The question driving the latest made-for-Instagram art installation is really quite pressing. According to Glamour, A. Human poses the question, "What is the future of self-expression? If you could change your body as easily as you change your clothing, would you?" A. Human’s website seemingly confirms this by painting a picture of fashion’s (possibly near?) future: “Enter a fashion showroom from the future where clothes have been replaced with body modifications.”
Upon mentioning this fashion brand of the future to my mom, she said it sounded like The Hunger Games. No, not the part where Katniss Everdeen was fighting for her life. The part where everyone in the Capitol is dressed in the most outrageous clothes with the most outrageous makeup. Naturally, all this talk of anything becoming like The Hunger Games made me uncomfortable. And even scarier, I think that’s A. Humans’ thing.
If you’ve seen any of A. Human’s work on Kim Kardashian West, Chrissy Teigen and/or Tan France, then you know their pieces are somewhat unsettling. Kim wore a choker that looked like it was embedded in her neck with lights that glowed in sync with her heartbeat. Chrissy wore a set of wings on her upper chest. And Tan wore a Tudor-inspired ruffle collar complete with opaque crystals. All of which looked very intriguing and yes, fashionable, but the idea these “futuristic” pieces spoke to is incredibly frightening.
A. Human’s art installation, which launched this week in accordance with fashion week (which I’m assuming was intentional), presented even more of these grim, albeit fascinating pieces, including a live model wearing blue-horned shoulder pieces, flesh-like lace webbing in-between fingers and a nod to heels of the future (aka heels implanted into the back of the foot). Think American Horror Story, but make it fashion, and you’ve got A. Human.
The aspect that everyone seems to be ignoring about A. Human, though, is what it might actually mean for the future of fashion. Now listen, we all know that the future is far more dystopian-looking these days than The Jetsons had predicted (which is a real bummer, btw), but has this dystopian vision of the future reached so far as to influence fashion? A. Human answers that question with a resounding “Yes.”
The trouble with A. Human is not the fashion itself. Actually, the pieces A. Human has created are amazingly believable and are even quite beautiful and ornate. I find the shock value of A. Human actually comes from what the brand represents, which is this idea that someday (hopefully in the very distant future, if at all) we could change our bodies as simply as we change our outfits or do our makeup. The idea that fashion won’t just be about the clothes we can or can’t afford, but about the lengths we are willing to put our bodies through to bend to fashion’s whims. There is something truly terrifying about this concept A. Human perpetuates involving the future of fashion being somehow connected to the increasingly approachable plastic surgery craze.
Who knows what the fashion of the future will ultimately look like, but someone get Ryan Murphy on the line. American Horror Story: A. Human, anyone?