Thursday, September 30, 2010

CYL: Beyond the Harem- Clothing of the Steam-Age Ottoman Empire


For my first "Clothing/Costumes You'll Love" post, I decided to tread upon familiar ground for me and cover the costuming of the Ottoman Empire. For this particular post I am going to focus on Turkey, since we already have a lot to cover in that department- but never fear, the regional attire of the Caspian, Black Sea, North Africa, and the Caucuses will be getting their very own treatments (because Holy Wah that's a lot of color- seriously, we will all go blind).

 Read on, intrepid voyagers, of grand textiles, "Turkish trousers", and some very impressive moustaches...

The Beginning of an Exciting Voyage

Bozho nikanek! (Welcome friends!)

This is the first post of (what I'm hoping) will become an interesting trip into multiculturalism for steampunks!

So in the vein of delightful supervillains before me, I'm going to tell you all why I did it!
1. Reading the articles on steamfashion done by G.D. Falksen, who offers so many historical possibilities for steampunks to use.
2. Seeing so many blogs and articles about multiculturalism, and yet very little for steampunks to take with them practically. I believe in a principal of show, don't tell- so here I'm hoping to offer content on multi-cultural steampunk in a visual, informative manner.
3. Because what we're protraying is culture, not race. I don't want to bring race into this blog, and if I do, I'd like you good people to inform me that I've slipped. This is a blog about sharing cultures and making something wonderful- because creating something together is how we overcome distrust, fear, or hatred.
4. When done respectfully and with proper research, any culture present during the age of steam (for my intents, 1800-1915) is open for steampunk adaptation. If the proper honor and scholarship has been shown, people should not be afraid to wear the clothing of another people. If you have a problem with someone using this approach, then I would entreat you not to comment or ignore my blog altogether, because you're going to see a lot of this Norwegian/Potawatomie girl wearing different clothes.
5. Because it's cool!

So then- who are you?

I'm Miss Kagashi, which is my (Potawatomie for crow) nom-de-plume in this case. When I'm not exploring the cultures which existed in the time of steam (and their fabulous clothes, art, and cuisine), I'm terrorizing conventions as Kapitan von Grelle of the Imperial Anti-Piracy Squadron. I've been a costumer for seven years, two of which have been as a professional, in addition to being an artist, history student, and adventurous eater (seriously, have you ever had tripe? It's delicious!).

I became bitten by the multi-cultural costuming bug when I made a North African/Turkish inspired outfit a couple of years ago (which I adapted into a steampunk ensemble for DragonCon 2010) and was delighted not only by the doors it opened to me, but because it was surprisingly comfortable (not to mention flash-looking).

                                                       Photo by Anna Fischer

I wondered to myself- why are people restricting themselves to the same combinations of Western/European Victorian clothes, when there is indeed a world wonderful clothes, art, and crafts out there. So, this is hopefully what I'd like to do for you- to traverse the world in the age of steam, see the wearable (and edible!) arts the peoples produced (and how to produce your own), and meet some people who love to make it.

Until next time world travellers!