Despite being the main character of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey has been very absent from most of Hasbro’s tie-in merchandise. They’ve had every sort of excuse for that from saying they didn’t want to reveal spoilers than she was important (heaven forbid people learn a WOMAN is a main character in a franchise) to that the toy set in question didn’t need her. Right.
Not only is she the main character, she’s a fierce young woman who is strong, independent, and relatable. She’s a great role model for children and adults alike and she’s been inspiring more than one girl who has exclaimed in joy at seeing a woman kick ass on screen. You hardly need me to tell you this.
Sites had to go out of their way to find Rey merchandise. This shouldn’t have to happen, but at least the internet has the ability. Consequently you can find such a list here.
Hasbro promised more toys in the future after #WheresRey gained traction online. The hashtag came about as people, especially young girls, realized they couldn’t find any Rey merchandise in stores. Female action figures and toys from films are notoriously underrepresented and you’d think with how big Star Wars was that Hasbro would capitalize on the fact people would want Rey merchandise. But apparently not because… boobs.
The latest, and perhaps largest, outcry came from Rey being excluded form the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Monopoly edition that was released. There was no Rey figurine but there was a Darth Vader piece… who isn’t even in The Force Awakens.
Fans took to twitter and Facebook in annoyance, anger, and exhaustion to chide Hasbro for omitting her. They came back saying they didn’t want to reveal her as being important enough to the movie, which is an excuse that is both hysterically idiotic and telling of how much Hasbro doesn’t think people want female merchandise. I could continue ranting about this, but the power of social media has spared you because #WheresRey has worked.
I was sorely tempted to just write a thousand words on my immense Star Wars feelings, but the last thing the world needs at the moment is yet another Star Wars review. In short, I loved it to pieces and beyond and I cannot properly express my delight that the largest film at the moment (and possibly of all time if projections are correct) stars a woman, a black man, and a Hispanic man. Like… that’s amazing, and how much I reacted to Rey and how empowered and happy I was after my now two viewings of The Force Awakens speaks volumes of the importance of representation in media. Especially epic franchise media. Also BB-8 is the cutest and purest thing in the world and I NEED ONE.
But that’s what I’ll say about Star Wars. Perhaps in the new year I will solidify my own theories about who is what and what is going to happen, etc. In the new year a lot of things will be happening. And that’s why I’m going to take a step back for the rest of the year.
I’ve been trying to find out my place in time and space the past few weeks, most in terms of work and thinking about what I really want for the future. I think I have a plan and I’ll know better before the end of January. But for now I am going to decompress.
There’s only a few days of 2015 left and as always, tis the time of contemplation. 2015 was good to me more or less: I became a member of the Baker Street Irregulars, I graduated with a master’s degree, I got a job on-air in radio, I did the Mongol Rally and drove across 17 countries in 33 days, I raised a bunch of money for charity through various events, and I actually get paid to write things now with a fantastic group of people. 2015 was very good, but I want 2016 to be great. I want to take what this past year has given me and apply it to my future. I want to create again, I want to save money, I want to keep exploring, and I want to be excited.
I want to keep going.
This morning on my show I told people to get a head start on their New Year’s resolutions, to start now instead of waiting. If you’ve already got something in your mind, just take that step in the moment. Don’t wait. If you wait it’s less likely you’re going to do it. Find a way to do it now. I started. You should too. No matter what it is. Do it now. I realize a lot of this is quite cryptic, but that’s because my plans aren’t 100% set in stone. Also I’m down and out with a cold sinus-y… thing so nothing totally makes sense at the moment. But what I am clear of is that we are all responsible for our own destinies as it were. Things can knock us down, drag us down even, but we have to push ourselves and make the choice to keep going and to go forward. Sometimes we’ll have friends, old and new, that will inspire us. Sometimes we have to chart that journey alone. So whether you’re Finn, afraid and unsure, or courageous Poe, or Rey, independent, brave, and yet still wary… know that you have it in you to do whatever you want to do. It may take awhile, but the journey has to start somewhere.
So May the Force Be With You (and also with you… you can leave the church but damned if that phrase will never leave you), and come on 2016… I’ve got expectations of you.
Swarovski crystals. French lace. And more feathers than the fanciest of birds.
These are just some of the defining features of Jakarta born Alston Stephanus’ fashion designs. In 2005 this creative young man created his own accessories company, redefining what Indonesian fashion was through mixing Victorian glamour with traditional Javanese Keraton. It’s nature and wildlife with elegance and a touch of whimsy, and it’s 100% Alston.
And what’s particularly amazing is that he never attended any sort of fashion school, his training all done on his own out of sheer determination. And a great deal of skill.
