While many of the looks seen at PAX are already available in the BioWare online store, we learned others will roll out in the next few months. Can’t get enough? Lido told us TGS and BioWare “are planning two more launches this year adding to the women’s apparel line.”
This week, we go in-depth with Bolte and two of the designers behind the Mass Effect and Dragon Age inspired looks, Symantha Perrera and Sara O’Reilly, to find out how it felt seeing their designs come down the runway and which characters they’d pick to design for next.
Symantha Perrera told Geek & Sundry that she’s been working in the industry for nearly four years. She began her fashion career as a design and pattern grading intern, working on everything from start-up lines in Chicago to high-end fashion label Proenza Schouler in New York. Perrera made the leap to Apparel Designer for TGS in January.
“My education and specialization in fashion design is from more of a fine art perspective rather than ready-to-wear,” Perrera explained, adding that this made “transitioning into a costume/character based position in the gaming industry is such a perfect fit for me.”
One of Sara O’Reilly’s earliest credits was for a dance collective, where she designed a dance costume based on a piece of music. Her experience in the industry is wide-ranging: she’s worked as an assistant designer, but also in product development and graphic design for companies like Longstreet and active wear brand, Greg Norman.
O’Reilly joined the TGS design team in February and said her design process begins the same way no matter who she’s designing for, with preliminary research into trends, colors, and fabric treatments. But when it comes to styles inspired by video game characters, she told us there are many more factors to take into account. She dives into the character and asks herself, “What would [they] wear if [they were] in today’s world?… Does this represent the character?”
Bolte told us that Perrera and O’Reilly worked closely with Production Designer Holly Nitsche to make their console-inspired concepts a runway reality. “Each of these pieces have been pored over for a year,” Bolte said.
One of those outfits was Perrera’s Tali Angle Hoodie, inspired by the popular alien character from the Mass Effect trilogy. The hoodie, paired with Tali-inspired leggings that she also designed, was one of Perrera’s favorite looks.
“While designing the garment,” said Perrera, who Bolte credits as the lead designer and coordinator of the PAX fashion show, “I really wanted to keep in mind all of Tali’s in-game costume details.” Perrera explained that the use of gold in the hoodie’s piping and pocket zippers along with vinyl sleeve caps were included so the look was futuristic and represented Tali.
O’Reilly’s reversible Paragon/Renegade Hoodie caused quite a stir among audience members who watched the convertible garment transform before their eyes. Based around the morality points system from Mass Effect, which players earn for either selfless (Paragon) or ruthless (Renegade) actions, the look allows the wearer to choose between the two sides, which O’Reilly said “seem to flip flop while playing the game, so making this style a reversible piece seemed like a perfect fit.”
Bolte was thrilled to watch the designs walk the runway, “What surprised me was how much [the designs] were loved… It was like having a heart to heart with fellow gamers.” O’Reilly agreed, “hearing and seeing the fans reactions was the best part of it all…the total success and positive outcome of the show was an awesome feeling.”
“Seeing my designs and all our team’s hard work walk down the runway was very satisfying and a bit scary,” said Perrera, whose additional role of coordinator for the PAX fashion show added some pressure. Though she loved how loud the crowd got for her Dragon Age inspired Cullen Peplum design, Perrera also said “I was crossing my fingers the whole time hoping that no one would trip!”
The TGS team wouldn’t divulge any plans for future looks, but when asked if they could choose any BioWare character to base a design on Bolte said: “on personal preference and not on consumer demand, feedback or numbers: Game: Baldur’s Gate. Hands down. Character: Drizzt Do’urden or the Drow in general.” Perrera turned to Mass Effect, saying: “I personally would be very excited to work on a Thane and/or Liara line. I really love both of their looks.”
All three members of the TGS design team expressed how much they, as gamers, loved designing this new round of BioWare-based fashions. Perrera summed up working on the line, “There is really a sweet spot in each design that need to be hit. Something that is wearable as well as true to the character. Lots of pressure when representing a fan’s favorite character! It’s a different kind of pressure then you would find designing typical ready-to-wear. But I certainly love it!”
Image credits: ThinkGeek Solutions