We all go a little crazy sometimes. It even happens to me. Fortunately in this case I’m not talking Norman Bates crazy; I just got a little click-happy and kept buying, and buying…and buying. I blame Posy (that’s my story, and I’m sticking with it) because she’s the one who dropped on me the landmark to Gaia Goodnight’s shop, Darkstar Designs. Hopefully this isn’t old news to everyone but me, but Gaia’s shop showcases some great design work with clear anime, steampunk and cyperbpunk influences, all at extremely reasonable prices. The beauty of this is that when you do go crazy (and you will, I say this with confidence), the effect on your L$ balance won’t be devastating.
Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of men’s clothing designs beyond a few tees (although there are plenty of things for the ladies just across the way at Sh!t Happens), but as you’ll see I came home with hair styles and accessories enough to put together seven different looks. I may not have mixed-and-matched the way Gaia had in mind, or the way you would do, but that’s the further beauty of having such an embarrassment of riches to play with.
Let’s start kind of simple and work our way up from there.
This simple outfit features Gaia’s “Gears” tee (which is also available in “V2″ and “V3″ styles, L$25 each, as you’ll see below), her “Thrash” boots and “Gensho” hairstyle in Blood. The tee’s large gearwork design subtly suggests a steampunk ethos but is almost abstract in its presentation. Gaia’s “Thrash” boots (L$60) are chunky without being clunky, built of interestingly textured black leather and a thick sole with a slight heel (you may see a slight “halo” due to invisiprim construction). The rolled top and flexi dangling zebra-striped laces are nice touches. Only one size is included, but they’re moddable–I had to size the uppers up slightly to work even with boot-cut pants, but didn’t have to tweak the lowers. “Gensho” (L$100) looks short overall but has long sections that, brushed forward as they are, nearly cover the cheeks and eyes.
Here we have something of a variation on the already established theme, with the “Gears V3″ shirt (black artwork on a white shirt this time) and another pair of slouchy boots. The well worn, well loved “Lovers Rendezvous” boots (L$50) are at best kissing cousins of the “Thrash” design–the rolled top is much more substantial, and the chunky-tread sole is flat rather than heeled. Untied laces barely contain the tall tongue, which threatens to fall free if even one eyelet gives way. Small and large sizes are included, and if I remember correctly I’m wearing the large size with no re-sizing necessary. The spikey, windswept “Stryker” hairstyle (L$100, again in Blood) is somewhat reined in by a pair of goggles pushed high on the forehead, the straps doing double duty by keeping a pack of cigs handy.
Okay, there’s a little more going on here, with not only boots but matching arm cuffs lovingly manufactured from heavy metal. The tee is “Gears V2,” in basic black with familiar white screen-printed artwork. The knee-high “Ironworks” boots and wrist-to-elbow cuffs (L$40 each, or L60 for the set) are built from cast iron, with what look like heat-exchange units bolt-bracketed sturdily in place. What do I know, though?–those could be just for looks.
“Saeed” is the name of the hair style (L$100), and like the other two it’s shown here in Blood, my favorite of the reds, but don’t worry–I did buy hair in some other colors as well. This longer, shaggier style also has “built-in” goggles, but instead of taming the hair somewhat they seem to have been overtaken by it almost completely. The hair textures on these first three styles are simple but effective, entirely appropriate for these anime/comics-inspired styles.
Now we’re up to probably the most highly accessorized outfit I put together for this article. Here you see (I believe) Gaia’s entire collection tagged “The Forsaken”: boots (L$60), goggles (L$40), respirator (L$50), and “Outreach” cuffs (L$40). (These are so elaborate that I debated calling them “gloves,” but they have no fingers so…they’re cuffs.) The whole set has a nice steampunk-y feel, with gauges, rivets, straps, tubing, ducts, shunts, vents, even some apparently random steam effects.
The hair I’m wearing here is called “Dionysus” (L$50), and I suppose only time and your own experiece will tell if hair alone can lead you into Dionysian excess (but by all means give it a shot). The hair texture here is different, perhaps a bit more realistic, with shading that looks like highlighting, and the style comes in a variety of single-color and two-tone variations. If you look closely at the top “mohawk/fauxhawk” spikes, you may notice some fringing at the edges of the prim transparencies–a slight but noticeable flaw, although at these prices it almost seems churlish to complain.
