped like a beak, filled with perfume with only two holes, one on each side near the nostrils, but that can suffice to breathe and carry along with the air one breathes the impression of the [herbs] enclosed further along in the beak.” (Blakemore, 2020) Though plague doctors across Europe wore these outfits, the look was so iconic in Italy that the “plague doctor” became a staple of Italian commedia dell’arte and carnival celebrations—and is still a popular costume today. (Blakemore, 2020)

Fig 2. Portrait of Jeremy Bentham (detail), 1829, by Henry William Pickersgill (Illustration by Maithilee Junankar)

Fig. 3. Collage by Jordan Westre


Fig. 5 Illustration by Maithilee Junnkar.


Relevance to



Have you ever imagined an ideal world, the world without war, poverty, and crime? I so, you are not alone. Plato imagined an enlightened republic ruled by philosopher-kings. Many religions promised bliss in the afterlife, and throughout history, various groups have tried to create paradise on earth like ‘the biblical Eden, Greek and Roman stories of the earthly paradise and the idea of a golden race or age.’ But, as time passed they instantly became nightmares of war, famine, and oppression. Artists started to question utopian thinking, and the genre of dystopia (not good place) was born. One of the earliest dystopian works of Swift, J. (1726), Gulliver’s Travels established a blueprint of dystopia, where certain trends like politicians, moralists, technocrats, rationalists are taken to their extremes, exposing their underlying flaws. The early 20th century, considered a classic of dystopian literature. The works strongly reflect the image of dystopia to the public. Fashion also has a great influence on the notion of dystopia. It is necessary to pay attention to the clothes that appear in common in the work. One of the example is mentioned in Huxley.A, (1932) Brave New World, a child depending on their rank, they wear gray, green and khaki uniforms, Even in 1984, the controlled class wore blue work clothes as uniforms. Industrial technologies that promised to free laborers, imprisoned them in slums and factories, instead. The tycoons grew richer than the kings. Overall, dystopian interest in the gloomy worlds in which authors like Orwell and Phillip Dick created. Prior to this time period, people living within the 16th and 17th centuries possessed “faith in human progress and in man’s capacity to create a world of justice and peace” this alteration started with the breakout of the first war then became amplified after the war II. It is suggested that the brutality and violence portrayed between Baldwin 3 the European nations in the First World War, managed to “destroy a two-thousand-year-old Western tradition of hope and to rework it into a mood of despair.” (Fromm. 1961). The rise of Hitler and the Nazi party lead to the breakout of the Second World War and the eventual use of atomic weapons.

Therefore, perspectives on attributes changed, and therefore the events following the economic crisis everywhere Europe, created a unanimous sense of doubt that the world could ever get any better. Costume is a part of culture, socio-cultural phenomenon of each era. It is closely related and changes in economy, politics, ideology, technology, etc. Hall, Smith, Lowe & Lowe, Behling (Kim, 2004) stated by presenting the evidence, that external force influences the change in the dress style. Fashion influenced by the dystopian concept is in its current state is fear of the capitalist system. Cyberpunk is first technology domination term originated from fear of being used for small mechanized clothing body. The collection expressing ordinary clothing material, industries lungs, body props, Electronic circuit. Moretti (as cited in Wilson, 1985) Fashion is related to beauty, success, and urbanism. The scope of research is socially due to the creation of dystopian culture such as novels, movies, plays, and music videos. Beginning to attract attention from the 20th century. Research conducted both literature studies and case studies. The concept of dystopia is organized through literature research and the change of the dystopian idea according to cultural changes. Fig. 6 The Women, Tony Skeor, Artwork,



Dystopia is depicted through various mediums such as literature, art, music, Theatre, etc. I would be bringing to light, Dystopia in Music and Theatre. This piece would dive into the world of Punk, Rock and movies like Mad Max, Hunger Games and many more dystopian films and music genres that discuss the ideology and notion of Dystopia through such mediums. (Classs, 2020) Utopian and dystopian fiction often ask the same big questions: What makes for human happiness and well-being? What does it mean to be human? What kind of world should we aspire to? What obstacles must we avoid?(SDG, 2020) The Hunger Games franchise is set in a nation called Panem. Panem is governed by a wealthy, decadent city called the Capitol, whose citizens lead fabulously ostentatious, frivolous lives devoted to fashion, parties, and entertainment, highlighted by the monstrous televised bloodsport[Sic] of the Games.(SDG, 2020) Citizens of the capitol are seen wearing exaggerated clothing with loud and experimental makeup styles involving lots of glitter. Men were seen wearing glitter suits and detailed beards that looked almost like tattoos. In comparison to this lifestyle, District 12, a town from where the lead characters hail from has a very low-profile lifestyle. Citizens of District 12 are seen wearing plain, pastel coloured clothing covered in soot and dirt due to the manual labour needed in the town. This drastic and dramatic difference between the two locations is shown to

