A Cowboy, a Samurai and a Princess Walk into a Bar…
“It’s just a bunch of rags sort of wrapped around her. I mean, I get wanting to dress up like the main character but it’s not like Rey’s costume is all that interesting.”
Honestly, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor before I could even respond to my friend after hearing that comment. I mean, I’m a film geek first, sure, but I’m a costume geek second, and I don’t know if I’d ever heard an opinion about a costume just so totally different from my own. And, about my girl Rey? I just couldn’t believe it. Call me obsessed, but I launched into a rant about the virtue of our dear scavenger’s ensemble before my friend could finish off the rest of their blue milk.
Let’s talk about the brilliance of Rey’s original design from The Force Awakens. When you first laid eyes on her in the earliest scenes of the movie, did anything come to mind? The sandy landscapes of Jakku brought back memories of another dusty planet, certainly, but the gauzy wrappings of beige and off-white must have reminded you of someone. Of course it did. Luke.
Customer Supplied Pic. Photo by Justin Tongson.
Now, love them or hate them, I think we can all agree that the newest films are undoubtedly a kind of remix of the original trilogy. Personally, I think that’s a great thing. At the end of the day everything is just a remix with a little splash of something new. Done right, you’ve got a nice little homage. And Rey’s outfit is definitely just that, an homage to someone we already know and love with a potent visual cue we’re already familiar with. But I think the references go even deeper than that.
Rey is, at the core of her character, a scavenger. And what I find just so interesting about her costume is that it’s, well, just so scavenged from other characters. I’ve covered the very obvious resemblance with Luke’s ANH look but if you’re looking closely you’ll find inspiration from two other early Star Wars heroes as well. To me the low slinging holster is just so cowboy, so undeniably Han. Leia’s look, for better or worse, has always been largely defined by her very loud, very proud hairstyles, and Rey is no different. The criss crossing right-over left style lines of her wrap recall the Japanese influence of Luke and Obi-wan’s Jedi’s underpinnings. It really seems like little bits and pieces have been taken here and there and reforged into something new and interesting, not unlike the franchise itself. What we end up with an amalgamation that’s truly cohesive within the Star Wars universe. You know what you’re looking at when you see her—a hero.
A splash of something new also makes an appearance in her costume. Little details are hidden throughout out from her mismatched sleeves to the versatility of her wrap. While borrowing from the past costume designer Michael Kaplan never forgot to give Rey her own spark of personality. Her look feels useful and a natural reflection of her setting without beating you over the head with it and I appreciate that subtlety.
Customer Supplied Pic (Gloria Northup)
I think we did a wonderful job of bringing Rey’s costume to life. Real leather was used for the appropriate parts and the pants are a lovely silk blend. The gathering at the shoulders is meticulous and I can tell you first hand the colors of the ensemble are excellent. And despite what my friend said about this just being a series of wraps (it isn’t), we took the time to carefully pattern everything off of the original movie assets.
Maybe I’m just a dreamer but I relished being a part of this project and the opportunity it gave us to add our own little stitch to the tapestry of this costume.
We hope that you’ll enjoy wearing it as much as we did creating it.