The Art of Dressing Cultures

“Clothing is one of the most ubiquitous and diverse fields in the arts. If we look at fashion history, it always becomes a chronicle of culture. Clothing is worn culture, and one of very few aspects that let us tell that story visually—not only with individual characters but entire civilisations. It should be as layered (metaphorically or literally) as your social structures, easily hinting at shared values, beliefs, or political stances. Looking at how our world dressed in the past, what we wear now, and how visionaries think our clothes will look in the future can make an incredibly rich resource for your worldbuilding.”

—The Art of Dressing Cultures, by Inky & Zaivy Luke-Aleman

In our latest issue (V4I1: The Arts), Inky gave an excellent discourse on how to dress your cultures for worldbuilding success. With how beautifully extensive the article was (and how limited our space at the end of the page) we thought we’d give you an extended list of resources Inky uses for her work, and provide you some tools with which to continue your fashion deep dive.

Below, you’ll find three categories of content:

  • Sewing and Costuming as Craft breaks down the costume design process by the example of Black Panther and also showcases some basic techniques on working with fabrics and reconstructions.
  • Fashion History will give you a brief overview of fashion throughout the centuries around the world (which unfortunately isn’t as extensive as it should be).
  • Databases wraps up as our potpourri category and contains some useful info on textiles and original dress for inspiration and reference purposes.

We hope you find this list helpful, and if—for some strange reason—you came here first without checking out Inky and Zaivy’s phenomenal article “The Art of Dressing Cultures” or any of the other fantastic articles and artwork we have in our first issue of Volume 4, check out The Arts here!

Still hungry for more worldbuilding tips and tricks? Be sure to check out the new Worldcasting Podcast featuring Dino and friends, or stop by our Discord server to talk shop with your fellow readers or our magazine staff.

Sewing and Costuming as Craft

Banner, Bernadette. “Buying a Knockoff of My Own Dress: An Educated Roast (actual fire used for Scientific Purposes)” Youtube, 9 Nov 2019.

Banner, Bernadette. “How to Sew a Simple Strong Seam by Hand: A Step-by-Step Beginner’s Guide” Youtube, 14 Sep 2019.

Butchart, Amber. “A Stitch in Time.” British Broadcasting Corporation, 3 Jan 2018.

Collider Videos. “Black Panther Special With Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter – Movie Talk” YouTube, commentary by Ellis Mark, Jonelle Monique, and Jon Schnepp. Special guest appearance by Ruth E. Carter, 20 Feb 2018.

Modern History TV “Modern History: A Funny Thing About Medieval Hoods.” YouTube, Presented by Jason Kingsley OBE. YouTube. 7 Mar 2019.

OkayAfrica. “Costume Design in Black Panther.” Presented by Walé Oyéjidé, YouTube 20 Feb 2018.

Soo Hoo, Fawnia. “The Costume, Hair and Makeup in Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ are a Celebration of Black Culture and Heritage.” Fashionista 15 Feb 2018.

Soo Hoo, Fawnia. “How Ruth E. Carter Went From Costuming Her College Plays to Dressing ‘Marshall’ and ‘Black Panther.’” Fashionista 15 Oct 2018.

Vanity Fair. “Black Panther’s Costume Designer Breaks Down T’Challa’s Entrance Scene” YouTube, Presented by Ruth Carter. 8 May 2018.

Fashion History

Anu. History of Natural Hair: A Helpful Illustrative Guide. Aphro Graphics 10 Jan, 2019.

Burns, Shannon. Silvousplaits. Youtube. 2013

CrowsEyeProduction. “Getting Dressed.” Directed by Nick Loven YouTube 11 May 2018.

Duong, Nancy. “Historical Fashion Infographics.” 2019.

Duong, Nancy (lilsuika). “Historical Fashion” DeviantArt. 29 Feb 2012.

Duong, Nancy (lilsuika). “Scholarly Resources for Historical Asian Fashion” DeviantArt 27 Feb 2014.

Hummel, Claire (shoomlah.) “Claire’s fancy-pants Historical Fashion Masterpost. Ligne Claire. Accessed 6 Jan 2020.

Kennedy, Alan “Japanese Traditional Dress and Adornment.” LoveToKnow 2019. Accessed 6 Jan 2020.

Lee, Soyeon (Glimja) 한복 이야기 – 조선시대 우리옷 [Hanbok Story – In Joseon Dynasty]. Hye-won Publishing Company, 7 Jan 2018.

Lee, Soyeon (Glimja) 한복 이야기 – 조선 이전 우리옷 [Hanbok Story – Before Joseon Dynasty]. 경기도, 대한민국 [Gyeonggi-do, South Korea] Hye-won Publishing Company, 29 Aug 2018.

Rieff Anawalt, Patricia. The Worldwide History of Dress. Thames & Hudson Ltd., London. 30 Nov 2007.

Żebrowska, Karolina. “1920s Fashion is Not What You Think It Is.” YouTube 20 May 2018.

Żebrowska, Karolina. “1950s Fashion is Not What You Think It Is.” YouTube 23 May 2019.

Żebrowska, Karolina. “Ok, But What Did Poor People Wear?” YouTube 15 Jan 2020

Żebrowska, Karolina. “Victorian Fashion Is Not What You Think It Is.” YouTube 19 March 2019


Christina. The Kimono Lady. Blogspot. 2016.

“History of Cosmetics” Cosmetic History and Facts. 2020.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, The. “Costume Institute.” Search the Collection. 2019. Accessed 6 Jan 2020. 

Textile Museum of Canada. “Featured Textiles.” Explore the Collections 2019. “Welcome to” 17 Dec 2019.

Van Cleave, Kendra. “Digital Collections of Extant Costumes” Démondé 17 June 2011.

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