So, we’ve explored Historical and Contemporary fashion, now for a sticky subject. Subculture fashions. Now, I’m a Lolita, a Morigirl, and dabble in fairy kei. These fashions are incredibly tempting to slip into our characters’ stories and personality, because they’re fascinating and eye-catching.
HOWEVER… Danger, Will Robinson.
Tackling a fashion subculture is inviting that culture to critique and pick at your costumes. Which can be great, because they often offer really great feedback! However, what does this mean?
DO. YOUR. RESEARCH.
Tackle this as if it were a delicate cultural reference. In effect, you are submursing your character into that world, and the things they wear dictate how much they are aware of that world. There is an enormous difference between these two things.
See a pretty distinct difference? It’s a cheapening of what you’re looking at. Consider when you design your characters, that somewhere, there’s someone who dresses like this every day!
Often if you introduce yourself and say you’re doing research, these groups are really friendly and want their culture to be displayed well!Just like your characters are people beyond their clothes, these folks are the same way.
If you want to take inspiration by the style without completely ripping it, there are ways to do that, too. What is drawing you to the subculture? It’s probably one of two things: The silhouette, or the color scheme!
Here’s two pieces inspired by the goth subculture.
The one on the left is an Alexander McQueen piece, and the right is a costume, but you get the idea. And two based on kimono…
Yeah. So what’s going on here? The more aesthetically pleasing pieces were made with respect to the original garments, and in particular, revamped them in such a way that they became their own garment instead of a costume!
Of course, character design rules still apply, but consider these the next time you consider tackling a subculture style. It might be more fun to reinvent it a bit and make your own style!