Visual AppliKEI

One of those things that we Visualists like to have as a way of expressing our elitism, is official goods. Posters and tour T-shirts seem to range in the higher levels of demand. These items are like our medals of honor. They show where we’ve been; they confirm, in a way, our devotion. In the case of Visual Kei and Jrock, of course, they also show a level of craftiness and capability, as it can be extremely difficult to get ones hands on items like this. Much of this stuff has to be purchased at goods-stands at live shows, or from the official-goods sites, where they can be extortionately expensive without adding buying-service charges (lookin’ at you, abingdon boys school). Plus, conversion rates and language barriers can create tiers of challenge unbelievable to, say, American-music fans. Yes, we are total bad-asses.

But sometimes getting your hands on the goods (literally) can be nigh impossible. And that aside, often the better way to show one’s devotion and love of a band or artist is to actually put your own creativity into it. Although it may not be as “legit” as getting an official poster or T-shirt (and of course we want to support the artist by purchasing them if possible), it can be just as rewarding to make something on your own.

In fact, in general I detest the whole idea of having to accept things because we believe we have no control over them. We lower our standards and buy the clothes we can find in the chain-stores because we think we have no other choice. Unless you have awesome skills in the sewing department, chances are that belief is probably pretty strongly ingrained. Being someone with a strict and heightened aesthetic, I have serious issues with just sucking it up and “living with it”. Nobody should do that– it’s demeaning. If you want something a certain way, you should believe that you can have it that way. And if you can’t buy it– make it. If you can’t make it– customize the living hell out of it.

Much as I wish (don’t we all) I could break out some badass sewing mastery on the spot and end up with a perfect replica of the red velvet suit Ruki is wearing on the cover of last spring’s FOOL MATE, though, that’s a bit out of my reach at this point. However, I’m not too cool as to be beyond basic home-ec, and this week I put my awesome abilities to use, and I thought I would share the finished project on here and see what you guys think of my incredible display of unforeseen capability.

I started with a basic black Visual-kei emblem bag that I usually use to carry stuff like folders and sheet-music in.

I know most people under, like, 35 would rather jump into a lake in the middle of March than admit to using appliques, but it’s actually a really simple way to customize your stuff. It requires minimal ability to wield a needle, and there are endless variations to how they can be made and used. In this case, I used swatches of denim with the dark wash facing in so the lettering would stand out brighter on the light side.

And here’s the finished product. I wrote everything by hand with a very fine-tip permanent marker…challenging the extents of my artistic ability. I’m pleased with how everything turned out, as I didn’t have to redo any of the swatches, and without using any stenciling or anything, I think the fonts came out alright. I tried to match official fonts as closely as possible, but in some cases I just sort of winged it.

The artists I used: BUCK-TICK, girugamesh, GACKT, Malice Mizer, Alice Nine, the GazettE, and D.

There are other bands I would like to add…I just didn’t want to take on too many at once because after 3 hours of stitching these things on I want to stab myself in the eye with the stupid needle and get it over with (thus the safety pins on the last one). Maybe in a couple of months I’ll feel ready to tackle adding D’espairsRay and MIYAVI.


5 responses to “Visual AppliKEI

  1. Haha, awesome! :D I especially like the GazettE one with the rose…that font is not easy to pull off! Although, I have to ask where you got your original VK bag from? ;D

    I’m not gonna lie, I’ve attempted to show my love for Visual Kei and bands in many different ways. I’m not much of sewer myself but I suppose it helps relieving the need for a customized bag/shirt/etc. that I can draw. XD

    Something that I attempted to do a while back was some window art of various band logos. I did one for Miyavi, the GazettE and LM.C but because its not so easy to do intricate work with the gel, the Miyavi and GazettE ones weren’t that great. Eventually I peeled them off my window and currently all I have left is this, lol. XD –>

    Haha, I also remember reading Asari’s blog on Vox a while back and coming across this… –>

    …it’s funny to see that all VK fans end up doing something like this. XD

    • Thanks…! When I was looking at the case, the rose looked really easy…as I started drawing it on, I became painfully aware of the fact that the last time I did any art was when I was like 12.

      Yeah, it is fun to see that a lot of fans start doing this kind of stuff after they pine for official goods long enough. XD It’s cool to see what other people do– the ideas they have, and how they execute them. Thanks for sharing that link! I’m impressed with that blogger’s case because she embroidered the logos on. I would rather impale myself on a knitting-needle than do embroidery, personally.
      Woah! your LM.C logo looks really awesome as well! It’s too bad you peeled the other ones off…

      The bag came from I also have the VK theme set of buttons from there, which are pretty cool. Most of their designs are basic, and the stuff they print on isn’t special, but it’s still cool to be able to get VK stuff.

  2. Pingback: MIYAVI Live in Boston: Merchandise « Secret Garden

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