Geeking Out About Flame Con Panels: Designing X-Women II: Fashion Apocalypse

Panelists: Tea Fougner, Aimee Fleck, Terry Blas, Dan Ketchum, Kris Anka, Max Wittert, Kevin Wada Moderator: Josh Siegel from Geeks Out

X-Men are well known for having a multitude of looks throughout their history of superheroing. While there are looks that are iconic to most fans, most of the senior members of the X-Universe have had multiple looks fitting the fashions of the era they’re in. The panelist discussed how characters like Storm have a history of iconic looks and redesigns, look at 80s mohawk versus 90s weather witch designs. But characters like Jean Grey have struggled to have iconic looks of their own throughout the years, mostly due to not having a specific “thing” or trait for an artist to hone in on. (Which is why Jean Grey as the Phoenix is arguably her best look to date.)

The panelists went on to discuss the disconnect in the translation of comic book hero costumes to the movie screen. The difference of approach was best described by Max: movie costumes are to comics costumes as street fashion is to runway fashion. Clothes seen on runways tend to look amazing on models walking down a catwalk but don't work practically for everyday street wear. From the first X-Men movie, moviemakers have decided that functionality trumps aesthetic flare in the movie-verse. How full black leather suits were deemed “functional” is still a mystery. (Blame the Matrix movies.) But the panelists all agreed that Negasonic Teenage Warhead is the best example of how to keep the superhero aesthetic and a sense of practicality.

With a consensus that superheroes don’t get any style with their costumes in movies, the panelists presented their list of X-Men who are in need of super makeovers.

Solo X-Character redesigns:

Havok by Tea Fougner: This look allows Havok to easily transition from “Average Joe” to superhero at any moment. Havok’s costumes have never been chic or stylish because he was always given one to help regulate his powers. Tea merges fashion with functionality to meet Havok’s everyday needs. Tea ditched the usual big gauntlets for a suit that is modular along with a removable vest. The design is mostly black with concentric circles subtly built into the wrist and back instead of on his chest. Most standout feature: Bear slippers for when he is working on his dissertation in grad school

Jubilee by Kevin Wada: She sports a more sleek black look than what we are used to for Jubilee. Her look is very chic exemplifying her age as late teens/early twenties. Jubilee has a one-piece body suit with thin X designs and combat boots. On top of the one-piece she has two additional layers: a yellow hoodie alluding to her classic yellow jacket and to top it off a black leather jacket. Most standout feature: Pink buzz cut

Magik by Daniel Ketchum: Her look embraces the demon sorceress background of Illyana without over-sexualizing her. Daniel went with silver and black battle armor harkening back to when she would manifest magical battle armor. She is outfitted with her soul sword in its original design along with Darkchilde design where her skin turns black, her eyes red, but her hair stays 100 percent natural blonde for a stunning contrast. Most standout feature: Long horns with her timeless bangs

Psylocke by Terry Blas: She is adorned with a black body suit featuring purple TRON-esque patterned design. A solid black hooded shawl is wrapped over Psylocke to keep her hidden in the darkness like any proper and fashionable ninja. Shawl and body suit can be removed to reveal a one piece, long-sleeved, thigh-high body suit for easy battle maneuverability. This look is for when Betsy is all in an opponent's face, dazzling them with her gracefully deadly strikes and stunning psychic knife. All the enemy will see is a flash of purple before their defeat. Most standout feature: White gogo boots and katana

Rachel Summers by Josh Siegel: This costume is on fire with a stylized flame-shaped top featuring an asymmetrical phoenix design stretching from shoulder to front. She wears sleek yellow pants and dark brown boots and gloves. Rachel’s arms and legs have spikes, alluding back to her days as a hound, that can be telekinetically weaponized.
Most standout feature: Phoenix Mom tattoo

Rogue by Aimee Fleck: Decked out in a green and black body suit with brown accents to form the X-shape on her legs, Rogue’s look keeps with her traditional color scheme. She is outfitted with long black fingerless gloves as well as brown leather gloves that she can remove to make contact when it’s time to use her powers. To play on when Rogue wore a white scarf, Aimee designed a white scarf-like body wrap that fits on the top and then flows out to just below the knees. This allows for a flowy look without worry of wearing something that may get caught during a battle. Most standout feature: White head wrap that ties into her white hair streaks

Spiral by Max Wittert: Max went with a design that works with Spiral’s many talents as an expert fighter, stunt woman, dancer and interdimensional teleporter (usually achieved through dancing). Her no-sleeve crop top allows for all of her six arms to move freely, while her plaid pants with shin guards shows that she has style for the dance club and is ready to fight. Most standout feature: Mesh stomach panel

Storm by Kris Anka: Kris Anka revised a previous look he had made for a run of Uncanny X-Force featuring Storm as the leader of that team. The previous look went on to be used as Storm’s main look to the surprise of Anka who designed the X-Force costumes to be for covert ops missions only. This design is more for everyday superheroing, adding more white and yellow to brighten up the previously mostly black costume. Most standout feature: New cape-like design that can also function as a hooded shawl when not flying on air currents.

The last challenge the panelists took on was redesigning Emma Frost.

Aimee: Retired socialite with all the money and none of the care.

Dan: Classic superhero with just enough skin to see the diamonds within.

Josh: #HeroCouture2016

Kevin: Teacher by day, superhero by night...martini somewhere in between.

Kris: Brawler Emma.

Max: Shamelessly Emma Frost. She only wears the finest of albino animal prints.

Tea: Diamonds and mesh are all Miss Frost needs.

Terry: A look for every occasion.

Bonus: Best conclusion from Max at end of panel: "Marvel Drag Queens, in which everyone is in drag except for Storm and Emma Frost who stay the same." Fingers crossed we can see some of these fashions (and a Marvel Drag Queens series) more in the future.

J. L. Barnaby's picture
on August 26, 2016

New Yorker. Born a mutant. Designer of books. Reader of comics and manga.