FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
Wild Card Prize - A complete outfit including shoes and hat that uses a range of techniques, and imaginative design
Syenite on the road
Outline the story …
The character I was inspired to create is Syenite from The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. The Fifth Season is the first of three books that are part of the Broken Earth Trilogy. In this trilogy, we follow the lives of orogenes, second class citizens that are feared and used for their power to control tectonics and other parts of the earth. When we meet Syenite she is being forced on a mission with an unwanted mentor across the country by horseback to clear a coral reef obstruction. One of the reasons this character appealed to me is that Jemisin does not describe her (or any, really) clothing in her novels, which gave me creative license to do what I like. We know three things about what Syenite is wearing; she is wearing boots, her job requires her to wear a black jacket as part of her uniform, and identifies her to others as an orogene, and she wears four rings that signify her rank (i.e., power). This world has a steam punk feel to me, and the protagonists are people of color, so I decided to marry 1909 silhouettes with an afrofuturist feel to create my version of Syenite. The outfit I created is her riding outfit, consisting of Edwardian inspired combinations, corset cover, stockings with garters, shirtwaist with collar and attached jabot, split skirt, riding habit with a military style cape, boots, and a hat.
Outline the construction…
I made everything from head to toe (excepting the corset and suspenders). Each piece I designed and drafted from scratch using a mixture of modern and period techniques and utilizes hand and machine sewing. I began with undergarments, made with cotton muslin. Next was the shirtwaist and collar made from linen, which feature Edwardian pin tucks, pearlescent buttons, and insertion lace I knit myself with cotton crochet thread. Then I began work on the split skirt, which was the most challenging drafting job for me and took 7 different mock-ups and one month to complete. I utilized African print fabric from a local shop and blue linen. The linen interlined skirt is in the style of a riding skirt or culottes, with a large pleat in the back and a front panel that folds back to reveal trouser legs underneath. The next most ambitious garment for me was the riding habit, which was my first foray into traditional tailoring techniques. This double-breasted coat is made from a heather wool coating and lined with cotton sateen, with synthetic whalebone along the seams and front darts. The cape is a detachable part of the coat that is held on with the same leather buttons that adorn the front and the cuffs. I also made some accessories, including sewn stockings with lace and ribbon garters, a hat crocheted out of fabric scraps from the skirt, and took a class in shoemaking specifically to make the leather boots featured in this outfit.