Fashion is always a key cultural indicator of a society with regard to a particular time period, and fashion designers are always trying to conceptualize what we will be wearing in the both the near- and far-future. Sometimes, designers and artists will remarkably strike the proverbial nail on the head with forward-thinking futurism. All of the successful fashion premonitions we know of because they were created. Who would’ve guessed that in the late 19th-century, someone would have predicted the large shoulder-pads that were popular in the 1980s, or foreseeing the shift towards more androgynous fashions more than a century later. But what about the futuristic visions of men’s fashion from long ago that fell to the wayside of men’s fashion history? Dalys 1895 explores some men’s fashions that were once thought to be what men in the future would wear, but ultimately never materialized. These five future men’s fashions from the past show how fantastic and whimsical people used to think the future would be. So let’s go back, way back...

Predicting Men’s Fashion for the Year 2000 in the 1800s

Many times, people like to ponder what life will be like 100 years from that point in time. In the waning decades of the 1800s, with the turn of the 20th century looming close, there were some that liked to dream what the year 2000 would be like. Aside from some of the fantastic creations dreamt up by futurists and those in the sciences, there were many artists and designers that tried to peer into the future to see the possible trends of the future. However, some predictions for men’s designer fashion in the year 2000 were as far-off from reality as flying cars would be at the turn of this century.

 

The late-19th century was full of people with ideas about the future, and W. Cade Gall was one of them. He wrote and illustrated a piece for the June 1893 issue of Strand magazine entitled Future Dictates of Fashion, which proposed fashions of the future that were whimsical at best and unflattering or pompous at worst. Gall later admitted that his “designs” were merely satirical and done in good spirit for the article. While none of his men’s fashions come even remotely close to what people actually wore in the decades that followed, which is a good thing for anyone that likes to wear contemporary clothes.

 

Then in 1902, the fantastic French science-fiction author, illustrator, and publisher Albert Robida painted La Sortie de l'opéra en l'an 2000, which depicts a future of fish-like flying cars and dapper men dressed in tuxedos and military trench-coats that are as highly stylized as some of the couture coming off the runways in 2016. As cool and sophisticated a look as Robida dreamt up, this was one future men’s style that never happened.

Predicting Men’s Fashion for the Year 2000 in the 1800s

And They Said We’d All Be Living on the Moon By Now

If the 19th century ended predicting a colorful and fanciful future, the early-20th century looked at the future through the science-fiction tropes of the time. While science-fiction publications of the 1920s fell to the wayside of 1930s movie serials like Flash Gordon that dominated imaginations thinking of the 21st century, but the series’ depictions of men’s fashion in the future is anything but fashionable. Even the 1936 film classic Things to Come saw a future in which fashion becomes almost genderless (a direction that fashion has been headed in for some time), and the androgynous aesthetic implies that in the future there is more equality, which has also come true to an extent, however the retrofitted Roman toga-style is not something you can expect anyone to be wearing when they roll into the office on a Monday.

And They Said We’d All Be Living on the Moon By Now

Dreaming of Futuristic Men’s Fashion During the Space Age

The 1950s was an age of optimism after the then-recent memory of World War II, and when it came to sci-fi predictions of what men would be wearing in the future, this could be summed up in one word: uniforms. While the uniform does play a role in contemporary men’s fashion, the casual everyday uniforms depicted in all the classic sci-fi of the times, including stories by Robert Heinlein to films such as Forbidden Planet and many TV shows like Space Cadet. Needless to say, these far-out visions of men’s fashions in the future have yet to become fashionable. The 1960s had more success when it came to predicting future men’s fashion trends in sci-fi classics like Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, and yet the 1970s continued to put men in bright-and-shiny uniforms in the 21st century.

Dreaming of Futuristic Men’s Fashion During the Space Age

Futuristic Street Styles

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Futuristic Street Styles