World Building: Fashion in Speculative Fiction

Fun with Folly

Excellent spec fic writers build this absurdity into the worlds they create. Recently, I’ve noticed two wonderful examples of writers or directors who employ this understanding to great effect.  The first is George R. R. Martin, whose Slave Masters in the fifth Game of Thrones book have wonderfully absurd hairstyles sculpted in shapes like bird wings or rearing animals or supplicant hands in primary colors.  The women in that culture wear tokars, which are essentially a kind of fancy mummy wrap from the armpits down, making it almost impossible to walk.

Hunger Games Fashion

The other example is the designer of the costumes, hairstyles and make-up of the elite “capitol” culture in the film adaptation of The Hunger Games. Wonderful world building.








2 thoughts on “World Building: Fashion in Speculative Fiction

  1. The fashion element of world building was a strong element in the books too. It was interesting to see how the designers realized the fairly precise descriptions from the book. I saw the movie with a theatrical costume designer and she made me laugh by commenting: “I was intrigued by the use of woven fabrics to indicate poverty.” I don’t think anyone else but some one who works with fabric would have put it quite that way.

    • Wow, what a great show to see with a costumer! I am going to show my ignorance now…but, what other kind of fabric IS there? I thought they were all woven on looms.

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