SoS! Day 58: Stunning Styles

Hello, Cosplay-senpai!

The following is a reworking of a post that was originally exclusive for my supporters on Patreon, about six-hundred years ago when I had a Patreon. It was a relatively popular post to my memory, so maybe recycling it will get me some huzzahs. Without further ado, let’s talk about the Springsake High school uniforms!

One the earliest decisions I made for my Seriously Senpai universe was that there would be school uniforms. Although it doesn’t deliberately take place in any particular location of the world, there are obviously a variety of influences from Japan. Genres of the story, the mechanics of the games and some of the eventual artistic styles all serving as major Japanese inspirations. Even if some of the final product ends up feeling more American or westernized, I don’t think it would throw too many people off to see standardized attire, particularly in an all-girl school setting.

Far from being an excuse to lazily copy paste design, one of the reasons I wanted these uniforms was to push what we could do with how each character would wear their clothes. Does it look loose on her or does it look talor-tight? Are her pleats parallel or do they get ruffled up? Does she know how to put on a neck tie properly? Are all her buttons straight? Does she even use her buttons? All of these details have been meticulously thought about for each character and how her personality is reflected in her appearance.

Another early decision was to offer the girls a choice between skirt and pants variants of the uniform. This would give us a little more room for variety in our designs. I think the choice also sets up certain expectations of personality as well, which is both good from a design point-of-view and for story telling, where I have options to meet or subvert those expectations. And some girls are just hotter in pants, deal with it!

This is the very first piece of concept art for the entire Seriously Senpai project. It was drawn by Retro Outro, who not only designed the Springsake High school uniform but also created the original concept art of each of the Seven Senior Suitors and Sara Sites.

Retro had a lot of great ideas and was very accommodating to my request. I knew early on that I wanted a vest, as I have a personal fondness for the look of them and it also seemed to me that they are underutilized in modern uniform designs. I also feel the added layer of complexity did not hurt in making our uniforms as distinct as I personally feel they are.

Once we had the style designs, Retro got to work on trying out different color combinations. I knew early on that I wanted to incorporate purple, to invoke a sense of royalty and prestige in these somewhat throwback designs. This again would give our characters more to react with their clothing, based on how they felt about their town and school.

I did have a moment where I had considered a combo of the 5th and 6th options, eschewing the purple for something that looked good in my head when I requested to see it. That didn’t pan out but greens of the second sheet did especially catch my eye. The plaid plaid patterning of the vest in the second sheet also resonated with me, as I think it may have been overbearing on the pleated skirt and would have left us with less to do for the pants uniform.

At last, we arrived at our final concept designs. The purple ended up taking up less than I had anticipated but this too has woven itself into the story in fun ways. Among my final requests, I did ask for the bow on the skirt uniform to be a bit larger. I also requested that the pants legs be loosened up a bit, particularly at the leg openings, as the first sketches looked hard to get into. You’re welcome, cosplayers!

I think the green bottoms, grey vest and purple bows/ties came together well partly due to these being print friendly colors. If you’ve ever noticed a lot of old comic book character designs make heavy uses of these colors, it had much to do with the printing processes of their time. It’s not exactly why we settled on them but seeing the combo together did invoke my thoughts of classic print characters.

Let’s see how it all looks on some of our characters!

This is Jessica Springsake’s first concept art by RetroOutro and it’s a good model of how the skirt uniform is supposed to be worn. It’s no coincidence that Jessica’s last name is also the name of the school and that her eyes match the skirt; it almost makes you wonder if she bleeds purple as well.

The above the knee black socks were once a standard part of the uniform until enough girls protested that they were too old fashioned. This would not keep Jessica from honoring the traditional look.

This is Rhaelyn’s first concept art by RetroOutro and it’s a good model of how the skirt uniform looks with Rhaelyn’s long legs. More out going than Jessica and much less concerned with traditions (and modesty), Rhaelyn’s short skirt length was no accident. Whether it is within regulation is subject to much debate.

This is a very dapper first concept art of Natalia by RetroOutro. A real lady-killer needs to be dressed to kill and I think she’s fitting the bill here. You almost can’t help but feel undressed next to her. To be fair, you may very well be.

Finally, RetroOutro’s first concept art of Dee. Dee woke up like this and doesn’t recall how or when these clothes got on her. It’s all technically there and she technically made it to school, so maybe an A for effort is warranted?

What do you think of the Springsake High uniforms? Which uniform would you have preferred to have? Was there more to the uniforms than meets the eye? I hope so and if not, there’s plenty of more secrets to be revealed but those will have to wait for now!

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