Incorporating Fashion into Comics: An Analysis (Part 1:Manga Char. Designs)
Comics have been around for longer than most people are even aware of. Telling stories of the lives of fictional characters through pictures is a tale that goes back thousands of years. Though all these characters and settings may be different but one thing about them has remained constant over the many years: the story their clothing tells.
Fashion designers start off by drafting out the ideas of how they want a certain outfit or design to look. This is where the two art styles tend to collide and intersect. Character design takes notes from fashion design for how they want the story of the character to be told without saying a word. Let’s look at one character’s clothes from a popular manga and analyze the story that outfit tells:
This is Monkey D. Luffy, protagonist of One Piece. In the story he is the captain of a small, ragtag group of pirates with the goal of finding a lost treasure that will make him the Pirate King. If we take a look at his clothes there’s something that we see right off the bat: he wear’s clothing that frees his limbs. Instead of wearing shoes of some kind he just wears sandals and has a hat that he’s wearing here around his neck. His outfit shows an immense amount of freedom as well as keeping his body cool while traveling out in the sun for days on end. His outfit is what one would think a person who is fun loving and traveling the seas should wear. It’s also a very simple outfit matching with Luffy’s simple-mindedness. The hat is a memento from his mentor that he treasures dearly, shown in this picture by being on his being without actually wearing it. His outfit may not be extravagant or complicated but it portrays his personality and tells his story very well and very briefly. The use of primary colors in his outfit also help to show his role as the main character and the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates.
Now look at this manga here, which has fashion as an integral part of the plot and a main driving force between several characters in it. The clothing designs give it away almost instantly, but look at the character on the right and focus on their clothes. Notice how her clothes give her an air of royalty that make her look like more than a princess or a queen by the very essence of nobility itself. The many pearls that adorn the skirts frills as well as the jewels and gems on the crown. It speaks to someone who comes from a wealthy family and enjoys flaunting their natural beauty and wealth while also showing a playfulness to her. It’s a beautiful piece of clothing that lends itself well to the kind of character she is…or rather he is. Sorry to fool you this whole time but that’s actually a boy who enjoys cross-dressing. Don’t worry, for any of you wishing to read this gorgeous story that’s not a spoiler.
That about wraps it up for this post, however I don’t think I’m fully done with this topic so I think I’ll just make this part 1 for now. There are so many other manga and anime that need to be covered that have lent themselves to increasing the fashion sens of anime and manga fans for the last couple years. If you guys have any other ideas for what I should include in this post or any others let me know! Until down, Ciao for now~!!