Etamui: Style and Costuming

Everything the Etamui touch is modified in some way, made stronger, better, faster, whatever as long as it’s not baseline. This extends in many ways to their clothing choices, though how it manifests is related to class and accessibility to materials and the knowledge of how to use them.

Given the pervasive monitoring systems going on in the stations, digital camouflage (or dazzle) is something that sees heavy use. The Glitches utilize it on practically a daily level, though everyone takes a go at it, whether when slumming, engaging in illicit meetings, or even getting out of the limelight for just a night. 

Costuming tip: Check out the Etamui Lookbook pinterest board for aesthetic and visual concepts!

SciDevs

Given their access to the latest research, materials, and with the time and processing cycles to spare, the SciDevs are often on the bleeding edge of fashion (in the case of biomods, rather more literally than most people would like to think on). Sleek edges, and a purposefully muted palette with pops of color, often lit up, are the current in. Mods are kept close to the skin, or embedded entirely, mostly for the sake of not ruining lines (and in part proof of access/concept). You can often tell a high end athlete by their (purposely) visible seams where heat is vented during extreme exertion.

Costuming tips: Look through the SciDev lookbook. Go for vinyl fabrics, shiny materials, whites or blacks or grays with flashes of neon color. Have fun with makeup: sharp edges and angles, drawn-on seams or circuit lines. If you’re a little bit tech-savvy, incorporate some EL wire. If you’re not, then glowsticks work great too!

ProdOps

Where the SciDevs go for keeping lines constrained, ProdOps often go for a look that is much more flamboyant. After all, if you can fix it, manipulate, or make it, why not flaunt it. While patterns are still highly geometric, the color palette gets out of the grayscale more regularly, and the mods are heavy on both form and function. Hair extensions that light up are the current de rigueur amongst those who are in performance art, while those working with things that require better sight are very much into visible eye-mods, all the better if they’re thematically appropriate for the work they engage in (finally, the excuse to buy fashion contacts you [as a player] have been looking for!).

Costuming tips: Look through the ProdOps lookbook for inspiration. Go wild with makeup! Use cords, cables, and wires as accessories. Light-up hair clips and hairpieces are inexpensive and easy to find at a local party store or online.  Put some straps and belts on over a bodysuit. The options are endless.

Gawans

The workhorses of the Etamui, everything is heavier, more durable and built to last (rather than getting swapped for this season’s fashion) amongst the Gawan. Their mods may be constantly visible, and look rugged, but they’re lovingly crafted and well maintained. Their clothing is of a similar nature. Bulky, built to last, but with a definite eye towards lines and usefulness and always well maintained. You’ll not often see worn hems, or patches that aren’t lovingly seen to with this group.

Costuming tips: Look through the Gawan Pinterest board for inspiration. Jackets, cargo pants, motorcycle gear, boots, and bracers all work well for this look.

Glitches

Which brings us to the Glitches, who scavenge what they can from the upper classes, whether that means clothing, materials, or mods (a deceased SciDev isn’t going to be using those mods anyway and really, you’re just making it easier on the incinerators by pulling the inorganic materials out of the bio before dumping it). Things often come to them well used up, but they make good use of it through layering and some serious DIY Or Die aesthetic. There is one point though, to which the rest often are seen imitating the latest in Glitch aesthetic, and that’s in Dazzle. Given that it’s a survival skill as well as looking killer, they have reason to keep constantly developing new styles, better color combinations, and different patterning.

Costuming tips: Browse the Glitch lookbook. Camouflage the heck out of your face with colorful patterns, accessories, and hairstyles that disrupt facial recognition. Start with athletic wear and add several more layers on top of that simple base.

The Transhumanist Exceptions

Adherents to the Spiritualist sect of transhumanism are the most likely to seek an inhuman appearance. If you’re a Spiritualist, you might have altered your body to look like anything: an elf, a cat-person, an abstract concept, a metal being. Go wild with your costuming.

