Tara Allen-Flanagan, Contibutor.
As a figurehead of scientific pop culture, Bill Nye is no stranger to the public eye. His latest venture in television ‘Bill Nye Saves the World’ comes nearly twenty years after the finale of his arguably most famous show and namesake ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy.’ Nye has become somewhat of a cult figure among millennials who grew up watching his quirky and comedic education show about all things science. What may come as a surprise to fans of science — and fashion — is Nye’s latest public jaunt: a two-day walk down the runways at New York Fashion Week: Men’s.
On January 31st, Bill Nye walked for Nick Graham. He wore an assortment of metallic, slim fitting suits which boasted floral and spaceship prints. Nye previously collaborated with Graham for a series of bowties, which were a focal point of Nye’s runway apparel. Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin also joined the show, flaunting a silver bomber jacket and matching sneakers.
As popular figures in the scientific world who are famous enough to be recognized by even the least scientific-oriented minds, Nye and Aldrin served as perfect models for Graham’s sci-fi themed show (the tagline being “Life on Mars: Fall-Winter 2035”).
The inclusion of science icons in a runway show serves as an example of how the fashion world is working to break down barriers between exclusive industries and the everyday world. High fashion is restrictive to outsiders due to the monetary costs of flying to and attending shows, as well as purchasing enough designer goods to stay on trend. High fashion also comes with the stigma of ‘femininity’ and frivolous vanity, even though the industry is dominated by men. The same restrictive notions could be said about the scientific world, an industry which has historically been dominated by white men. Both industries have seen limited opportunities for minorities and are not inclusive towards outsiders – be it a teenage boy who is interested in Donna Karan’s latest collection or an adult career woman who wishes to learn more about science and loves watching Star Wars.
While science and fashion are making leaps and bounds towards being more inclusive, stereotypes and group-think tendencies remain prominent parts of the two industries. Initiatives which blend the two groups, which would seem to have largely differing fan bases, demonstrate the appeal of opening to new ideas and how diversity leads to innovation. Nick Graham’s metallic suits and space-themed outfits are not necessarily groundbreaking, but the inclusion of leaders from the scientific world on the runway represents how fashion does not need to be restricted to those who make it their careers. Intellectual leaders no longer need to scoff at fashion for fear of seeming weak and unmanly, and leading designers can make their love of science and tech known to the world without fear of ridicule.
With a saturated global art market and a rising interest in pursuing careers in fashion, the blending of different cultures and industries serves as a unique way to draw new attention to fashion and revive the industry in the public eye. Until we can have fashion shows on the moon, fashion and science lovers can unite in their support in the mingling of two very different industries as a small step for mankind.