Zero-gravity wardrobes: The behaviour of costume in weightless environments
In this commercial space age, audiences increasingly expect realism in science fiction. Weightlessness is commonly simulated through physical or virtual special effects, but reduced gravity aircraft offer opportunities for capturing the effects of microgravity more authentically. While this poses practical challenges for costume designers, it also invites the possibility of creative engagement with weightlessness. Costume can be employed to visibly evidence the effects of weightlessness, but to take advantage of this opportunity, designers must discard many of the fundamental principles of fashion design. This article examines the effects of weightlessness on costume in sequences shot on board reduced gravity aircraft, from Apollo 13 (Howard, 1995), The Mummy (Kurtzman, 2017), and the music video for OK Go’s Upside Down & Inside Out (Kulash and Sie, 2016), as well as footage of real-life astronauts. It then identifies those features of clothing design which must be reconsidered when designing costume for microgravity.