Matricists and Shapeshifters might also possibly have less human appearances, though their aesthetic goals are less likely to be mythical or animalistic and more likely to be superhuman or different aspects of the human experience. Some might be looking to appear in a way that is disruptive, shocking, or unsettling to others, in an attempt to help awaken or enlighten the people around them, or to have a different social experience for themselves.

Written by: Lia Lilley
Costuming tips by: Dani Higgins

Fanseeth: Costuming and Style

The clothing of the Fanseeth reflects its history as a series of prison colonies in many ways. One of the larger ways it manifests itself is in color choices of the upper and lower classes.

Costuming tip: Check out the Fanseeth Pinterest board for visual inspiration.

Monochrome apparel that echoes the uniforms of old is still associated with higher class and power (and is worn as a matter of course by most Vordur and Bondi). Those seeking to rise in station can, on occasion, be made uncomfortable with the fact that their interview clothes look suspiciously like those of the people who beat on great-great-grandma with an electrified baton. Formal wear will also echo this, with sharp lines, muted colors, piping, and jewelry that is based on the ranking sigils of old. It’s considered gauche to wear jewelry of a rank above that of what one’s family achieved, but it common practice to those climbing the social ladder to take on the “rank” afforded them by marrying up.

Costuming tip: If your character is upper class, look for sharp clean lines. A button-down dress shirt will do in a pinch, as will more military-style outerwear. Check out military surplus stores. Add pins and patches. Vests or waistcoats create the right sort of lines, especially if they keep to a relatively monochrome theme. Gloves, hats, and boots (or spats) can add to the look. Even something like a simple turtleneck with a jacket or vest overtop can work for this.

Those who would traditionally be perceived as being “lower class” (namely the Hakal and the Kappi) tend to wear colors with fierceness. No shade is too bright, no riot of hues damned. Needlework and cross-stitch is also something that makes its way into the fold. Common motifs are sigils made up of prisoner glyphs, reindeer, and alchemical symbols representing the elements of what was being mined at a given time. A common social game to play is “spot the rich kid”, tells for which are a nonsense jumble of numbers (or not even setting them into sigilry), or a grouping of elemental markers that make no sense given the mineral compositions of a given mining location. Accessories are often pragmatic (a flask clipped to your belt by a carabiner, or paracord woven into a belt) or otherwise scavenged (spare parts off discarded equipment turned into jewelry), and sometimes even spiritual (rocks from a home moon to connect you to the landvaettir, the symbol of your ship to honor the skipvaettir).

Costuming tip: If your character is lower class, try thrifting some “ugly sweaters” or Christmas sweaters. Look for heavier, bulky, rougher-cut clothing and durable materials. If you want to go the extra mile, add some distressing to give it a heavily worn look. You can use fabric paint or markers to add sigils, glyphs, or alchemical symbols to a shirt, pants, or leggings. Try a trip to a hardware store, get some odds and ends and string them up on cord for a necklace or bracelet.

This goes more for class rank than specifics of group—a Vordur of the lower classes might wear brighter shades, while a Bondi who wants to be seen well by the Vordur will tend to dress in a more muted style.

While layers are common, it’s more for look than need, as climate control is the norm, and is well maintained within the clades. Climate suits being, of course, necessary for heading “out back” or to the mines. It is not uncommon for people to carry breathing masks even within stations, “just in case,” though the degree to which are actually used is open for debate.

Biomodifications and cybernetic modifications are more common among the working classes as a way to make them more desirable workers or more effective in the mines, as pilots, or in processing plants; oftentimes a hakal will receive the mods after getting injured on the job. These mods are usually industrial, emphasizing function over form. When upper class Fanseeth receive mods, they are still functional (even the most bourgeoisie Vordur value function; they are still Fanseeth, after all), but are generally sleeker than the clunky hackjobs afforded by the lower classes. More often, upper class mods aid perception or fine dexterity, or provide mental outsourcing like a computer implant, whereas lower class mods are more like exoskeletons, hardware limb enhancements, or skin protection.

