Tailors and Textiles in the Sea of Stars (A to Z)

23 April, 2021

The quest for fashion is universalFashion and clothing vary widely even radically from one culture in the Sea of Stars to the next, even before the Sundering split the world into islands, each culture tended to have it own ideas about proper and effective dress.  Afterwards, those splits became deep and more pronounced in many cases.  Fashions that once emulated that of the gods were abandoned (or at least hidden away) and new styles evolved, a few attempted to flatter the dragons by imitating their form in cloth, leather and metal, but most dragons just found the effect ridiculous so such fashions have been mostly abandoned except for masquerades.

Equally, the materials available to make into clothing especially textiles changed in availability and, often, in composition and quality.  Some materials were entirely wiped out in the aftermath of the Sundering, such as the silkworms of Giesa, were all killed in a frost that lasted a month.  However, new ones emerged such as the giant cotton plants of the Yile Valley which produce so much cotton that the valley has been the site of no less than three wars between Draconic House for control over it.

Differing realms have different approaches to fashion, as a general rule the richer the state the further down the social ladder fashion extends.  In a poor country, only the aristocracy and the wealthy merchants, such as they are, will have the money to be able to afford to keep changing their clothes and adopting new styles.  While wealthy places, such as Taren Kost, even the lower classes can usually afford a new set of clothes once or twice a year and so follow fashion, if only distantly.  Fashion flows out from various places, such as the city of Terriece in the Kingdom of Eosiant or the city-state of Taren Kost or even the Capital of the Draconic Imperium, Shel’lioc.  Books of clothing designs circulate out from such places on a yearly or even quarterly basis, depending on where they are going to.  Ambitious and young tailors move out from such places to royal courts, Draconic houses and up and coming city-states to seek their fortune and spread the principles of good design and fashions.

Working  hard to make clothThe most used material for clothing remains cloth made from natural fibers, drawn from plants or animals, and made into thread and then woven into cloth.  Mostly such cloth is made on small looms in each household but a few places have begun to move to industrial levels of cloth production using water powered machinery to spin thread and run looms.  Naturally, the dwarven holds are pioneering the movement towards industrial production of cloth.

Among the unusual cloths woven in the Sea of Stars there is fisherman’s black cloth, made from the fibers of a type of seaweed that when dried can be pulled into fibers and then woven into a dark grey or black cloth that is highly water resistant and prized by fishermen and other people who work around water.  The wool from the pink sheep of Upper Ardarya is exceptionally good at keeping its wearer warm but it loses that trait if it is dyed or bleached.  The bronze yak of Hosa Ta have an exceptional high concentration of metal in their fur which is notable difficult to weave but keeps it wearer both warm and armored.

Among those seeking to be fashionable there is always a quest for new and better (or at least different) cloth and materials, better dyes to color them, interesting buttons and hooks, ribbon and ties.  All of which are valuable if not necessarily obviously so before they are combined into their final form.

Notes: Clothing makes the person, so characters should have wide options in choosing such.  Additionally, should you wish to hand out treasure that could lead to further adventures and interesting entanglement, give the characters bolts of cloth, spools of ribbon, boxes of buttons, they could just dump it on the market for a fraction of its value of they could travel to [insert interesting place here] to sell it for more money and a chance to shape local tastes and fashion for a season.

Images, upper, “Musashi Province from the series Fashionable Six Jewel Rivers (Furyu Mu Tamagawa)” by Kitagawa Utamaro (Japanese, 1753?-1806) is marked with CC0 1.0, lower, “hip loom” by hans s is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

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