Fig.7 Picture of Picture of Dorian Gray, manuplatation by Maithilee Junankar

point out the difference in the living styles brought about by the government of Panem. This situation in itself is a Dystopia and a sad one indeed. If noticed carefully, this is our daily life situations as well. Two strata of society divided by lifestyles and clothing styles. (Brussat) Melodramatic types that they are, musicians love a bit of doom and gloom set in far-flung futures where society’s crumbled and sits on the brink of collapse. From the Rolling Stones and Kate Bush to St Vincent and Rage Against The Machine, loads of acts have ended up with killer songs after imagining the end is nigh.(Barker, 2015) In the song, ‘Talkin World War III blue’ by Bob Dylan, Bob sings about a post apocalyptic world in which he and his doctor are the sole protagonists until he runs into a lonely girl and asks to play Adam and Eve to which she replies, “no, Did you see what happened the last time round?” (Barker, 2015) Two albums from Pink Floyd are very dystopian oriented. “Animals” borrows the themes from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, antd “The Wall” describes transformation of the story’s protagonist into fascist dictator. American industrial metal band Fear Factory produced album “Obsolete” in 1998, in which each song describes dystopian environment where humans were made obsolete by the machines.(http://www.utopiaanddystopia.com/) At first glance, “Alejandro” looks like a straight-up ripoff [Sic] of “Express Yourself.” But take another look. She’s actually stripped out most of the overt Metropolis references, retaining only the vaguest industrial outlines. Instead, Gaga’s dystopia is militaristic and strangely religious.(Faircloth, 2010) I would like to conclude by saying Dystopia is everywhere around us, from literature to movies and from music to fashion. It’s everywhere! One just needs an eye to locate such details.

Fig 8. Artwork by Maithilee Junankar, inspired by Salvador Dalli,The Persistence of Memory

Fig no. 9. The post-apocalyptic scene by tamnlt on DeviantArt

fashion in Dystopian Society From the 1900s to the 1950s, the idea of dehumanization by authoritarian governments and technology gave rise to fashion for freedom and self-introspection, which includes surrealistic fashion and beat style. Fashion of 1980s and 1990s, expressed dehumanization by hitech means such as cyberpunk style and designs that depicted or used electronic elements.(Kwon and Ha, 2013) The ongoing fear of ecological disaster since the late century also influenced designers to present collections concerned with environmental problems. Designers have created designs with printed messages on environmental issues or designs that express environmental devastation, and protective designs that use hi-tech fabrics or mechanical devices. Fashion influenced by dystopian ideas expressed contemporary fears, provided a critical view of society through defamiliarization, and sought problem-solving actions and alternatives to change or cope with the dystopian situation.(Kwon and Ha, 2013) Dystopian fashion gave society a chance to face contemporary problems and pursue a better society. In a world controlled by a totalitarian leader,creativity and innovation are not allowed to flourish. We try to confine our idea of dystopia to gloomy books and depressing movies, but doing so ignores very real examples from a history of fascist regimes, particularly Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler’s political ideologies and actions are widely known, but less discussed is his attitude regarding fashion. Upon his rise to power in 1933, Adolf Hitler founded the German Fashion Institute, or the Deutsches Modeamt, which distributed style guides for German women.(Slow Factory, 2017)Later, the Association of Aryan Clothing Manufacturers (ADEFA) was created to exclude Jewish designers, with its fabric label to ensure clients that only Aryan hands

Fig no. 10. Nazi mother and children

Fig. no. 11 Nazi German Family

had touched their clothes.(Slow Factory, 2017) Hitler was determined that Germany have the best dressed-women in Europe, and used his firm views on fashion to control and regulate the female image. He hated makeup, considering it unnecessary for women who should glow from “health and love of country,” and tried to bar the influence of foreign, especially American, beauty trends. (Slow Factory, 2017)Hitler also detested nail polish and hair dye, calling them whorish and morally degrading to German femininity.(Slow Factory, 2017) Styles that were popular in the West, pioneered by designers like Coco Chanel, encouraged women to reject their corsets in favor of sportier, easy-flowing clothing. The Nazi leader saw this modern movement, which incorporated elements of menswear, as too rebellious and threatening to tradition. Hitler was outspoken against the popular French-model image because he considered their bodies to be too thin and waif-like, and therefore inadequate for child-bearing which was, in his mind, a German woman’s main contribution.(Slow Factory, 2017) Schoolgirls were expected to keep their hair in braids, while women wore simple buns to embody the wholesome, peasant-like persona that Hitler envisioned as a national ideal. (Slow Factory, 2017)They were encouraged to dress in the traditional dirndl or tracht, clothing that was symbolic of motherhood and rural living, but at the time long-outdated and impractical for modern workers.(Slow Factory, 2017) When fascist Adolf Hitler ran Germany, creativity was stifled and strict regulations were imposed on what it meant to be a “true” citizen. But what began as conventions of fashion, soon expanded to eye color, hair color, and physical appearance.