Written by: Lia Lilley
with additions by Dani Higgins, David H. Clements

Children of Earth: Style and Costuming

General Children of Earth styles

Rich colors and textures are preferred over plain elegance among the Children of Earth; the vastness of space is stark and silent enough as it is. All genders wear accessories and adornments, and every adult wears a sash or scarf tied to indicate their gender.

Weight matters on the constrained space of a ship. Possessions eat up space that could have been cargo. Nobody owns more clothes than they wear on a regular basis. As a rule, a person will wear the entirety of their wardrobe during the course of any given week. Temperature from one area of the ship to another depends heavily on which equipment is there, though, so for anyone who moves around the ship, layers are key. A light, breathing bottom layer forms the base, and protects the middle garments, so that as little laundry as possible needs done on a regular basis. Layers of varying weight and shape are added and subtracted on top. Layers should not be flowing. That’s impractical around heavy machinery and in tight spaces.

Long travel-times between trade destination means plenty of time to develop and practice handicrafts. Everyone develops an artistic skill, whether that be entertaining your shipmates with storytelling or music, or in creating something beautiful and unique out of available materials. As such, there’s a strong tendency towards embroidery, beadwork, and other embellishment of clothing. Garments quickly become heirlooms.

As such, if your mother’s father put hundreds of hours into embellishing a garment, you’re not throwing it away. Refitting, repurposing, cutting the beadwork off of one garment to sew it onto another are all typical and traditional. It would not be unusual for a Child of Earth, when complimented on a garment, to regale you with the tales of the three different relatives whose work adorns the cuffs, the hem, and the collar.

Heavy jewelry, on the other hand is unusual, and largely frowned upon as vainglorious and impractical. Plenty of stories circulating about that neutrois the one time who lost their finger because their ring got crushed, or great uncle so-and-so whose necklace got caught in the equipment and almost did him in.

Common motifs

  • Geometric shapes
  • Representations of ancestral trade routes
  • Chemical compositions or representations of goods the family takes pride in or specializes in
  • Planetary systems of significance, either sentimental or commercial.

Different color schemes, trends, patterns, and themes are observable within individual ships, in part due to the passing down of garments. A trend can span generations, as the fruits of a particularly fruitful indigo shipment or an ancestor’s love of metallic embroidery threads saturates pieces that are handed down and assimilated over decades or centuries.

Formal wear

Formal clothing exists, but is a great extravagance. Since it’s not going to be worn often or regularly, here the prohibition against weight and bulk shows the clearest. Silk and extremely lightweight synthetics that wouldn’t be durable enough for daily life come out only for festivals, trademeets, and planetside visits. These are all things that can pack down very small.

Hair, scent, and cosmetics

Elaborately braided and out-of-the-face hairstyles are popular, comfortable, and practical. A style can be left in sometimes for weeks with minimal ongoing care. Shaved styles, by the same token, are out of the way and require very little upkeep. 

This isn’t to say that hygiene isn’t critical; it’s an enclosed space full of humanity and recycled air, personal odors are not tolerated. Communal bathing is common on many ships – if you’re going to heat up all that water anyway, you might as well scrub everyone and make efficient use of the water.

On a related note, perfume is verboten. The air is circulated, and all it takes is one person with an allergy or a sensitive nose for it to be incredibly rude for anyone to be wearing strong perfume or cologne anywhere on the ship. You’ll rarely see a Child of Earth using anything heavier than a mildly scented soap.

The use of cosmetics is variable by ship. Since heavy jewelry can be an impediment, cosmetics are a good alternative for adornment, but are in limited supply. High-tech nanocosmetics from the Etamui are popular as they can be reused almost indefinitely, whereas low-tech mineral and plant based cosmetics are only used for special occasions.

The Children of Earth are intent on preserving the traditions of Earth and remaining human, however, so you won’t see significant cosmetic biomodifications or cybermodifications among the Children – no cat ears or blue skin as might be seen among the transhumanist Etamui. Decorative, meaningful tattoos on any part of the body are commonplace, though, and don’t need much replenishing, unlike many cosmetics.