A bet less elaborate with the accessorizing this time, but probably my favorite single item: the RIOT Wrench back attachment (L$40). In fact, this is probably the best strap-it-on-your-back attachment I’ve seen since Vas Legend’s banjo. Really, you never know when you’re going to need to tighten something or loosen something else, so in spite of its size it’s likely to be handier than you might think. I’m pretty sure at one point that I noticed some steam effects at teleport, but I couldn’t duplicate the effect, so it might be random or I might just be on crack.
In addition to the wrench I’m wearing the “Sh!t Kickers” boots (L$50), which are screwed together tightly through somewhat rusty and beat-up metal plating. I love the chunky moon-boot treaded soles and the small but still threateningly pointy spikes around the perimeter. Here the hair is called “Syd” (L$50), again in red–sorry, I know I promised more colors; I didn’t lie but may have exaggerated a bit for effect. This spiked-up style is billed as unisex, and I can vouch for the fact that it looks great on Posy’s demure-girl avie.
At last, hair that isn’t red! This style is called “Emo Emu” (L$50), and it comes in an unbelievable array of non-reality-based colors–yes, including red, but here I have resisted that particular temptation. The fringed bangs are long, covering the eyes, the upper layers are rigorously stylized, and the band of contrasting color up top is eye-catching and fun. Gaia’s “Ikusa bu-tsu” boots (L$50) remind me of gear you might see worn by a character in a tokusatsu film, with their simple but exaggerated styling and almost organic curves. The “Cyberpunk Pack” “Cyberpunk Pack” accessory (L$50) jacks in to the flesh of your back, no doubt making some internal connections with your biology best not considered too closely. A variety of particle steam effects can be configured via chat command.
Okay, last outfit and the hair…is red again. I swear, I’m not a liar, several of these styles did come in multi-color packs, but clearly I’ve gone for red almost every time. It must be some kind of obsession. The style here is called “Icarus” (L$50), and of all the styles shown here this one took me the longest to fit to my satisfaction. I’m not exactly sure why, it’s fairly straightforward, nothing unusual about it, but there was one section near the left ear that I just couldn’t get happy with. I actually ended up rotating the section slightly, rather than just pushing it in/out or back/forth slightly (my usual method), and all is well. Hopefully my fate while wearing this style will be less tragic than that of its namesake.
I’m also wearing the “RIOT” gloves and boots (L$50 for the gloves, L$60 for the boots, or $L50 for a pack of both–you tell me how that makes sense). These have fingers, so they really are gloves and not just wrist cuffs, but with their elbow-length sculptie cuffs and heavy-duty protective metal plating, maybe gauntlet is a better word.
The companion boots are similarly styled but feature dramatic overlays of heavy chain, the better to threaten your enemies with. (Boots without chains are also included, so you can indulge your mercurial whim.) Judging by the name, Gaia designed the “RIOT Wrench” and these items to go together, so shoot me–I’ve mixed and matched differently.
“The Necessities” belt (L$50) isn’t overloaded with heavy items of dubious usefulness, but you will find a combat knife, sheathed for safety, and a couple of pocket grenades. You never know when these will come in handy. The belt is provided in three different versions, but the only difference is the leather texture of the belt itself. One has jet-black leather, one has subtle shading at the edges (as shown here), and one has slightly marbled leather.
I can’t stress enough how great I think these designs are, especially considering the extremely low prices. A general observation: hair is available singly or in packs of various colors, depending on the style. If I had to make one criticism, it might be of the wildly inconsistent packaging and pricing of the different hair styles. But when I’m getting so much for so little, who am I to complain?
Remind me never again to undertake an article featering seven different ensembles–ambition is great and all, but this time I do think I went a little crazy (I blame the prices). All things considered, it took me an extra day to get the article put together, so do me a favor and try to have an extra day’s worth of fun with the stuff you buy.
All items are available at Darkstar Designs (Lions Shore 195, 114, 22).