A while back I wrote about sumptuary laws- laws dictating who can and cannot wear certain kinds of clothing, often based on reserving a privilege for a certain class. In the modern era, this isn’t something many people experience in their daily lives.
However, there remain plenty of laws about clothing. Most people deal every day with obscenity laws- breastfeeding moms in the US, for example, end up being uncomfortably familiar with who is allowed to see her nipples, and when, to avoid the risk of arrest. But that has more do with how much clothing you’re wearing, not what kind.
Closer to traditional sumptuary laws are copyright and intellectual property laws as they apply to fashion. For example, Christian Louboutin was able to successfully claim the exclusive use of the color red in the soles of his shoes in the US.
- Okay, so big caveat here: I am not a law scholar! I am looking at this stuff as it effects people wearing clothing, and not from the perspective of where the laws come from. So I’m not saying the laws are themselves related in history; just in topic.
The difference between these two sets of laws is interesting; loosely, sumptuary laws seem to limit the behavior of consumers, while copyright and intellectual property law limit the behavior of producers. Similarly, sumptuary law was meant to protect a specific class of consumer- usually the nobility- by reserving certain fabrics for their use, while copyright and IP protects producers who put the work into developing original designs.
All of which is a way of illustrating that there is a place for bizarre clothing law in your futuristic fictional setting, if you so choose. (Though, note: if costuming is going to be a part of your game mechanic in-game- meaning it has in game effects, instead of the out-of-game effect of annoying the GMs- make sure it’s something your players can afford to do. “You must wear Louboutins, or take -10 to persuasion” would be a really annoying rule for most player groups.)
Ask yourself who your fictional law is meant to protect, and whose behavior it is meant to effect. Sumptuary law was about protecting the privilege of nobility by changing the behavior of lesser nobility and commoners; copyright law about protecting the money-making ability of creators and changing the behavior of other creators. Now take one of the SF tropes of the future: corporate planets. Uniforms are required, the wearing of rival logos forbidden, and all birthday party balloons can only be sold in corporate colors. These are rules meant to protect the money making potential of the company, and restrict the behavior of consumers. Or planets become themselves brands, with Jupiter’s Red Eye being owned and all reproductions of the phenomenon become retroactively owned by the Jovian Government from the moment they’re made, which allows for creativity but restricts commerce. What does it mean when the government owns your Red Eye earrings?
sketch for new shirt I’m making for my Mediterranean-inspired battle mage. I got 100% wool coating (which is thin yet WARM!) and dyed it red.
You won’t believe how….Kool Aid. 5 boxes. Worked (disturbingly) like a charm.
Strongarm Summerbride Shield
So, my half-troll won a Fay talent/beauty contest. She is now the Summerbride for the next year (and is immune to fire attacks, HA!) I thought I should update her shield to incorporate her half-breed clan symbol (Strongarm) with her achievement. Of course, Fay things are always flashy and glittery, so much glitter all around.
This shield was made of masonite with a top layer of cardboard. I painted the design with acrylic paint, then added 3 layers of polyurethane to seal the cardboard from the elements. Lots of glitter and fake gems!
I’m getting kimono-fever again, guys…..