Monday, February 15, 2016

Change Up

    As a species, it seems we come bundled with a desire to imitate the world around us.  I've written about the sources of this before, the desire to acquire in the process some of the attributes of those things we imitate.  But along with that is another layer of reasoning.  By imitating, we are also trying to act as creator.  We re-imagine something along lines we like even more than the real thing.
   We create fur that is not fur, feathers that are not feathers, scales, teeth and claws that are not those things.  We devise textures to mimic stone, wood, water, fire, and cloud.  And this relentless recreation of the known into the new results in some things that are both startling in their innovation, and breathtaking in their loveliness.
    That we copy to feel a kind of control over the things of our world is true. It helps us understand a part of them, and when we understand, our level of comfort rises, because we no longer need feel as much fear.  Though it is true we gain no real control, our fuller comprehension lets us see the limits, and qualities of the things we choose to duplicate in another medium.
    To my mind though, it is the great "What If" that pervades our brains that is the prime driver of this often feverish seeming need to ape something, and by doing so, shift it into another reality. Our curiosity about how things work, and what might happen if they worked differently informs a huge amount of our activity in the world. It certainly drives the majority of the acceleration of change in the Attire language. You could say it is the desire for profit, for sales, that is the core of that endless stream of new that happens, but the center point of it, truly, is our lack of willingness to forever accept sameness.  Sure, we've become obsessed with the idea of the new for its own sake. That fact does not alter the existence of the need for innovation, for change, and the desire to copy up, to make over in some elevated way, the things we already know.
    So we are always on the hunt for some texture we have seen in nature or industry that we can somehow adapt for our own bodies.  We seek out color combinations, like the sheen of oil on water, and end up making them exist as textiles.  We find patterns in machines, and weave those patterns, quite literally into our apparel.  For example, once we understood the concept of the fractal geometry that is a part of the natural world, and could, through the use of computers recreate the idea, fractal images began to appear as decorative elements, and as whole printed fabrics.
     We have also spent a good deal of research time trying to find out how to make materials that look just like fur, and have finally achieved fakes that are so good it's hard to tell them from the real thing. Naturally, we haven't let that stop us. Those same fake furs are made in colors and patterns that never existed in nature, letting us enjoy that same luxurious feel, in hot pink, or awning stripes.  So, we imitate, but we alter while we do so.
    As technologies continue advancing we will see further attempts to make over what we see into something more to our always changing tastes.  And some of these things will find their way, forever into the apparel conversation, giving greater depth to what we communicate through what we wear.