  • Costuming hints: Using scented oils or perfumes to try to convey a character is of course not a problem! Incense is in common use for ancestor shrines, and the choice of incense depends greatly on what is non-offensive for everyone on the ship. Your character might be accidentally or purposefully perfumed with the incense smoke from their ancestor shrine. Alternatively, perhaps your character is a mechanic stained by ship oils and the tang of metal; maybe your operations officer smells of the cargo they oversee.

Gender markers

When a Child of Earth comes of age and chooses a gender, they acquire a scarf (which may be more like a sash or a shawl, depending on the person). They might make it themselves in preparation for adulthood, they might be gifted a plain and unadorned scarf that they will embellish over time, or they might trade for an unadorned scarf to add to over the course of their travels. How they wear the scarf indicates their gender: around the waist for women, around the neck for men, worn across the chest from hip to shoulder for androgynes, and around the head (or not worn at all) for neutrois.

Scarves and sashes are deeply personal forms of expression. They do not get passed down or reused, nor do they incorporate anyone else’s work; it is an opportunity to showcase your own skills. In addition to clearly communicating your gender, the scarf expresses personal taste and personal embellishment style. If you want to know someone’s favorite color, personal wardrobe specialties, or most meaningful motifs, look to their scarf. Trading or gifting a scarf is nearly unheard of. It would be like giving a part of yourself away. Not just out of sentimentality, but also because that is a very personal expression. What is someone else going to do with it?

Costuming suggestions: Secondhand stores have plenty of unusual scarves and shawls. If you want to splurge a little on something fancy, dupatta are pre-decorated and have a lot of fabric to work with, and are especially useful for the shoulder-to-hip androgyne-gendered sash. A male-gendered character could get away with using a cravat, and a female-gendered character could also wear an obi sash or a wrap skirt.

Faction-specific styles

The exact style for any Child of Earth depends greatly on the fleet, the ship, and the trade route, as cloth and clothing pieces are often acquired in trade from the various systems on the ship’s trade route. Different factions also have different style tendencies and preferences.

Great Fleets

They were the first of the Children of Earth and (in many ways) the founders – and they won’t let anyone forget it. Order and organization are the cornerstones of the Great Fleets, and the Fleet comes first in identity and loyalty: before the individual, the family, or the ship. This shows in their clothing, as well: clean military and corporate lines, unified themes of style and color within a ship’s population, sometimes even insignia denoting their occupation or ship or fleet.

Elder Caravans

The diplomatic Elder Caravans value patience, diligence, and work that will last. Many of the CoE’s finest crafters will be found among them, exercising the same focus in their needlework and hand-beading as they do in their statecraft. Attention to detail and simpler garments that place an emphasis on hand-embellishment is the earmark of an Elder Caravan garment. In keeping with their oral tradition, EC embellishments contain motifs and threads from caravan tales, creating garments that share their stories with future generations.

Sponsored Fleets

Bucking tradition, the Sponsored laugh at the wide near-prohibition of excess possessions, and indulge their love of novelty. Life is for living, money is for spending, and it’s your damn ship; you can afford to carry around some extra clothes. Their outfits are more varied, with less reliance on rotation and layering, and they’re the most likely to be spotted in heavier jewelry and statement pieces. Even this varies by ship, though, as the Sponsored cling to the traditions of their half-forgotten cultural origins that are unique from the Elder Fleets or Great Caravans.

United Fleets

The strong-willed United Fleets are a crowd of loud voices, each wanting to make itself heard and leave its mark. Expect to see a lot of bright colors, possibly nearly clashing, as forging a wardrobe from the family’s hand-me-downs means finding a way to bring Great-great-great Auncle Estin’s signature crimson into harmony with mother’s personal saffron blend and the chartreuse that everyone knows is your hallmark. The United mean to leave their mark on the world, and that starts with making an impression that nobody will forget.

Writing credit: Dia Campbell and Lia Lilley