Wild Card Prize - A complete outfit including shoes and hat that uses a range of techniques, and imaginative design

Syenite on the road



Ayriole Frost

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.




  1. Avatar Sarah on March 11, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    Nice! (And nice to see those books getting some love).

  2. Avatar Corey on March 12, 2021 at 3:56 pm

    This is so cool! Love all the accessories and details you put into this!

  3. Sophia Khan Sophia Khan on March 14, 2021 at 1:59 am

    Wow I can’t believe you made your shoes! How neat.

  4. Avatar Andrea Olinte on March 14, 2021 at 9:27 am

    That skirt, and the whole outfit, it is so – in german we say “stimmig”. Everything goes so well together and transports the idea behind it, your Syenite.

  5. Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 15, 2021 at 4:23 am

    I love the outfit! I read the trilogy last year, and I like how you styled Syenite’s wardrobe. Beautiful!

  6. Avatar Laurie on March 19, 2021 at 5:59 am

    Fantastic! Love the vibrant colours, that split skirt is brilliant. Great boots! Lovely shirtwaist and collar and stockings. Impressive riding habit! Excellent work and striking ensemble.

  7. Constance MacKenzie Constance MacKenzie on March 28, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    I know from your post within the group that your research and work on making this a really practical working ensemble really comes through and thank you for also mentioning the author and books as its been brought to my attention a few times recently and I look forward to reading them.

  8. Avatar Sue (sue-mcfluzen) Assenmacher on March 29, 2021 at 5:32 am

    This is gorgeous.

  9. Avatar Jennifer Bowman on March 29, 2021 at 6:22 am

    I love everything about this ensemble, and WOW are you talented! The choice of fabrics and the variety of garment pieces you made – outstanding! I LOVE the split skirt so much. Just awesome!

  10. Avatar Teri Plemel on March 30, 2021 at 4:29 am

    One of my favorite books and I love what you’ve done to express the character. I love it!

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