A note from Headbuzzer: Buzzer KindredDreamHeart hosted a #NovelFashionWeek on her blog, KindredDreamHeart, where she created fashion/clothing sets based on what protagonists of YA books wear or mention wearing. Amy Christine Parker, wrote a guest post for KindredDreamHeart discussing the role of clothing - if any - in Gated!
We've crossposted some of KindredDreamHeart's post below, but be sure to visit her original post and her blog here!
End of the World Couture or Cult Chic
Fashion in my novel, GATED, has more to do with being included as part of the group overall than it does with standing out and being your own person. Lyla, my main character, has a very practical way of dressing, not necessarily because she wants to, but because she has absolutely no say in what kind of clothes that she gets to wear. Her clothing is bought in bulk at Walmart or through a mail order catalogue by the adults in her community. This means that every teenaged girl she knows has the exact same clothes as she does. On any given day, they all look exactly the same.
Lyla is unconcerned by this overall because she hasn’t given a lot of thought to her wardrobe choices or to the idea that most people have the freedom to choose their own wardrobe. She’s too wrapped up with helping to prepare for the end of the world to worry about what she’s got on. Her daily outfit consists of shorts or jeans depending on the weather and a t-shirt similar to what I’ve shown here. I’ve added her backpack because she usually has her sketchbook and colored pencils/charcoal pencils with her for drawing since it is her favorite thing to do. I’ve also included a rifle because guns are a big part of the community. They are concerned that the outside world is dangerous and that it is up to them to defend what they have against anyone who might want to take it from them, especially once the end times draw closer. Lyla wears boots like the ones here all the time because she spends a lot of time in the barn caring for her horse, Indy, working in the woodshop making furniture with the other community members (their source of income), and hiking through fields to get to the community’s shooting range for target practice.
For Lyla, life is all about survival and anything that isn’t one hundred percent practical or geared toward the goal of living through the upcoming apocalypse is inconsequential. But, there is one character—Lyla’s best friend, Marie,—who does care about the way she looks and whether or not she stands out. She is the only one in the community who alters her clothes to make them as different as possible. She uses vegetables like beets to dye her t-shirts or put colored patterns on them. Although she still has to work within the framework of jeans/t-shirts/shorts, she does whatever she can to be unique and yet similar enough to everyone else that she doesn’t anger the community leader, Pioneer.
Cult chic for Lyla and Marie and everyone else that lives in the community, is the visual definition of conformity and to what level each of them adhere to it.
This post was originally published on KindredDreamHeart on August 6th 2013.
She thought the evil lived outside the walls. She was wrong.
In the Community, life seems perfect. Lyla Hamilton believes she is one of the chosen. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pioneer invited her family to join the Community and escape the evil in the world. They've thrived under his strict, charismatic leadership.
Now seventeen, Lyla knows certain facts are not to be questioned:
Pioneer is her leader.
Will is her Intended.
The end of the world is near.
Pioneer has visions of the imminent destruction of humanity. He says his chosen must prepare to fight off the unchosen people, who will surely seek refuge in the Silo, the underground shelter where the Community will wait out the apocalypse.
Lyla loves her family and friends, but a chance encounter with an unchosen boy has her questioning Pioneer, the Community--everything. She needs time to figure out the truth. But with Pioneer's deadline for the end of days fast approaching, time is the one thing she doesn't have.