The creation of the Dystopian Narrative hyped in the early 20th century when attitudes towards human nature and society began to change across the globe. (Bruce Sterling, Science Fiction, 2020). Real life historical events such as war, revolution, the rise of repressive governments or new technologies inspired dystopian authors to write about future worlds of oppression, terror, suffering, and loss of individual freedoms, or battles between man and machine. Films like Wall-E, The Matrix, and David Croenenberg’s prescient films Videodrome and Existenz suggest that the end of civilization is within our sights literally. Do we already live in a dystopian age, in which consumer wasting and willing enslavement to our technologies is imminent? Dystopia has also been a central theme in video games—be it in the pixilated game-play of the 1992 game Wolfenstein 3D or the modern-day graphics marvel Cyberpunk 2077. Dystopian fashion is also critically important as a structural element that helps build the game-play and storyline in a video game. (Mint, Digital dystopia in the world of video games, June 2019). ‘The costumes designers for these games add more survival outfits fusing steampunk with cyberpunk, for more gloomy and post-apocalyptic feel. Weapon, hat, foot gear, Jumpsuits, bullet belts, rifles, pistols, leg holsters, knives swords, shoulder holsters give the character a supporting narrative.’(CD Projekt Red, The Ringer, Cyberpunk 2077, 2020). Similarly, The Flobots, are an indie hip-hop band with an activist-oriented philosophy from Denver,




Colorado. The music video Handlebars was done with computer animation at the London production house DirtyUK. The music video starts with two boys, one dressed formally with proper shoes and blazer depicting high ambitions turning to gluttony and other person dressed in casual walking through a normal unpolluted world. A simple attire symbolized the two personalities and narrated the music video. It depicts the journey from young man learning to ride a bike with no hands on handlebars to power-mad mega-maniac. This song about power, corruption and the potential that lies in one individual. (Jamie Laurie, MTV News, 2008). An nightmare artist Zdzislaw Beksinski, reacted to the horrors of wars and capitalism through his paintings. From the beginning from the 1960s, Beksinski was mostly known for surrealism, eroticism, spiritualism. Every work of art was untitled, but his idea was to make people pull their own meaning off the paintings. (In Praise of Shadows, 2020, YouTube). His experiences in the World War II, are the most re-occurring topics in his paintings. His artworks portraying a figure wearing a war helmet as a garment, a torso merging into a chair, a crooked old skeleton like figure wearing a ballerina dress; were some of his work symbolizing fashion gear as a status symbol. (In Praise of Shadows, 2020, YouTube). The blue in Beksinski’s painting where the figure like death is wearing a blue clock represents the blue colour of residue on the wall of gas chambers during the world war depicting life loss. (In Praise of Shadows, 2020, YouTube)

Fig 12. Maithilee Junankar

The emergence of Communism and police states inspired dystopian works, which were then repopularized when current global political events triggered a new wave of citizen fears. (Bruce Sterling, Science Fiction, 2020)

Fig 13. Laila, Hunger Games, Mad Max, Mother


and Cinema

It turns out, market crashes, societal riots and plagues aren’t the time for pops of colors. Geerally, the dystopian genre produces characters in muted shades of destitute but determined earth tones. Neutrals are non offensive and grounding. Plus, they allow the citizens of the imagined society to adhere to some sort of collective identity. The effect is usually depression Era uniformity, on the surface. These costuming choices create timelessness, the inability to place the characters in a singular time and space. Laila Imagine waking up to sudden wardrobe change. Once multicolored and diverse, it now consists of single-colored attire. The neck jewelry carries a pendant which is an image of the nation’s ruler. Your office/party/nightwear is also assigned one particular color. There is just no escape—wearing any other outfit might invite strict penalty. Aryavarta 2047—the dystopic universe of Netflix’s Leila (2018), where environmental rot, surveillance cameras, bomb dropping drones have become a harsh reality. Hunger Games The collection of Hunger Games movie’s (2012-2015) costumes and props drives home the fact that gorgeous clothes can create real heroism, feminism and revolution. The story starts with heroine Katniss Everdeen — a teenage girl from dirty-poor dystopian District 12, is introduced in her hunting clothes, including a scuffed leather jacket, worn cotton pants and roughly knit cowl in memory for her father as assumed the role of protector and provider for her younger sister and their mother. But on the big day of the reaping, the day when one boy and one girl picked to fight somehow keep the peace, Katniss is transformed into something more feminine, like a blue dress. The boys are in button-down shirts and pants, while the girls wear dresses. While the higher class people wearing heavy make-up and neon-electronic poping colours with head-gears, the lower and poor people are seen in dull-raw fabrics depicting the drastic imbalance in the socio-political situations. Katniss, following her character of protector, her costumes grows into more powerful statements. Initially to a red flaming dress to depict the fire and power, to the white wedding gown turning to a black winged “mockingjay” dress as she twirls supporting her controversial achievement. Mad Max: Fury Road The first three Mad Max films were not only a pop cultural phenomenon but also a fashion force. They would become the essential reference for nearly every other environmental dystopian film that came after. In short, the films invented a fashion genre of their own “dystopian chic” ( Lewis.J, Mad Max Costumes, i-device, Jun 5 2015) . Designer Jenny Beavan costumed the film. Known for her workw on the Merchant Ivory films of the 80s (Maurice, A Room With A View, The Bostonians), she works on supreme of period costume. Beavan’s apocalyptic future takes its cues from the original Mad Max films: tattered rags, harnesses, chest pieces, cargo pockets galore, and for Max, now played by Tom Hardy, a lot of leather. The richness and power of the clothes come instead from a careful manipulation of the fabrics to mimic real wear and tear, as for the world has scarcity o resources. Mel Gibson, dressed in all black leather, was the fashion poster-boy, Yet her most compelling style statement is buzzed hair and a war-painted face, from which her jeweled eyes glow, bouncing back the light of the setting desert sun, symbolizing the ‘hope’ her character has to find ‘the waters’.

