Incorporating Fashion into Comics: An Analysis (Part 2: From Costumes to Wardrobes)
Many anime have characters with flashy and often times impractical clothing that is made for the sake of being cool looking. In my last Analysis post I did a quick look at how drawing characters like this helps to make an instantly recognizable character that fans will identify immediately. However mangaka have also liked to work the other way around and make their characters incredibly glamorous looking by giving them real world clothes and fashion that anyone would be able to wear (given that they have the money to buy some of the more high end clothes some of these characters wear).
Art at it’s core is a representation of reality, so of course some artists would want to see their characters in clothes that they either would like to wear or currently wear themselves depending on that specific character’s situation.
One of the manga that I covered in my last post was this one that you see here: Kuragehime, or Jellyfish Princess for those who want the english translation.
The story deals with a girl who is a hikikomori, a shut in with a nerdy lifestyle that would rather stay inside and keep to herself than interact with the world. She lives with five other women like her as they go about their daily lives. Her hobby, however, isn’t the typical one you’d expect of people like this though. Her obsession is about jellyfish, more specifically how their tentacles look like a princess’ beautiful flowing dress. The reason I bring this manga up is, due to later events in the series which involve a crossdressing boy wearing super fashionable clothes, Tsukimi, our main character, starts to design dresses and enters the world of fashion.
Many would argue that the dress designs in this manga are some of the best examples in terms of usage of frills and floral designs as well as the amazing concepts that come form Tsukimi and her unique jellyfish gowns. While the story in itself is something to behold the dresses and gowns are really what pull you into the world, similar to how well drawn food pulls you into a food anime.
Many Mangaka work hard to give their male characters the same level of detail in their clothes as they do with their women, however due to the limitations of male fashion and the fashion trend of most men in general they very rarely have any real variation between them. However no other manga (imo, feel free to disagree) has done this better than Hirohiko Araki’s Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Now, I must digress, some of the outfits in this series were not the best for the men, looking specifically at Jonathan wearing five shirts
However for every character who suffers a fashion faux pas like poor Jojo here, we get several beautiful beings like Rohan Kishibe
This isn’t by accident though. Even though Jojo’s is at it’s core a shonen battle manga, Araki has been using fashion magazines as reference material for many years when drawing , specifically for jojos. This shows in many different ways, with the characters all having cool looking (though bizarre, duh) clothing and especially in the crazy poses many of the characters are put in come straight out of a fashion magazine. If you need a personal bout for this, I started using a 4 month old edition of Vogue as a reference in some drawings myself and you can see almost carbon copies of poses Araki has used in his works.
Fashion is being used to help further our artist in many different ways which leads to having more ideas to be formed about fashion trends. Jojo’s was able to do this many different times, with the manga having many different designers such as Gucci collaborate together with Araki for new stories or fashion lines. There were even models who posed as jojo’s characters.
Well, that about wraps this up for now, Hopefully these analysis are inspiring you guys to try out some new fashion pieces or give you new places to look for inspiration from. Till next time, Ciao~!