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August 6, 2012

Videogames’ Manliest Characters Inspire Geek Girl Fashions

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Bowser

Bowser, the turtle-like King Koopa from the Mario videogames, is just one of the inspirations for Amanda Hemmons’ line of fantasy fashions.

If the fashion industry took its cues from videogames, runways would light up with outfits like the ones envisioned by Amanda Hemmons. The 25-year-old Seattle artist has taken some of the most iconic male videogame characters — from Mario baddie Bowser to testosterone-drenched space marine Duke Nukem — and used them as inspirations for geek girl outfits.

“For a long time I’ve been the kind of girl with interests that are considered typically masculine — videogames, comic books, action movies, etc.,” Hemmons said in an e-mail to Wired. “But recently I’ve been coming to terms with the idea that those interests don’t have to make me unfeminine. Making outfits from videogame characters has been a way of celebrating femininity.”

Her fashion concept illustrations, which you can see in the gallery above, turn some of the manliest characters from videogames into outfits that wouldn’t look out of place on a city street. They will be on display as part of videogame maker Big Fish’s presence at GeekGirlCon in Seattle this weekend. (Hemmons’ mother works for Big Fish as a Portuguese translator).

Hemmons’ designs couldn’t come at a more necessary time. Harassment of female gamers is leading to calls for change in the gaming community, as a recent New York Times story pointed out. And back in June, feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian‘s Kickstarter campaign to make a video series on female tropes in videogames led to a series of negative comments and threats. (Ultimately Sarkeesian’s supporters raised $158,922 for her cause, or 2,648 percent of what she requested.)

The state of female involvement in gamer culture makes GeekGirlCon, which was born of a group of Comic-Con International attendees who met in 2010, a good place to display what Hemmons has created, said GeekGirlCon President Erica McGillivray.

“We love being able to support a creative, geeky woman who’s combining her love of creative fashion, cosplay and videogames,” McGillivray said in an e-mail to Wired. “Additionally, her videogame designs cover a broad spectrum of different styles, from different body types and ethnicities to different expressions of gender and types of wear.”

This isn’t the first time Hemmons has embarked on a project that celebrates women in geek culture: She became a blog darling a few months ago when she posted dress designs she made based on the Avengers’ outfits (some of them have even become a reality).

With her new illustrations, Hemmons was aiming to create not just female versions of the characters’ regular clothes, but to make designs that could be worn any time and that didn’t necessarily look like cosplay costumes (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

“These outfits aren’t something you have to wait for the next convention to wear,” she said.

The fantasy fashion line is designed to appeal to fangirls as well as female professionals working in the videogame industry.

“There are more and more women entering the gaming world — whether it’s as part of the industry as writers/designers/devs/artists, or whether it’s as gamers — and a lot of these ladies would prefer to wear more than a bikini,” she said. “But at the same time, there are those who’d enjoy the hell out of that bikini.”

[via Big Fish]

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