Lockdown has sparked creativity in unexpected places, whether it's movie makers crafting short films from home, kitchen artists testing out innovative new recipes, or people simply rediscovering the simple joy of sketching and painting.
Expressing yourself through fashion is slightly trickier though – with stores and boutiques closed or much changed, picking up new garments is trickier, and chances are you'd have nowhere to show them off anyway.
There is one exception though – Nintendo's hit game of life-in-miniature, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The Nintendo Switch game, which launched in March, allows players to create their own fashions and share them online with others, all while living out an idyllic life on a tropical island. Thanks to the game's multiplayer features, people can even visit each other's islands and hold impromptu fashion shows.
To celebrate that creativity, Creative Bloq is highlighting some of the best fashion designs players have created in the game. Each week, we'll look at some of the finest couture that players have put out into the wild, grouped by different themes.
Animal Crossing New Horizons: Cos Play
If you're a fan of comic books, animation, or film, the summer months might normally be when you'd get your geek on and hang out with friends at a convention, perhaps cosplaying as your favourite characters. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis means most comic cons around the world have been cancelled, meaning fewer outlets for that brand of creativity.
Thankfully, in the world of Animal Crossing New Horizons everything is fine, so for this week's round up of the best fan-made fashion designs, we're looking at the best of digital cosplay – it's time to play dress up.
This isn't just a fantastic recreation of the Caped Crusader's crime-fighting look – designer Lien seems to have taken inspiration from Batman's classic 'Bronze Age' appearance, as drawn by the likes of comic artists Neal Adams or Jim Aparo. While later designs for the character would move to an all-black look, at this period Batman was a bit lighter, in tone and aesthetic. This is something the grey body suit and blue cape used here capture well.
The design really stands out thanks to the little touches though, using pixel art to create muscle definition, add the folds in Batman's cape, and bring out the curves and points of the bat insignia. Check out Lien's take on a matching Robin costume too, accessible from their creator page.
02. Captain Marvel
Higher, further, faster, more – that's Captain Marvel's mantra, and something creator Sanskrit has adhered to in this meticulous recreation of Marvel's most powerful hero's uniform. The simplicity of the costume's primary colours belies the distinction of its design, which is captured here in the arch of the 'starbolts' over the shoulders, the shaded muscle detailing, and the asymmetry of the red sash Captain Marvel wears at her waist in the comics. A great superhero look.
03. Kreuger Dress
Some of the most impressive cosplay you'll see at a convention is often the outfits that take inspiration from a well-known character, then create something new but undeniably recognisable from them. That's exactly what returning favourite designer Ally has done here, with this look influenced by horror icon Freddy Krueger. From the banded top with just the right shade of sickly green stripes and torn holes for added authenticity, to the leather skirt with visible stitching and criss-crossed suspenders, this is a look that will haunt your dreams. As for those red splashes? We're sure they're just ketchup...
Sometimes, the subtlest cosplay is the cleverest – and that's definitely the case for this look from designer Fhirefly. At a glance, it seems like dowdy office attire. Then you clock the colour scheme, the detailed blouse, and the name Janet, and it clicks – this is a perfect recreation of the omnipotent afterlife AI from The Good Place, one of the best sitcoms in recent years. Not only is this design spot-on for the character, it's incredibly well done too, with frills, buttons, pockets, and pleats in all the right places.
05. 10th Doctor
The various incarnations of The Doctor, from the long-running sci-fi show Doctor Who, are cosplay favourites – after all, the character may be a time travelling immortal from beyond the stars, but they helpfully always wear regular clothes. That doesn't mean it's a lazy cosplay – the mark of capturing the character well is in attention to detail, something designer Kirsten has captured here. Based on David Tennant's Tenth Doctor, this look creates the illusion of three layers – shirt, suit jacket, and raincoat – without sacrificing the nuance of pinstripe detailing, the fall of the coat's wide lapels, and even pocket positions. A brilliant recreation.
06. Stranger Things El
Based on the psychic teenager of Netflix's hit Stranger Things – specifically her look in the show's first season – designer Xan has gone to town bringing out every bit of detail in the look. The torso patterning brings out the texture of El's deliberately worn-looking dress from the show, while the use of multiple shades of pink around the skirt recreate the straight fall of the fabric. It's the use of shadow that really adds some three-dimensionality to the piece though, making the blue jacket layer actually seem to be sitting on top of the dress, while incredibly subtle shading at the skirt's hem adds some depth to the material.
Based on the crew uniforms in the hit sci-fi series Star Trek Discovery, this outfit by designer Quinn features painstaking attention to detail. The clean lines of the colour panels draw the eye in, before you notice the particulars – the slightly off-centre yellow strip indicating the lapel, which stops just below the neck to match where the neck clasp goes; the banded shoulder straps; the appropriately to-scale Starfleet badge.
Most astonishing is the checkerboard of the yellow side panels, recreating the shimmering, almost chainmail effect of the costumes on the show. There are tons of great Star Trek uniforms that the Animal Crossing fandom has created, but this look boldly goes where no design has gone before.
A niche pick for any readers who aren't fans of anime, but this recreation of the eponymous lead character from the series Revolutionary Girl Utena is too good to ignore. Creator Kaohi has perfectly crafted a notoriously complex design within the Animal Crossing design tool, from the pleated under-skirt to the accents and flairs – the brooch and chain, the cufflinks, the wingtip collars, the pointed tails at the rear of the jacket; it's all simply gorgeous. If you're a fan of the classic anime, this look is unmissable, but even if you've never heard of it, this would double as a fantastic 'ringmaster' look.
What's a cosplay parade without at least one Disney Princess? Again, this is a sub-category that Animal Crossing Islanders have really gone to town on, but for our money, designer Gem's recreation of Tiana's dress from The Princess and the Frog is one of the best to be found. It's simply stunning, from the complementary shades of green and yellow, to the leaf-petal layering of the outer garment, the refined lines creating an almost stained glass or cathedral look to the under-skirt, and the detailed vine trail at the waist. A magical work of art.
10. Rey TROS
If Star Wars is more your vibe than Star Trek, you can't go wrong with this take on Jedi wraps as worn by Rey. Designer Dobes has put heaps of effort in here, with each roll of fabric being shaded to present the folds and falls of the material – the creases even retain continuity beneath the squeeze of the belt. Throw in the asymmetric arm details, all cuffs and straps that perfectly match the on-screen look, and you can't deny the Force is strong in this design.
For details on how to access these designs in your own game, see our handy how-to guide.
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