Fashion is a central part of any culture and designing a fictional fashion (or several) can be a central component of worldbuilding. Fashion can impact a world’s tone and can be used to provide contextual clues to an audience about a cultures or characters’ level of wealth, status, allegiances, personality, and more. Different cultures and subcultures may have their own unique fashion.
Fashion reflects culture and society, and it is essential to define the cultural context in which your fashion exists. The fashion of a futuristic sci-fi story will be very different from the fashion set in a medieval fantasy realm.
Consider factors such as geography, religion, technology, economics, and politics when defining the cultural context. For example, in a world where resources are scarce, clothing may be utilitarian and minimalist. In contrast, in a world where technology is advanced, fashion may be more experimental and futuristic. In hot and arid regions, fashion may reflect the need to stay cool, while in arctic regions hoods and thick coats may be used.
Different groups will have different cultural contexts. Members of a fictional religion may wear robes, gang members may wear certain colors, and participants of a secret rebellion may display clues about their involvement.
When developing a fictional fashion styles, consider the materials, colors, patterns, and shapes that are popular in your world. Think about how these elements are used to create different types of garments, such as formal wear, casual wear, and workwear. Consider the role of accessories, such as jewelry, hats, and bags, in completing an outfit. If there are common tools in your fictional world that are often traveled with (swords, hammers, phasers), then a means to carry these items and use them quickly may have been incorporated into the fashion itself.
The materials, dyes, and other resources needed to create a style may be limited in your world. This may cause certain colors or items to be only worn by the wealthy or powerful.