Fig.14 .Maithilee Junankar

Fig.15 .Maithilee Junankar

Fig.16 .Maithilee Junankar

Fig.17. Maithilee Junankar



The idea of showcasing a visual representation of dystopia has been a topic of interest within many artists and designers. Fantasizing the rather eccentric approach towards viewing their surrounding, many creators have been attracted towards representing a glimpse of their version of the dystopian world. Like Zdzisław Beksiński, most famously known as the nightmare artist, has rendered his imagination of dystopia through highly detailed paintings with social commentary prevalent in the modern-day. Well-known artist, Hajime Sorayama is famous for his robotic imagination depicting the beauty of the human body, commenting on the technological takeover on the human race. Designers like Iris Van Herpen, Philip Tracey and Alexander McQueen with their eccentric designing skills have time and again proven that their version of dystopia is effective, due to their referencing of the traditional texts and mythologies. An escape through the mundane representation of art, these creators have proven the capability of their art, transcending through the human psyche and beyond.

Fig.18. Maithilee Junankar




To understand which subcultures fall under the dystopian category, I would like to highlight what is the definition of subcultures. A subculture can be defined as a “segment of a culture which (while reflecting the dominant aspects of the main culture) [shows] different customs, norms, and values,” according to Christopher S.(Newman, 2018) The idea of a dystopian society seemed like a new normal post World War I. People around the world transformed 1000 decades worth of ideals based on hope and faith to something completely dreadful and sad after the war ended. Individuals began seeing their sad and destroyed surroundings in a new and different way, they began accepting it as what it needs to be. People accepted the new reality and adjusted their lifestyles to the same. This meant changing all aspects of their life, from living styles to fashion styles, literature tastes and so on. (Baldwin, 2020) With respect to changes in fashion, people shifted and opted for darker and duller colours. A part of these shifted into a very dark corner with black lace, dark Smokey makeup, net gloves, Victorian skirts and umbrellas. They were the Goths. Goths were a subculture that very difficult to define as every goth had their own definition of being one. They all had their own individual reasons for what goth is for them. (Mehrish,2020) It is easier to describe the origins of Goth culture, as it is a matter of history rather than observation and opinion. However, that does not mean that everyone would say the same thing about it, as certain points of origin and timelines are still debated. Karin Gonzalez teaches a course in anthropology surrounding the Goth subculture. She explains its origins by stating that the early days of the subculture began in the late 1970’s to early 1980’s with British Goth rock,defined as a dark and somber [Sic] evolution of punk rock. She goes on to say that Bauhaus, a British punk rock band, played a large role in Goth’s origins with the song ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ in 1979.(Newman, 2018) However, Goth isn’t the only subculture that falls under the dystopian category. Let’s look at another subculture, Cyber Punk. A subculture based on post-apocalyptic and punk flavours. You will see several post-apocalyptic clothing, humans interacting with technology and humans interfaced with chips making them part weapons. (Mehrish,2020) It’s hip and aware to have high tech grafted onto your body somewhere. If you can afford it, you probably have at least a couple of “enhancements”; a few software chips installed in your nervous system to interface with your computer, remember your appointments (the ever popular Daytimer™ chip for example), and improve your raquetball [ Sic] reflexes. If you’re cybered up you probably have interface plugs to operate computers and vehicles mentally. (https://cyberpunk.fandom.com/, 2020)

