Goth Cyber Fashion

Goth cyber fashion: how to design and make your own cyber, fantasy, or space fashions with moderate to no sewing experience, and the designers who helped to pioneer the movement.

Cyber fashion is one of the latest crazes to hit the design industry, but the origins of this genre can be traced back as far as the late 50's sci-fi craze. One of the well-known pioneers of the movement is Rudi Gernreich. Gernreich (born 1922) began his career as an avant-garde fashion designer in the mid 1940's. By the time the sixties rolled around he had become a household name for his ultra-modern, heavily Japanese influenced designs. He was the first designer to use fabric and other materials in completely unconventional ways, including the first to introduce vinyl and plastic, as well as hardware objects as wearable materials. See-through clothes, body clothes (such as use of spandex, lycra and other close-fit materials), military designs, designer jeans, thong bathing suits, and the unisex look are also all the inventions of Gernreich.

Ravers, club kids, glitter goths, glam rockers, futurists, and cyberpunks all owe some amount of their appreciation of "modern" designs to Rudi Gernreich's foresight. The most important lesson one can take from Gernreich, in beginning to create your own cyber fashions, is that just because a certain material is used primarily for some other purpose, doesn't mean you can't wear it. One of the greatest resources for the futurist designer is the local hardware store. Just take a look around at the variety of materials and objects you could use to form and decorate your clothing: D-rings, O-rings, electrical wire, rubber hose, metal and plastic clamps, clips, and hooks, corrugated steel, aluminum, plastics, heavy grade vinyl"¦ The list goes on and on! You may also want to experiment with items found in used or Goodwill computer stores: motherboards, processors, chips, nodes, etc"¦

Learning to see is the first step of becoming a designer: the drawing comes later. One must study the details of the human form - the way joints bend, how movement changes proportions, body types and sizes, and the way different materials and textiles move with and drape over the body. Give yourself an exercise in people watching to get an idea of the wide variety of shapes and sizes and how people use (or don't use) their clothing to accent or change their appearance. Don't worry if you're not a great artist, try getting some fashion (and also dance) magazines together that feature full length photographs of real people (preferably in tight fitting, or no clothing), or get a basic art book on how to draw the human body, and trace the basic forms. Don't feel bad about it! Trace shamelessly! But only the bodies, not the designs - those should be your own. This is one of the best and fastest ways to get used to drawing the human body in its correct proportions.

If you plan on using a sewing machine to put together your outfit, and you have never used a sewing machine before, I highly recommend going to a fabric store, or the local Wal-Mart fabric department, and buying up some old material scraps. Get all types of textile samples, especially those you plan to use for your design, and see how they feel, look at how they fold, and practice sewing the different scraps together and carefully cutting the stitches apart again to see what it's like. Some materials go together and come apart easily, others will tear if you try to remove them after a mistake. Avoid these types if this is your first time. You may also want to experiment with using various fabric glues, and iron-on hemming tape, or hand stitching, if you feel that sewing is a little too difficult to start with. If you have a lot of sewing experience and want to try working with thicker or more difficult materials such as heavy vinyl or leather, I recommend using beveled needles to pierce the fabric easier than regular sewing needles. One company to look for is Solo - they produce needles for people working in the leather sewing industry.

The next thing you'll want to do is decide what your outfit will look like, and draw it over your basic body form. Let your imagination run wild, but be sure you have an idea of what materials you are going to use, and how you're going to make them work with, and not restrict, the natural motions of your body.

If you're just starting out, try to base your early designs on preexisting clothes. Let's use a basic t-shirt as our example. The easiest way to transfer a design on paper to an actual pattern that you can sew from is to carefully cut apart all the stitches on any old item of clothing that fits you and resembles closely the design you have in mind, for instance a t-shirt. Lay out all the separate pieces and try to get an understanding of how they work together, and trace the outline of each piece onto some paper, such as a cut apart brown paper grocery bag, or butcher paper. Basting the pieces down may help to keep them still while you're tracing them. Basting means simply taking some dress pins and running them through the fabric and the paper so that they stay together along the outline of the shape. When you're done tracing, take the pins out and remove the cloth from the paper, making a note on the patterns where the stitches were on the original cloth pieces. Cut apart these shapes and then re-baste them to the fabric you plan to use in the finished product, being careful not to stretch the fabric as you pin it. Then carefully cut out the new fabric along the lines of the basted pattern. Now sew these new pieces together exactly as they were in the original, keeping in mind that clothes are sewn inside out to prevent the stitches from showing, and you should have a new t-shirt that fits you exactly as the old one did! Keep practicing like this with simple items until you are able to make more difficult clothes, such as a pair of pants. If you discover that you like sewing, I would recommend picking up several books on how to use more difficult stitches and altering patterns to truly make them your own design.

Now you'll want to attach your details: computer chips, wires, clips, rings, etc"¦ The best way to learn how these will attach is to practice on the fabric scraps first. That way you will develop an understanding of how these materials best fit together - by glue, sewing, ironing, etc"¦ Alternatively, if you have no wish to sew, simply buy a new basic clothing item, or use one you already have, and attach various items to make it something new and different.

Sewing takes long and tedious hours to create even simple designs, but the feeling of being able to wear and show off something that you created far outweighs the hardships, and you'll soon find that you save a lot of money by making your own clothes as well!

© High Speed Ventures 2011