Tailors for everybody!

I spend a lot of time thinking about clothes. They're useful, they can be fun and expressive, but they also represent and perpetuate a lot of systematic injustice. Affordable clothes overwhelmingly favor certain body types to the exclusion of others -- thin, medium-tall, able-bodied people are going to have a much easier time finding a variety of appealing, comfortable and affordable clothes in their sizes than everyone else. Clothes are also a major tool for signaling income and class inequality, in a way that pretty much always presents that inequality as good and right. Clothes support the gender binary -- it's just about literally impossible to 'dress like a nonbinary person,' but it's not only easy but virtually mandatory to dress like a man or like a woman. This isn't a real solution, I'm not really trying to make the case for it, but I like to imagine a world in which custom tailoring is provided as a basic service in civilization, like the post office, or plumbing. This includes affordable quality material, too.

It makes a pretty significant difference in how you interact with the world, if you're comfortable in your clothes, stylistically, by their fit, their actual, physical comfort. And -- while obviously rich people would maintain and invent their systems of determining whether your clothes really signal your income and heritage, and, therefore, value -- everybody else could have a lot more freedom to express individual, social and cultural identity without being limited to the palette of mass-produced outfits.

Which, by the way, is another advantage -- economically, the mass hiring of tailors would create a lot of jobs, and diminish the waste and exploitation built into the mass-production of clothes.

I haven't thought this all through very well -- it's more a daydream than anything, and I can think of plenty of ways that this solution might barely help at all, or even make things worse for a lot of people -- Charles Stross's speculation about the 3D-printed fashion industry is a lot more interesting -- but I think it's fun to think about, and if anybody else wants to throw in their thoughts, I'd love to hear them.