What to Wear: Dystopia Rising Fashion Tips

Have you ever gone camping? Have you ever attended even one Dystopia Rising event? If you have, you’ll know that Mother Nature isn’t kind when it comes to clothing. Brambles, branches and rocks rip and tear fabric. Dirt smears your shirt and food stains your jeans. But after hanging out in the woods for a weekend, you can go home and wash your clothes, leaving them smelling fresh and looking like new (sort of).

Now, imagine if you didn’t have that luxury. There are no washers or dryers in the apocalypse, after all. There are only tubs full of water where you can scrub your clothes—or maybe a nearby stream or lake. You won’t be washing your clothes every day, either—maybe not even every two weeks. And making new clothes is a long, arduous process—so it’s not likely you’ll be sporting (and repairing) the same clothes for a while.

If you haven’t guessed already, this week’s post is about how to make your clothing a bit more genre appropriate for the apocalypse. With a little time and effort, you can turn your character’s outfit into something grungy and utterly amazing for a Dystopia Rising game.

Sasha Gubanov, a player at the Dystopia Rising New Jersey game, knows this better than anyone. He's been experimenting with different ways to distress his character’s clothing for a while now—and his results are impressive. The clothing looks worn and tattered while still holding up to the elements.

“I’ll focus on areas that tend to see a lot of dirt or high friction,” said Gubanov. “I try to think about the character and what they would do. For example, the bottom front hem of Ynk’s shirt would probably be used to wipe the pen nibs if he’s changing them out, so I try to have darker stains along that line to simulate ink, and sometimes I’ve used actual ink to stain areas where some might have spilled.”

But how exactly does he create the dirty, worn look? He learned a lot from Nuclear Snail Studios, which posts videos about how to make clothing look like it’s from the apocalypse. Yet Gubanov has also put his own spin on things—especially when it comes to the dirt effect seen on his character’s clothing.

“The dirt effect is one I learned from watching the Nuclear Snail videos. Although I’ve taken out a step just because the weather hasn’t really made it easy,” said Gubanov. “I use black acrylic paint and sometimes brown and white as well (in the case of the pants). The process—to make it easier for me to clean up—is I’ll use nitrile gloves, spread a bit of paint onto them and then randomly ball up clothing and ‘pinch’ and grab at the clothing that needs to get dirtied up.”

There’s not just dirt involved in clothing, though. Remember to add rips and tears in the clothing. Use sandpaper or (if you really want to get rough) a file to help distress the clothing further. Also try undoing hems and stitching your clothing with course thread. Add patches over time, as well. With just a little bit of effort, you can get that worn, beat-up look for your costume.

Want more tips and tricks? Dystopia Rising has its own crafting group on Facebook where you can show off your costume, or ask for advice. You can also check out the Dystopia Rising Pinterest board for some costuming ideas.

See you in the apocalypse!