Fashion Beats Totalitarian Dictatorships

…and where there’s fashion, there’s a merchantmen trying to make a credit or two, selling the latest fashions to the locals – no matter what the puritanical or ideological leadership says.

“I think that North Koreans are even more obsessed with fashion than South Koreans”

It doesn’t matter what the authoritarian regime – religious, egalitarian, monosexual – women want to look good. It starts with the upper elite women, who can always pressure their husbands to let that Perfect Dress slip though.

“It’s just one dress – Dear Leader doesn’t need to know! And how can this little bit of cloth hurt the power of The Church/The Party/The Umnah/The Nation?”

The wife/mistress offers a wink or a suggestive glance to her man, and the PCs have a new customer – perhaps a very powerful one!

(And, maybe, a hook-up into the local black market…)

And as the new threads gather their admirers…

  • “A dress with two colours! Count them! TWO!”
  • “A dress instead of a grey overall? Bourgeois! BOURGEOIS!”
  • “Flowers and bows? But that’s sexist!”
  • “Jewellery is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN here!”
  • “Perfumes have never been part of the Traditional Dress – and they won’t be accepted now!”
  • “Flip-flops are the only true Solomani footwear – anything else is Impure Vilani Corruption! You wouldn’t want to be racially corrupted… would you?”

…other elite women – and those who want to look elite – start to show up. (And, soon enough, fixers and deal-makers who are interested in bulk purchases…)

The first wave of regulators can be dealt with by bribes, but there will eventually be uncompromising dedicated enemies of unofficial commerce. Let’s see how long it takes before those bureaucrats are defeated, too…


In the Imperium, Advanced Levels of smuggling involves not planetary governments, but the Emperor’s Will.

We’re talking about psi-drugs, Imperial-restricted weaponry, certain forms of software, classified information, smuggling psions, etc.

Such smugglers would be wise to stick to border regions (so they can run far, run fast) and lots of fake registries, routine re-flagging of their vessels, etc.

Because they won’t like it when they finally get the undivided attention of the Imperial Government.

About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!
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