When I blogged about Simplicity releasing "alternative" sewing patterns back in 2014, I was kind of only telling a half truth. In reality those were costumes that appeared to be inspired by alternative fashions. I had once pissed and moaned about how Arkivestry, a Gothic design label, had created a series of trad Goth designs for Simplicity, only to have them categorized as "costumes" when they were clearly intended as clothing. I'm shocked to announce that they have released a pattern, clearly inspired by Gothic Lolita/Steampunk, described as "alternative sports fashion" and categorized in tops and bottoms. Holy hell! We're making progress.
This is a huge step to have alt fashion acknowledged as an actual fashion and not some kind of dress up joke. I've been a member of Pattern Review on and off over the years and when I post one of my projects I usually get praise, but sometimes I have some women asking, "where would you wear this?" It's like they've never seen anything alternative or Goth in all their lives. I don't blame them or anything, but why would I sew something I didn't intend on wearing? I feel like this is how Simplicity has viewed alternative fashions, like they're just a fad and people don't actually wear that stuff.
Here are the new releases:
Misses' Alternative Fashion
Pattern features "alternative sportswear", including camisole, bloomers and shorts with ribbon detailing. Can be found under the shorts and tops categories.
Misses' Blouse, Hat and Knit Skirts
Features two different skirt styles, a hat, and a blouse with two different sleeve variations. Can be found under tops, skirts and coordinates categories.
Misses' Lolita and Rockabilly
A-line one piece dress using straps or puff sleeves, with ribbon or bow details. Can be found under the dress category.
There were also two new Cosplay/costumes released but they're nothing special and not really worth mentioning.
What do I think?
I think the Lolita and Rockabilly compilation are the most successful designs. In fact, that's probably the best attempt at Lolita I've seen from them, if from any company. Simplicity tried Harajuku street fashion and Lolita twice before with moderate success. I feel that this dress is well constructed and way nicer than their previous attempts. I always used to say that a Lolita dress is just a dress with a shit ton of embellishments on it, but it's clear to me that the designer did their research and had a solid understanding of the ever popular a-line one piece. This pattern is spot on, hats off to them!
As for the Goth and Alt stuff...I'm not that stoked about it. In fact, I'm disappointed. For starters, Simplicity 8154 seems too reminiscent of Simplicity 2777 designed by Arkivestry. This makes sense because Karen Fleisch, the designer for this pattern, is from Arkivestry. With all due respect to Karen, I've appreciated her romantic trad Goth stuff in the past, but I just don't think she's in touch with what's hot in Goth fashion today. My biggest issue with her designs are that they're too simplistic or dated.
And why bloomers?! I mean, for Christ's sake, how many bloomers patterns do we need? Who the fuck wears these things? I've perused hundreds of Goth and alt fashion sites and I can honestly say I've never seen anyone wearing this stuff.
In regards to Simplicity 8020, I'm just confused. Is it channeling Visual/Oshare Kei??? Is it supposed to appeal to Goths just because there's some skulls thrown in there? The hat is by far the most hideous thing I've seen, and the long skirt and top combo look as though they're Steampunk/Victorian inspired but are too lack luster and simplistic to appeal to fans of the aesthetic. I don't understand this, why don't they just reach out to people who know the genre best and say, "hey! what do you want to see?" I could tell them, no problem! As a sewist who adores Goth fashion I already know all the things I'd love to sew but don't know how, which is why I'd spend the money on a good pattern, if such a thing existed!
And here's what it would look like:
Misses' Dresses, Harness and Fedora
The most popular things in Goth fashion currently are sheers, laces, harnesses and strappy bras, bodysuits and dresses. If you're going to make a Goth/alt sewing pattern it should use these designs. Why? Because they're the hardest thing to sew or draft. Most home sewists do not have the skills to sew sheers without a pattern and some kind of direction. Likewise, the skater dress with the strappy built in harness could be done DIY but not without considerable experimentation; I'd much rather buy a pattern of it. While it's not too difficult to make an elastic harness, the proper studded faux leather/leather ones are completely foreign to home sewists and would be totally worth making a pattern for. And if you're going to make a hat pattern, why not the wide brim fedora? It appeals to more than just Goths, the 70's revival thing is hot shit right now.
If you're reading this Simplicity, take heed! Nu Goth is what's hot. And if you don't understand that, don't be afraid to ask. The Gothic community wants to see you succeed!
What are your thoughts?