eScent® was orignally inspired by scenes from science fiction films and literature, many of which attempt to 'alter mood' and the emotional state through the sense of smell. Key references came from Star Trek, 'Brave New World' by Aldous Huxley, 'UBIK' by Philip K.Dick and references to neurobiology by J.G.Ballard. Published in the 'Interzone’ Science Fiction magazine in June 1993 (Project from a Glossary of the Twentieth Century), Ballard defines fashion as:
`. . . the recognition that nature has endowed us with one skin too few, and that a fully sentient being should wear its nervous system externally . . . '
In`Brave New World' (1932), Huxley introduces a 'scent organ' that releases a spectrum of herbal scents "The scent organ was playing a delightfully refreshing Herbal Capriccio – rippling arpeggios of thyme and lavender, of rosemary, basil, myrtle, tarragon; a series of daring modulations through the spice keys. . . “
Although Philip K. Dick is better known for his science fiction film `Minority Report', which is loosely based on stories including a glove-controlled interface, he also wrote 'UBIK' (Dick 1969) which describes the notion of `reality-in-a-can', a mystical, sparkling metallic substance called UBIK (ubiquity), which is sprayed out of a can as a magical `bubble', to stabilise a living nightmare.
Further examples include the film `Star Trek: The Next Generation', which portrayed military police with mood-enhancing clothes. In the episode `Encounter At Farpoint', the character `Q' and his fellow soldiers, wore uniforms that had in-built olfactory `sniffers' in their suits so that they had the capability to change their state of mind.
Besides science fiction, eScent® is also inspired by key fashion designers who we were asked to predict the future of the fashion industry over 30 years ago. Thierry Mugler, the French designer who was influenced by sci-fi, robots and comic books, shared his reality on the future of fashion in 1982, but linked to personal wellness:
“Fashion will change dramatically in the coming years.
One will find it less and less important to be 'fashionable'.
Good clothes – garments well designed and well made for the purpose of protecting the body
and enhancing the personality - will prevail.
Fashion will be more human,
closer to the needs of the people in terms of their being and wellbeing,
. . . . not "well showing".
(Fashion 2001, Khornak 1982)
Karl Lagerfeld had a different vision in 1982 when he described his reality of the future of the fashion industry, amd the importance of future textile development. As head designer at the House of Chloe, he predicted computerised fabrics and a dangerous future:
“Will fabrics eventually become computerised?
Everything will be, us included.
People are becoming programmed.
It is dangerous, but it is the future…
Deep changes in fashion will come with new developments in fabric technology.
The body is the most important thing of the future and was not designed for life outer space . . . not yet anyway”.
(Fashion 2001, Khornak 1982)