Fig. 19 Patricia M, 2013



dystopian Brands

Dystopian fashion has been widely explored by contemporary brands who are looking to tap and embrace public anxiety. Whether it be informed by references to a cult-classic movie or through various graphic and styling decisions, the silhouettes come off edgy and are the perfect way for style-minded individuals to express their anxiety in a tangibly.(Nedelcheva, 2019) A great example of dystopian fashion would be Syndicate Original — a Ukrainian label that dedicated its 2018 Fall/Winter line to extending the narrative essence of George Orwell’s ‘1984.’ (Nedelcheva, 2019) The novel has been recognized in literary circles and worldwide to be the epitome of dystopian culture. Other brands take a broader approach to dystopian fashion through bold references to cyberculture. (Nedelcheva, 2019) Harsha and Shruti Biswajit, are the designer-duo behind the Madras-based label Biskit. Titled ‘Space Out’, their collection comprises functional unisex clothing styles, mixed with prints inspired by space. (Kolvankar, 2019) They approached fashion as an art project to tell stories through their design language. For them, dystopia is a reality; the idea of utopia doesn’t exist. Looking at humans exploring space – from migrating there to creating an alternative society on a far-flung planet, Biskit incorporated elements on the clothes which reflect India’s history related to the subject; for instance, jumpsuits which are modelled after Rakesh Sharma’s spacesuit. (Kolvankar, 2019) Siblings Avni and Ambar Aneja are true millennials. Six5Six Street has been able to engage with social issues concerning the youth through their streetwear clothing. (Kolvankar, 2019) Think T-shirts with captions such as ‘Digital Detox’ or ‘Click-Bait’ on psychedelic tie-dye prints paired with neon bottoms. (Kolvankar, 2019) Their dystopian aesthetic may not match the conventional, Rick Owens-version that the word has come to be associated with. Being millennials, we are always surrounded by screens, be it mobile phones, televisions, or computers. When technology completely takes over us one day, we will be living in a dystopian world. We are increasingly becoming dependent on digital media, which has, in turn, slowly started controlling us. (Kolvankar, 2019) There are so many issues that remain unaddressed because of the saturation of content on social media platforms. Six5Six aims to represent these through clothes. (Kolvankar, 2019) Skingraft, which began in 2005 as a costume house, made custom costumes for performers and artists like Marilyn Manson, Trent Reznor, Rihanna, and Black-Eyed Peas.(Trashtastika, 2014) Skingraft opened its first store in LA in 2009. Jonny Cota, Cassidy Haley, and Katie Kay were themselves involved in the theatrical, vaudeville, circus scene in downtown LA, and designed looks for themselves and others, before starting their business with one old sewing machine in a bedroom.(Trashtastika, 2014) They mix grunge aesthetics with gothic streetwear, and a refined punk rock look, sometimes with a very elegant, regal twist. (Trashtastika, 2014) Early work showcased voluminous gowns with Victorian jackets embellished, studded, burned, distressed – incredibly artfully designed to a couture level. (Trashtastika, 2014) These days, the designers, Jonny and his brother Chris,handles the business, and it’s going from strength to strength, with collections every year from 2011 through to now.The look has been streamlined and very much leather-focussed, with motocross elements such as padded stitched shoulders to the fore. (Trashtastika, 2014) It’s very attractive to those of us in the dark subculture, who resonate with rock, goth and punk, and indeed Jonny himself is music inspired.

Fig. 20. BISKIT unisex fashion website

LA Store: 125 W.4th St #102 Los Angeles CA Online: revolveclothing.com, Luisaviaroma.com Demobaza, based in Bulgaria, is the work of designers Demo and Tono. They describe themselves as “Vegans, party animals, 24/7 hard workers, self-driven travellers [sic]”.(Trashtastika, 2014) The sheer scope of their work is staggering. Beginning in 2007, and with collections designed every year since, the Demobaza look has evolved to become a fierce, warrior-nomad who has been through the warsand has come out the other side, battered, tattered, but intact and ready to fight another day.(Trashtastika, 2014) They have shredded, distressed jumpers and ripped, layered dresses that look like they’ve weathered a holocaust. (Trashtastika, 2014) There are neoprene hi-top space boots for traversing the lunar landscape. (Trashtastika, 2014) There are also delicately wrinkled mesh leggings or sturdy neoprene zipped leggings with padded moto detailing.(Trashtastika, 2014) For the most adverse weather conditions, there are jackets and coats, cardigans, cozy woollen wraparound scarves, holsters, sleeves,and everywhere is that ubiquitous dystopian garment, the hoodie. (Trashtastika, 2014) Of course, with the breadth of their work, there is just as much on offer in their menswear sections as there is in the women. Showroom: 35 William Gladstone str., Sofia, Bulgaria (appointment only) +359 886 39 19 20 or e-mail at store@demobaza.com Webstore: Store Demobaza Online: Luisaviaroma Gelareh Designs have some of the most exquisite coats. Highly structured, sculptural, precise, and fierce, they are almost coats of armour. (Trashtastika, 2014) The designer describes it as “warrior chic couture”. (Trashtastika, 2014) GelarehAlam is originally from Iran, but arrived in San Francisco in 2001. Originally a child psychology graduate, she studied Fashion Design in SF and began production soon after completing her bachelors.(Trashtastika, 2014) The Crocodile is a beautiful hooded wool coat with leather detailing and the most superb crocodile-effect leather folded, layered, and sewn down like a spine at the back. (Trashtastika, 2014) The Palladin Coat is courtly, with an upright collar, beautiful down-the-back leather insert details, and articulated armour-like shoulders.(Trashtastika, 2014) Another coat with an amazing back is the Avant.(Trashtastika, 2014) The Torza vest has a bone-like massive collar perfect for any evil queen. (Trashtastika, 2014) Gelareh Showroom (appointment only): 375 Alabama Street, San Francisco CA Also available at: Shop Untitled: 27 W 8th St, New York, NY 10011 Church Boutique: 7277 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90047 Online: Deliciousboutique




