It’s Not 1932 Anymore, But Aldous Huxley’s Dystopian Brave New World Is Very Relevant
At this point, modernity can be reduced to an algorithm that gets to dictate the ephemera we scroll through. Or a slobbery misogynist that controls the most powerful country in the world via euphemistic jibber-jabber and targeted scare tactics. At least that’s what left-leaning pessimists will tell you.
With these large shares of power co-opted by Zuckerberg and Trump, many parallels between present day life and Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World have been drawn. Are they actually accurate or relevant? Do we care? The answers are: somewhat, and yes. And it’s all kind of enmeshed with the clothes you wear. Stay with us.
“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.”
- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
The truth is, Aldous Huxley’s 1932 dystopian classic contains some curiously prescient qualities. Its denizens were born not unto mothers, but engineered in synthetic wombs, procreated to slot seamlessly into predetermined classes. These denizens, once grown, are kept happy (or rather, docile) via soma, a pharmaceutical that blocks the regular course of human emotion, rendering everyone robotically content with their place in life. As The Guardian reported, “This is a world where people think they are always happy, always get what they want, and never want what they can’t have.” Huxley was also concerned with the elite powering those who had invisible voices; those without the resources to affect their own brand of change.
In a way, street culture and its proponents intend to subvert this model. Street culture rejects the trickle-down effects of high fashion down to the masses, and rather, looks increasingly to idiosyncrasies and individuality
On first glance, top-down control isn’t a feature of the street style proceedings. Photographers await the arrival of guests outside Fashion Week shows, cameras poised for shiny looks that catch the light (or those that will dominate Instagram’s backlit screen)—looks that now represent a much more compelling commodity than the fantastical, inaccessible runway presentations. The street is where the ‘real’ fashion happens, they tell us.
At least those were the originating sentiments about street style.
Of course, the #phenomenon quickly morphed into a large-scale, enterprising operation, culminating in the same faces being photographed time and time again, and ultimately, endorsements, revenue streams and an alternate kind of artifice. Those faces (and bodies)? The slim, white ones with cripplingly high Instagram followings, mostly.
CLOT’s upcoming collection is conscious of both the monopolisation of street style and culture, as well as the relegation of control to those with power and status. Through a diverse cross-section of styles, colours, textures and influences the collection begets an encouraging omen about listening to the right stimuli and resisting the external forces that can cloud our predilections.
Words / Mel Kenny