Clothes are something people need to think about. I fell down a well-dressed rabbit hole, and I had to share it with people, so I wrote a book about it.
So “Fashion and Worldbuilding” is today’s subject, my book on the role of fashion in setting development. I didn’t mean high fashion, but more clothes and ornamentation and uniforms, all the things we’re used to. Well, used to until you design a new setting – like I did.
When I was working on A Bridge To The Quiet Planet, my techno-fantasy adventure, fashion quickly came into play. Thinking over a space-age world rooted in what is basically a JRPG/mid-level fantasy setting requires you to think about clothes in fantasy worlds. Uniforms and holy outfits, flowing robes and enchanted armors, all require you to ask why do people dress this way? Then you have to ask how did this translate to a modern world?
I had a lot about fashion and clothes.
You’ve got over-organized sorceress Marigold Rel-Domau, a sorceress who is legally required to dress in Guild robes to show she’s a walking weapon. Cleric Beacon Rindle is expected to wear the colors and symbols of his goddess who might send him emails to remind him. A long-suffering team of Military specialists have to dive in and out of “Military Blue” depending on how undercover they’re hoping they’re being. Fashion became important.
So I of course realized it was time to write a book. I’d thought about clothes and fashion in worldbuilding, but not like this. In turn, I then realized how many times fashion had affected my life, my writing, or come up in both fiction and the real world. I’d thought about this alot over the years, from game design to watching Tim Gunn analyze comic book superheroes.
In the end? A book came out of it, turning my own experiences into helpful coaching questions.
A lesson for me here is that you may need a more visceral, hands-on experience to create something. These experiences don’t just inform you or make you aware, they also collect thoughts and experiences to let you write. You might be surprised what you know and what you’ve thought of and what you can do – once you have the right experience.