Fashion and music are expressive avenues that showcase personal statements. The perfect outfit can visually express an artist’s mood, tone, and emotion. Clothes can help us materialize how we feel within, expressing our deepest thoughts without saying a word. (Jean-Batiste, 2016) Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys by My Chemical Romance (2010), metaphorically represented world, consisting elements of cyberpunk, with a group of rebels (the band members) rebelling against an evil corporation (Better Living Industries aka BL/ind). (Walker, 2011) On Unterton’s two records for Ostgut Ton’s sub-label, producer Mark surgically constructs cinematic and dystopian drum and bass cuts with a kind of alien logic that operates beyond the comprehension of the natural brain.(Telekom Electronic Beats, 2019) It’s no secret that K-pop is full of futuristic elements, and sometimes that future is bleak. Playlist Sunday features a variety of K-pop music videos that offer up a dystopian take on things.(Herman, 2016) Whether it’s a bleak, post-apocalyptic world or a police state, K-pop doesn’t really think that this world is going to end well and we have a lot of dystopia to deal with.(Herman, 2016) In keeping with the dark concept of Badman by B.A.P, the outfits and style worn are mostly dark in colour. We see a mix of styles throughout the video; stripy outfits, leather garments, and unusual accessories such as fishnet face masks. All this combined with the war-like face paint worn at times, comes together to create a very strong, rebellious feeling, and it matches very well with the overall concept and sound of the song.(Gregory, n.d.) If we’re talking dystopian, you can’t go without a casual mention of XIA Junsu’s “Flower.”(Herman, 2016)The music video keeps the eeriness of the song, and transposes it into a post-apocalyptic world, which is shown through different outfits consisting of dark and metallic themes.

Fig 21. Shatabdi Bhowmick

Fig. 22. Shatabdi Bhowmick

Fig. 23. Shatabdi Bhowmick

Fig. 24. Shatabdi Bhowmick

Fig. 25 Shatabdi Bhowmick

Dystopia and the fashion industry In the 1980s and 1990s,a society run by monopolistic power and the hi-tech control of humans was regarded as dystopia(Kwon, 2012)This power and control led to free expression of individuals through their fashion. Fashion designers began expressing their views on the world around them through their dystopian ideas and futuristic silhouettes. Hussein Chalayan’s “remote controlled dress� in the spring/ summer 2000 collection was a perfect representation and idealization of a dystopian society. The dress was made from materials such as fibre glass and resin and moulded together using a frame. The dress had two flaps, one on each side that opened to reveal pink tulle shooting out of the dress. During Fig. 26 Hajime Sorayama, 1983 the show, they brought on stage a small boy that commanded the dress to open and someone from the back used the remote control to operate the dress. The idea behind the boy commanding the dress was a representation of how humans tend to control everyone and everything around them.(chalayan, 2008) Fashion designers of that time such as Coco Chanel were of a Dystopian view towards fashion as they rejected their corsets, threw their layered skirts and heavy hats. All that to adopt the famous 3-piece suit for women. The most rebellious and outrageous concept according to Hitler but a practical and comfortable one for the time. (factory, 2017) Apart from mainstream fashion designers like Hussein Chalayan, Coco Chanel, Alexander McQueen, etc, we also have costume designers such as JudiannaMakovsky who designed the costumes for movies like Hunger Games. A movie based on the post revolutionized world partitioned with greed, money and class. Judianna has shown two versions of clothing that change with living standards and the people you are forced to live with. The first part is where the main character Katniss is seen in District 12, wearing a blue pleated A-line dress till her knees, almost no make-up and natural hair color. The other side is when she is taken to the capitol. A place where women wear 20s style bee stung lips, neon hair, white powdered faces and exaggerated clothing. The men are seen wearing glittered suits, intricate beards that look like tattoos and styled hair. People in the capitol are shown to be power driven and obsessed with luxuries of life that are highly unnecessary. (Bahr, 2012) Fig. 27 Hajime Sorayama, 1982

