Better Clothes, Happier People

I have a dream. A wonderful, beautiful dream of a more comfortable world. While there are many more aspects to having a comfortable life, for me, and many others, a key ingredient is having comfortable, well-fitting clothes. I don’t know why, but for some reason most clothes I find just don’t fit me right. I’ve got odd proportions, I guess. I’ve tried making my own clothes but have resigned myself to the fact that it’s just not something I’m talented in, hard as it was to admit, as I’ve generally been good at whatever I've tried. I've told myself repeatedly that it doesn't matter — it’s not necessary to make my own clothes when there are plenty of talented clothes makers who can do it for me. I don’t mind paying more, if necessary, to get something that’s just what I want, made just for me, but it seems that all the people I've been to to have my clothes custom made are so used to making “normal” clothes that they haven’t made the appropriate adjustments so that the dress I've asked for will fit ME just right. So far I've only gotten one that did. Ironically, it was the very first one and the woman who made it for me disappeared shortly afterwards. That dress wasn't perfect. It wasn't exactly what I had in mind, what I thought I’d asked for, but it was comfortable, cute, and every time I wore it out in public someone would ask me where I bought it, wanting one like it, as they have with some of the other imperfect dresses I've had made.

That’s me on the left, in the first dress I had made

One day I was thinking about this dressmaking journey I've been on, lamenting the failure to get exactly what I want and need, having garments ruined, paying for materials and labor on dresses that were never wearable — I've always paid for the work, even when it’s been wrong. The person took the time and effort to make it for me and perhaps it was my failure to communicate properly that resulted in the final product not being what I’d envisioned. Whatever the reasons, I want dresses that I design myself, that fit me perfectly and that I can tell a computer about. Computers don’t have preconceived notions about what people should be wearing. If the program isn't quite right I can tweak it until it is right and I get exactly what I want. I understand computers and am often much more comfortable with machines than I am with people. The computer will do exactly what I ask it to and I don’t have to worry that it will be offended, or charge me more, or take a whole lot longer, if I've made an error in my request and ask the computer to change something and do it again. I won’t have to shop for more fabric, and all the other odds and ends I picked out for my perfect dress, once I have a printer that will simply output what the computer has told it I want. In fact, I want to be able to order the dress from my phone, or a tablet, or a television, and I want anyone else in the world that wants a dress that will fit them perfectly to be able to do the same.

It’s been years since I started looking for a way to bring this vision to life — I’m not attached to being an entrepreneur, I just want nice, comfortable, well fitting clothes, clothes that are comfortable to wear and that I feel great wearing, but I don’t see anyone else making this happen, so it seems to be up to me.

I want to get rid of all my bras. I HATE bras. They never fit me correctly, are uncomfortable and even people with really great bodies sometimes have odd bumps and bulges around their bras. I want clothes with built in modesty and support that don’t require such undergarments, and lots of other people do, too. I've been talking to them for years and many have told me “I’ll be your best customer!” I don’t need a lot of money, I don’t care about that, but I know that the moment this company starts selling it’s products it’ll be making enough to soon be profitable, even though I want to employ comfortable, happy, well-fed people who never have to stress over how they’ll pay for life’s necessities. Where it’s easy to get to and from work — maybe even having company vans that pick employees up and take them home so that they can either relax while in transit, or be productive with things that can’t be accomplished while driving and paying attention to traffic. I want everyone to be able to afford what our company’s selling, as well as being given some of our products as a benefit for working there.

In my dream world each person’s workstation is the right size and shape for that person. If the person is left-handed everything is oriented to the left, instead of having the default right-hand set-up. If someone’s short they have a lower desk and a chair they can sit back in while having their feet touch the floor. If someone wants to stand while working they ought to be able to comfortably and easily raise it all up to do so or, better yet, have another area to move to for that. Health and fitness and personal emergencies are figured into the equation. No one’s docked or chastised for taking time off to go to the dentist, for instance, or to their child’s school for a meeting.

There’s comfortable furniture in this world I envision, preferably adaptable to people’s sizes. Thank goodness 3D printers, and hopefully, 4D printers, are making all of this easily foreseeable, even while some people still tell me I’m dreaming, that this vision I have for customized comfort is impossible. I know that’s a very limited view. Even if all of these things had to be done the old-fashioned way it’d be possible. Of course it wouldn't be possible to scan someone’s body, or enter their dimensions into the program to create an avatar to dress, or to sit in a chair to try it on for size. I know that even with a perfect avatar of one’s self that one has dressed like a virtual paper doll, some people still won’t be happy with what they receive. That’s okay. Some people are hard to satisfy so they won’t have to accept that garment if they don’t like it. Someone else will eventually. Because a huge portion of my ideal world is excellent Customer Service and customer satisfaction.

I’m sure that over time new size patterns will emerge. More than the current Ready To Wear industry has, and for that there will be stores and premade stock. Because at first, at least, once the printers are actually available to make these clothes, it’s going to take a while to print something out. People won’t want to wait around in the store until their dress is finished, so, as long as they wear a standard size, based on the emergent sizes, they will be able to buy off the rack, just like in a regular dress shop. Alas, for those with unusual sizes and shapes, possibly people like me, there will be a bit of a wait. The result of that wait will be exactly what the person wants, something that fits perfectly, is affordable, comfortable, flattering and the exact style that each person wants to present to the world. I’m very excited to know that this vision will be realized in the not-too-distant future, and that I may even be the person who makes it happen.

The technology for dressing avatars has been around for years and, even if I can’t seem to get Second Life to work properly to dress my avatar I know that an app to dress an avatar on my phone will have a much lower overhead than what’s required for the entire Second Life viewer. I’m also excited by the possibility of making clothes and furniture from recycled materials. I’ve been researching possible print materials that are natural, breathable and healthy and can be sourced in a healthy, sustainable way. I recently realized that there’s a huge surplus of old, used textiles in the world, much of which ends up in landfills. I can make it easy for people to get rid of their old stuff, their clothes, sheets, towels, blankets, etc., so that they can be broken down and reutilized. I don’t know the details of the technology for doing this, nor do I know yet who does, but I’m quite certain there’s someone out in the world who knows exactly what’s required to make this happen. Same with the materials for the furniture. I’ve got a neighbor who owns a grocery store. The other neighbors get very upset when he takes plastic containers and boxes into his yard and burns them, something that’s actually illegal, but which many people still do since the recycling program disappeared. I believe most people would rather recycle — that they don’t want to waste what can be reused if they know it’s reusable, but that they don’t know what to do with the stuff that accumulates. It’s a big problem that doesn’t need to exist. It’s a huge waste of resources that can be reutilized, and it’s a great way to source materials that will be perfect for making furniture.

My dream world has many more wonderful aspects — everyone has shelter, clean water, plenty of fresh food, excellent sanitation and all the other basics that most people in First World countries take for granted, including toilet seats, something that’s optional for many in the country where I live. I’ve got a big, long list that’s growing all the time and I want to be a person who helps to make this world a better place for everyone in it. Please contact me if you share even a small part of this vision. Together we are powerful. Working together we can make anything happen.

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