So how did Alston Stephanus Accessories get started? Alston says he “…was first drawn to fashion from [his] family, which gradually progressed into dressing up [his] friends for their special events like prom.” His hobby continued to grow and grow until he realized he needed to take the next step, so he created his “own accessories company based on what [he] loved to do. Connecting the animation world to reality by using unusually different materials to make accessories has always been a source of inspiration…”
With ten years of success behind him now, it’s hard to choose just one thing to be proud of. However, when it comes down to it, what he’s taken away from the previous decade is both humbling and powerful.
“I am proudest of the fact that I can present a fantasy interpretation of my motherland culture, Indonesia, for the world to see.”
On a world stage that is so dominated by high end European fashion, the fact Alston can, in some way, highlight the rich culture and creativity of Indonesia is wonderful. It’s an exploration of an aesthetic not as well known, and his pioneering is to be commended. One of his muses is Dewi Sri, the Indonesian Rice Goddess. Her elaborate headpieces and representation of the harvest and nature is clearly seen throughout a lot of his work, and the fact Alston can and does use traditional Indonesian lore and is being celebrated for it is quite significant in the fashion world.
And on the flip side of all that, Alston Stephanus is “…also very proud that [he] can break out of the norm from the Indonesian fashion industry.” And this stems from his involvement in the world of burlesque, cabaret, cosplay, and the circus… which is a pretty far cry from the pageant stage. Though perhaps it’s not so great a leap, given his passion for the sublime and playful. “My projects within these interests have been the most satisfying.” And it’s not hard to see why.His work in Indonesia is lauded, especially as he’s the official designer of the magnificent crowns and accessories for the Miss Tourism Indonesia pageant as well as Miss Earth Indonesia, whose outfit was inspired by Ibu Pertiwi, the national personification of Indonesia. The latter came about because of his collaboration with high-end haute couture designer Rusly Tjohnardi Atelier to create the best National costume in Asia for the Miss Earth 2013 pageant, as worn by Indonesia’s Nita Sofiani.
Alston’s Keraton inspired Queen Amidala costume was 1 of 15 selected to compete in the “Best of Star Wars” category at the Disney D23 Expo Costume Competition. In addition he designed a high fashion Darth Vader for The Masterpiece Strikes Back: A Fashion Exploration last year. But I’ll have more on that when the force strikes back in December ;).
Finn from Adventure Time
Steampunk Genderbent Harley Quinn
His cosplay portfolio is one to be admired, not only for the amazing pieces he’s created, but for the vision and re-creation, especially with his Maleficent and R2D2/Megaman. It’s good to know that nerds are everywhere. You can find more of his cosplay photos on his instagram.
From heroic myths to fantastical fairy tales, Alston’s inspiration is drawn from anything and everything whimsical; be it from nature, science fiction, anime, comics, or fantasy.
So what is his ultimate goal? “My vision for the Alston Stephanus Accessories brand would be to design accessories for something along the lines of the Star Wars films, or American Horror Story, Grim, Once Upon A Time, Game of Thrones, and The Librarians. Anything with a sense of fantasy and fairytale.” And he’s well on his way to doing that.
Luc Besson’s upcoming sci-fi project Valerian and The City of A Thousand Planets is holding a costume design contest and Alston is hard at work creating the perfect entry for this sci-fi odyssey. So what’s the challenge?
“Designers are asked to create a piece that could be worn by a human, alien, humanoid or any other intergalactic creature you can think of. The scene for which you are designing will take place at a political cocktail party inside a space station called Alpha and the year is 2580. Designers are encouraged to get inspired by the video to the right and read more about the costume specifications and film below.” [Source]
Twenty designers will be chosen by Filmmaker Luc Besson, Editor in Chief of Yahoo Style Joe Zee and Valerian Costume Designer Olivier Bériot. Those twenty will receive a $1,000 prize and might just have their design created and worn by actors in the film.
Least to say, Alston is more than excited about the contest that could put him one step closer to his dream of designing for film. He says that it would, of course, be amazing to win, but there’s also many possibilities that could come from his design. He’s just happy to be creating. And so are we, because we have exclusive illustrations and photos of his contest entry!
“My design is inspired from a Javanese knight.” In keeping with his roots, Javanese culture has been a hallmark of Alston’s work since the beginning. And it’s that same muse, Dewi Sri, that has inspired his design. From the headpiece that is inspired by grass and rice fields (Dewi Sri is the Goddess of Rice) to the body of the design that represents “Ray of Light” (she protects against hunger, hence sun to make the harvest grow), it’s frankly, rather stunning. And more importantly, rich in culture.
“I’m making a female version of the traditional armor and bringing in a sense of nature as well.” This costume is his version of royalty at war and will include full metal works in the skirt. The shoulder piece is even based off traditional Wayang armor. It’s appropriate for Valerian because it is definitely out of this world.
In the end, this might of fashion ingenuity wants to “make Alston Stephanus Accessories not just a brand, but also a lifestyle.” From wearable pieces of art to ingenious cosplay to movie worthy design, I daresay he’ll make it.