Fig. 28. Akshita Mehrish

Fig. 29. Akshita Mehrish

Fig. 30. Akshita Mehrish

Fig. 31. Akshita Mehrish

Semiotics of Dystopian Fashion In the above pieces, we have seen what Dystopia is, how it is depicted but to see it in front of our eyes is something else altogether. This means, looking at real life situations wherein it has pushed people to use fashion as a mode to make a point or support a cause. One such item is a Bandana and what it symbolized in various places over the globe. In the fashion world, the bandana can be co-opted for nearly anything. In 2017, at the onset of the fashion week season and under the hashtag #TiedTogether, The Business of Fashion encouraged designers, journalists, and influencers to wear a white bandana as “a sign to the world that you believe in the common bonds of humankind — regardless of race, sexuality, gender, or religion.”(Grobe, 2018)

Fig. 32. Akshita Mehrish

Biblography 3–20. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/43281204. 57–78. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1433245. Alter, Alexandra. “Boom Times for the New Dystopians.” New York Times , 30 Mar. 2017. Ames, Melissa. “Engaging ‘Apolitical’ Adolescents: Analyzing the Popularity and Educational An Independent Socialist Magazine, vol. 69, no. 1, May 2017, pp. 20–40. EBSCOhost, Bahr, L. (2012). Dystopian fashion . Baldwin, M. (2020). The Evolution of Dystopian Literature. Barker, E. (2015). 40 Bone-Chilling Tracks That Predict A Dark Dystopian Future. Blakemore, E., 2020. Why Plague Doctors Wore Those Strange Beaked Masks. [online] National Geographic. Available at: <https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/reference/european-history/plague-doctors-beaked-masks-coronavirus/> Brussat, M. A. Movies about Dystopias . chalayan, H. (2008). Holding pattern . Metropolitan museum of art . Classs, M. (2020). What is Dystopian Fiction? Learn About the 5 Characteristics of Dystopian Fiction With Examples. Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Braillebooks.com, 2008. De Freytas-Tamura, Kimiko. “George Orwell’s ‘1984’ Is Suddenly a Best Seller.” New York Times ,25 Jan. 2017. Dick, Philip K. The Man in the High Castle. First Mariner Books , 1962. doi:10.14452/MR-069-01-2017-05pass:[_]2. En.wikipedia.org. 2020. Dystopia. [online] Available at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dystopia> factory, S. (2017). what happens to fashion in a society ? Faircloth, K. (2010). Gizmodo. Retrieved from io9.gizmodo.com. Fisher, Mark. “Precarious Dystopias: The Hunger Games, in Time, and Never Let Me Go.” Film Giroux, Henry A. “Trump’s America: Rethinking 1984 and Brave New World.” Monthly Review: Gray, John. “Lost in the Multiverse.” New Statesman, vol. 145, 18 Mar. 2016, pp. 60-63. Grobe, M. (2018). Highs Nobiety . Retrieved from www.highsnobiety.com. http://www.utopiaanddystopia.com/. List of Dystopian Music, Games and TV. https://cyberpunk.fandom.com/. (2020). Fashion . https://standoutforever.com/collections/dystopian-clothing-tech-wear-cyber-punk-post-apocalyptic https://www.trendhunter.com/slideshow/film-fashion

In Praise of Shadows (2020) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxRB4sdbIcw&t=453s Kolvankar, O., 2019. Enter A Dystopian Era Of Fashion With Two New Streetwear Labels. [online] Verve Magazine. Available at: <https://www.vervemagazine.in/fashion-and-beauty/enter-a-dystopian-era-of-fashion-with-two-new-streetwear-labels> Kwon, S. (2012). A Study of Fashion Influenced by Dystopian Ideas. Seoul, Korea: https://www.koreascience.or.kr/. Kwon, S. and Ha, J., 2013. A Study of Fashion Influenced by Dystopian Ideas. Journal of the Korean Society of Clothing and Textiles, [online] 37(7), pp.837-851. Available at: <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264060407_A_Study_of_Fashion_ Influenced_by_Dystopian_Ideas>. Literature, Inc., 1961, pp. 257–267. Mahoney, M. (2020). The tempest. Retrieved from thetempest.co. McAllister Smith, Eric. “History that Never was.” Naval History Jan 1999: 22. ProQuest. Web. 14 Medium. 2017. What Happens To Fashion In A Dystopian Society?. [online] Available at: <https://medium.com/slowfactory/ what-happens-to-fashion-in-a-dystopian-society-292db0567f0f> Moral, Political, and Criminal Responsibility.” German Studies Review, vol. 25, no. 1, 2002, pp. Mukherjee, R., 2020. Long Before PPE Suits: Why Did Bubonic Plague Doctors Wear Those Strange Beaked Masks?. [online] News18. Available at: <https://www.news18.com/amp/news/buzz/long-before-ppe-suits-why-did-bubonic-plague-doctorswear-those-strange-beaked-masks-2702871.html> Nedelcheva, K., 2019. 30 Dystopian Fashion Lines. [online] TrendHunter.com. Available at: <https://www.trendhunter.com/ slideshow/dystopian-fashion1> Neufeld, Michael J. “Wernher Von Braun, the SS, and Concentration Camp Labor: Questions of Newman, S. (2018). The evolutions of the perceptions of the goth subculture . Oct. 2018 . Orwell, George. 1984. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1949. Potential of Dystopian Literature Post-9/11.” The High School Journal, vol. 97, no. 1, 2013, pp. Quarterly, vol. 65, no. 4, 2012, pp. 27–33. JSTOR, Readwritethink.org. 2020. Dystopias: Definition And Characteristics. [online] Available at: http://www.readwritethink.org/files/ resources/lesson_images/lesson926/DefinitionCharacteristics.pdf SDG. (2020). Dystopia, The hunger games and the critique of the dead. Trashtastika- Living the life trashtastic. 2014. Dystopian Designers (Part 1). [online] Available at: <http://trashtastika.com/dystopian-designers-1/> www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/fq.2012.65.4.27.

