Producer's thoughts on Brave New World: Part II, Fashion 1931 - 2540

Producer's thoughts on Brave New World: Part II, Fashion 1931 - 2540

16 July 2015

by Jenny King

Brave New World producer Jenny King on the significance of the zipper in Huxley's novel.

Huxley’s Brave New World is set in the year 2540 which is 525 years from now. What will we all look like? What will we all wear?

We’d love to hear your ideas or see your pictures ….  (see our inspirational gallery below)

 

Meanwhile, what did Huxley predict back in 1931?

Well, first of all, he predicted the use of the zipper for fashion.

Zipper Although it lacked a catchy name at the time, Gideon Sundback's "Hookless Fastener" received U.S. patent number 1,060,378 on April 29 1913. 

The name "zipper" wasn’t coined until a decade after Sundback’s patent was issued when

the B.F. Goodrich Company adopted the Hookless Fastener for a line of galoshes in 1923 and registered “Zipper Boots” as a trademark.

 

The zipper was originally used in footwear and bags for holding tobacco.

Critics labelled the zipper a morally corrupt invention that made it too easy to remove one's trousers. 

That didn't concern the US army who were the first big customer using zippers in both equipment and uniforms issued to World War One troops

Zipper

ENTER ALDOUS HUXLEY and BRAVE NEW WORLD in 1931

“ZIP” “ZIP” “ZIP”

"John is so awed by Lenina's beauty that he does not even dare touch her. He has a sudden temptation to pull the one zipper of her pajamas, but he immediately is ashamed of himself."   
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

In fact, it would seem as if all the clothes in Huxley’s Brave New World have zippers:

 

"zip," "zip," "zip," often followed by "zip," and even occasionally, "ZIP!"

zippers = easy access.   And in this Brave New World of instant gratification, zippers were essential. 

 

BACK TO THE HISTORY OF THE ZIPPER

The Prince of Wales adopted the zip fly into his wardrobe in 1934.

Around the same time, designer Elsa Schiaparelli started designing zippers into her sportswear and avant-garde gowns.

And in 1937, zippers really took off when they caught the attention of a number of French fashion designers.

 

...and back to Huxley's Brave New World

"Standing in the centre of a ring of zipper-hunting twins, the Head Nurse looked round"
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

How do you think fashion will change in the future? What do you expect to see from this production of Brave New World? Get designing, get inspired.... FASHION FOR THE FUTURE... born of the past?

Check out these images of fashion in the 30s, research some more, could they inspire you ideas for a fashion of the future?

Brave New World premieres at Royal and Derngate, Northampton, where it runs from 4 to 26 September 2015. It then tours to Edinburgh, Blackpool, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Wolverhampton, Darlington and Bradford where it concludes on 5 December.