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Fashion Episode

Futuristic Fashions

Futuristic clothing models

Sharks, Space, and Audiotape


One thing I love about fashion is how creative it is. Designers make clothes for so many purposes, inspired by totally crazy things, like sharks and geckos!


I don't know much about fashion, but I do know something about sharks. Sharks are excellent swimmers. Speedo, the swimwear company, is designing outfits for human swimmers. They're copying how sharkskin works.

It's another example of "biomimicry." Which is a fancy way of saying we're copying nature. In this case, Speedo says they can reduce "drag" by 4% by copying how water flows over sharkskin. That may not matter much to you or me but if you're an Olympic swimmer, I guess swimming 4% faster is huge.

Alyce Santoro example

My turn. A lot of jackets have holes for headphone or earbud wires but Alyce Santoro — she's a designer — uses old audio tape to MAKE her clothes. And there are special devices that can even PLAY the music her clothes are made of. She calls it Sonic Fabric.


Ooh, I've got a future fashion for you. Virgin Galactic are selling tickets for everyday people to fly into space. So a lot of people are working on new kinds of spacesuits — ones that are easier to move around in and that protect astronauts against harsh conditions.


Yes. I think they're even copying the tiny hairs on gecko feet that let geckos walk on the ceiling to create spacesuit gloves with better grip for working in zero gravity.


Hold the geckos. Dex, did you say you can BUY tickets to OUTER SPACE? How much are they?

Virgin Galactic examplePI: Prof. Dava Newman, MIT
Design: Trotti and Associates, Inc.
Fabrication: Dainese

Only $200,000.


That's a use of the word "only" I've not heard before.


They're even planning to make an orbiting hotel. You can buy the tickets now but you can't fly yet so I've already started saving.


How much do you have so far?


I have about $3. Can you spot me the other $199,997? I'll pay you back. Space cadet's honor.

Take Action!

Design some new clothes! Sketch something cool and send it to us to put on this Web site. Tell us what you were thinking or what problem you were trying to solve. See if you can copy nature, like the way polar bears use fur to keep warm or the way that tree bark acts like armor for the tree. Maybe you can think of something that saves energy, like a solar-powered sweatshirt. Send your designs to:

WGBH Interactive
One Guest Street
Boston, MA  02135


There are many people experimenting with "wearable" computers, armor that can heal a soldier's wounds, or even clothes that let people hug each other without touching. Here are just a few links to get you exploring futuristic fashions online.