List if Figures Fig 1: John Stuart mill to first use the tearm ‘dystopia’ in litrature (https://turbulentlondon.com/2018/10/11/turbulent-londoners-helen-taylor-1831-1907/) Fig 2: Portrait of Jeremy Bentham, invented the word ‘Dystopia’ (https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/jeremy-bentham-nothing-pleasure-pain/) Fig 3: Collage by Jordan Westre on Dystopian ideas (https://scene360.com/art/101571/jordan-westre/) Fig 4: PenguinPete, ILLUSION OF PERFECT UTOPIAN SOCIETY, WHICH IS ACTUALLY DYSTOPIAN (https://www.cleareducation.com.au/blog/post/5828/1984--Quotes-and-Analysis/) Fig 5: Illustration by Maithilee Junnkar. Fig 6: The Women, Tony Skeor, Artwork, (https://www.wallpaperflare.com/gray-zip-up-jacket-women-artwork-digital-art-tony-skeor-drawing-wallpaper-hhqs) Fig 7: Picture of Picture of Dorian Gray, manuplatation by Maithilee Junankar (https://www.scottmonty.com/2019/07/when-narcissus-meets-dorian-gray.html) Fig 8: Artwork by Maithilee Junankar, inspired by Salvador Dalli,The Persistence of Memory (https://www.reproduction-gallery.com/oil-painting/1522662218/the-persistence-of-memory-by-salvador-dali/) Fig 9: The post-apocalyptic scene by tamnlt on DeviantArt (https://www.reddit.com/r/androidthemes/comments/6a4xoz/simple_scifi/) Fig10: Nazi mother and children (https://medium.com/slowfactory/what-happens-to-fashion-in-a-dystopian-society-292db0567f0f) Fig 11: Nazi German Family (https://medium.com/slowfactory/what-happens-to-fashion-in-a-dystopian-society-292db0567f0f) Fig 12: Artwork by Maithilee Junankar Fig 13: Movie posters of Laila, Hunger Games, Mad Max, Mother (http://www.impawards.com/intl/india/tv/leila_ver7.html) (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1951265/) (https://madmax.fandom.com/wiki/Mad_Max:_Fury_Road) Fig.14: Artwork by Maithilee Junankar Fig.15: Artwork by Maithilee Junankar

Fig.16: Artwork by Maithilee Junankar Fig.17: Artwork by Maithilee Junankar Fig.18: Artwork by Maithilee Junankar Fig 19: Patricia M, 2013 (http://rebloggy.com/post/pretty-old-school-goth-gothic-deathrock-trad-goth-sisters-of-mercy-patricia-morr/71689090857) Fig 20: BISKIT unisex fashion website dress (https://shopbiskit.in/) Fig 21: Artwork by Shatabdi Bhowmick Fig 22: Artwork by Shatabdi Bhowmick Fig 23: Artwork by Shatabdi Bhowmick Fig 24: Artwork by Shatabdi Bhowmick Fig 25: Artwork by Shatabdi Bhowmick Fig. 26: Artwork by Hajime Sorayama, 1983 (https://in.pinterest.com/pin/505247651941818288/) Fig. 27: Artwork by Hajime Sorayama, 1982 (https://www.artsy.net/artwork/hajime-sorayama-untitled-1) Fig. 28: Artwork by Akshita Mehrish Fig. 29: Artwork by Akshita Mehrish Fig. 30: Artwork by Akshita Mehrish Fig. 31: Artwork by Akshita Mehrish Fig. 32: Artwork by Akshita Mehrish

Shatabdi Bhowmick

Maithilee Junankar

Akshita Mehrish

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