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In a continuation of my exploration between the lives of what we typically refer to as Landers versus Spacers one aspect that should be covered in the idea of appearances; Namely, we should turn to what is worn. Though our galaxy is full of wonderful, fantastic variation that often defies such simplistic categories one can argue that this divide in galactic civilization is easily observed in how people dress. It’s generally an unpopular theory… after all, the galaxy as a whole prides itself on this concept of upward mobility, in a literal sense, through the ability to travel among worlds. This entry, of course, only covers some of the more superficial tropes of this distinction. For more accurate accounting another entry will be required to focus on factors such as cultural and biological need.
Silver Spiral Field Notes: #007 Fashion of the Silver Spiral
Due to the costs and challenges associated with space travel, even in a galaxy as advanced as our own, not everyone can travel the stars and it is indisputable that some people exude this fact in how they dress. The typical phrase I hear concerning clothing between Landers and Spacers is the idea of “the fab versus the drab.” While this is certainly snappy verbiage, it doesn’t quite reflect the cultural intricacies of this division… but it’s a good start.
The fashion of spacers is best described as utilitarian. While spaceflight has evolved beyond the requirements of life-support system embedded into flight suits with bulky helmets, the rigors of space travel require a certain utility that you generally do not need planetside. It seems unfair to label spacer clothing as simple, as it all tends to be remarkably complex in the areas of materials science and engineering needs, but spacer clothes are rarely adorned in a decorative sense. When off duty, both planetside or in space, a spacer is far more likely to favor clothing that is comfortable. Shirts, pants, boots, sneakers, jackets and belts are the typical spacer-chic. Layers are particularly key as ships are often fine-tuned to operate in very specific environmental parameters, and as such the easiest way to adjust for comfort is on the end of the individual. Many pieces of spacer kit are adaptable and serve multiple functions. Often a jacket is not just a jacket, but rather a collection of pockets for vital components, or an anchor point for a tethered line for scaling ship’s walls. Or even a way to shield certain species of ever present electromagnetic radiation generated by ionic drives. Boots are often favored by how easily they can handle the rigors of space itself in addition to covering feet. If a boot has an easy-way to adapt to an air-tight seal for emergency spacewalks it is almost certain a spacer will favor it among any other choices.
Branding is somewhat of a minor concern among spacers. While off duty clothing can hail from a variety of manufacturers, most key parts in a spacer’s look are produced by companies that make their trade in space travel. It is not unusual for any ship manufacturer to have a division designated for clothing design that serves the purpose of pushing the ship’s brand as an identity, but also providing clothing that interfaces well with the ship. It’s not unusual for a spacer to have smart-belts, watches, and ear-implants that sync directly to the ship for constant updates. More often than not, however, spacers are good about cobbling together functional clothing from existing materials and modifying whatever they have available to them.
This discussion is, of course, a simplification that does not factor in personal taste and aesthetics, or even cultural and biological necessities. Regardless, these large, overarching fashion tropes exist for a reason for spacers. When so much of an individual’s life is spent working hard in space that individual is likely to simplify, reuse, or tweak clothing to their specific needs. This of course is further complicated when it comes to looking at these factors militarily, which in and of itself is it’s own topic.
Thus we turn to the topic of Landers, who are individuals who spend most of their time planetside. More often than not this is because they lack the ability to be Spacers. According to the Grey Science Council, statistically speaking, 70% of the galactic population is likely to never leave their home system in their lifetime. Of that percentage, it is likely 50% will never leave their homeworld. As such, much of Lander fashion is very much grown from homeworld culture and oftentimes Landers stick to cultural fashion trends. This of course is something to be explored in another entry. It should not come as a shock that a Grey living within a predominantly Grey population will dress like other Grey. The same goes for near every race in our galaxy.
Curiously though, in the more cosmopolitan systems and planets, we see some dynamic trends in fashion that not so surprisingly stem from strong local economies, surplus disposable income, and highly expanded instances of trade. Any planet with a sizable spaceport is likely to see increased trade and serves as a radial point for an expanding and diverse population. Certain worlds, therefore, become astoundingly diverse to the point where the initial colonial presence is all but erased. Teslovia, Red Rock, and Marunval of course serve as clear examples of this principle. “This is where,” as galactic diva Galaxitina Satruvetsky Quilxoss once said, “fashion lives.” These worlds become colonies in an of themselves in the distribution of variety of Lander fashion. Take for example the Marunval system. Principly the system was a Gaur system, but as Marunval became a trade hub, materials and designs radiated out from the port, across Marunval itself, to the other planets within the system.
This is where the concept of the drab versus the fab truly lies… the needs of Landers play more into the aesthetic, and as such most clothing becomes ornamental outside of the clothing that serves a specific, on the job need. Clothing becomes cultural, ceremonial, or elaborate and luxurious among the Lander population as the rigors of space travel simply do not apply to near 70% of the galactic population.
Colonists are of a unique position, however. Most colonists are Landers as they aim to settle on and occupy a planet and establish generational control, yet they require starships to achieve this. While most colonists bring their culture with them, by the time they land planetside they have set those designs aside, instead adapting to the practical clothes of the spacer. For those establishing a new colony, this is important because of the level of work required in erecting civilization on a new planet, but for most it is almost as shift in their mind. It as though their role in the galaxy has changed. They are no longer Landers or Spacers, but something in between… some transitional element that aims to create new Landers who can live in comfort and avoid the rigors that a small subset of the population endures.