Final Fantasy XIV is certainly one of the most successful MMORPGs in the market, and now it has its very own fashion magazine.
One of the most relevant indicators of the success of an MMORPG is often the content and entertainment that players create for themselves. No persistent game can hold its fanbase engaged by developer-driven content alone, but a strong community will find ways to bridge the gap between updates with its own creativity.
The Fashionista is an example of that concept, being a fashion scene-driven community centered around in-game style (which in Final Fantasy XIV is called” glamour”), photography, housing, and related topic.
Recently, under the leadership of editor-in-chief Faye, editor and manager Skeffi, and another player named Slate (working on quality assurance), that scene has generated a full-fledged fashion magazine, indeed named The Fashionista.
While at first glance the magazine could appear similar to Eorzea Collection, that Square Enix publishes only in Japan, this is much more than a pictorial catalog of the game’s clothing items.
If you browse the pages of The Fashionista you can see the kind of curation and creativity that you could find in real-world fashion publications, applied to a game world that its authors obviously love.
The birth of this kind of community and project (with which you can interact yourself via Discord) shouldn’t be surprising to those familiar with Final Fantasy XIV.
Many say that Glamours have become the “true endgame,” with crafted cosmetic-only items selling for vast amounts of Gil (FFXIV’s currency) on the Market Board.
In-game photography has also become a very widespread and beloved hobby, with players spending hours upon hours testing angles and camera settings to achieve that perfect shot.
To know more about the magazine and this growing fashion scene, we talked with Faye, Skeffi, and Slate themselves.
Giuseppe: First of all, can you talk about how the idea behind The Fashionista was born, and how did it evolve into its current form?
Faye: This is all based around the figurehead “The Fashionista,” A character I made once for a music video for a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu song. I really wanted to come up with something wild to match her style so I needed something gothic and quickly slapped together this look and glamour… and people appeared to love it and it just stuck!
Originally she wasn’t called The Fashionista but was my in-game character ‘Faye’ but I felt like I wanted to add a bit of lore to her and make her something more than just my character, but a character people could relate to and love.
We recently brought out the magazine issue #2 and we couldn’t be happier, Skeffi (my Partner) was originally the one who convinced me to create a magazine. We thought it would be a fantastic idea and place for us to express our creativity but also do something fun together. We started out as a duo with issue #1, but have quickly grown with issue #2 to have a team of seven working on the magazine.
Slate: Like many others, I joined after Issue #1. I think with all the others we have done a lot of improvement on issue #2 and did a lot with the feedback we received from issue #1.
I think we are all very proud of where it’s all going at the moment with everyone’s effort and have a lot of new stuff prepared for Issue #3.
Giuseppe: The magazine appears to be made with a professional eye. Do you have a professional background in Fashion or publishing or are you learning by doing?
Faye: I don’t actually! I just downloaded InDesign and used Google to answer any questions I had if I got stuck.
I take inspiration from fashion magazines such as Vogue for their arty, contrasty designs and try to infuse that with a little bit of my quirky humor to add a little bit of myself into my work.
I thought it would be different and interesting if the characters had their own personalities so I do have the challenge of having to write in different styles and try to make different designs to match the character who is on the page.
Take Auclair, she is French and a self-proclaimed fashion Goddess, I tried to make her look quite egotistical and proud of what she does.
I complimented her article design to be that of what you could expect in a fashion magazine, very clean, sophisticated, and having full focus on the glamour. Whereas you have Ninki the lalafell who is very loud, childish, and takes no care in writing, so I followed suit with that design.
Skeffi: I have no experience actually, I do learn quite quickly and find it fun to create content in general (videos/music/pictures/magazines). I think since I started working with Faye on the magazine we’ve learned more about it and we’re getting better and better at it.
Slate: I do have a professional background, but they do the designs and I just look them over for errors or corrections and give suggestions as an attempt to make the design better.
Skeffi: Which has improved our designs as well quite a bit! Haha!
Giuseppe: How do you select the pictures that appear in The Fashionista?
Skeffi: For the articles that I do, I spend a lot of time looking at Instagram and Discord with our Hashtags #FFXIVFashionista and #30DaysFashionista to choose our favorite screenshots so we can feature those in the magazine!
We want the community to feel and be involved. We see so many talented people every single day on our discord and on Instagram, we try to get as many people in the magazine as possible!
We look at the quality, creativity, and vision behind the pictures made, it’s amazing how everybody has different views and styles.
Faye: For my articles (picture wise) I really think it’s important to make the content feel natural, alive, and classy. For community stuff, we generally like to showcase people who really have gone the extra mile with effort for their picture and not necessarily those who use Reshade or other tools to stand out, but the actual way they express themselves.
For artists, content creators, and people who have something really cool and interesting going on in the community, I will task at the start of each month Slate, Shizaho & Beardo to collaborate in talent scouting. Ideally, we want to go for people who are really creative but may not get the attention they deserve.
Giuseppe: How much work goes into creating one issue?
Faye: A lot of time and energy. I would say roughly non-stop 16 hour days from myself until release. It’s not really something I see as work, but something that really is a cool activity I and Skeffi can do together.
We are both very creative and it really is fun to bounce off one another and include the team in that process.
For the first half of the month, we will put out feelers for artists, content creators, and interesting things going on in the community.
I and Skeffi will start brainstorming ideas with the team for articles just to see if it will stick. Once we’re set on something we’ll begin writing, we usually set a cut off day for the 15th of the month and that is when we’ll start layout design.
I’ll keep updating the team with early design concepts throughout until the final part of the month with Slate giving his opinion on some things that just don’t work. We do like to finish at least three days before release day, which is usually the 30th of each month.
This way it can allow us time to polish out mistakes, re-arrange the flow of the magazine by moving articles and grammar checking.
Skeffi: Actually quite a bit! I’ve started already on issue 3, and making preparations design-wise. This is almost a full-time job and I love every single second of it.
I am really grateful for my mods and the rest of the staff with us who take care of our discord and contacting sources for articles while we work on the main design, layout, and writing. I spend about 10+ hours a day when working on the magazine, and do a lot of all-nighters as well.
Faye: It really is a passion project for all of us and the perfect platform for us to express that.
Slate: I think, including the time dedicated by the staff, it’s a lot of time. I feel like there is always someone doing something every hour of the day for the magazine.
Skeffi: I completely agree!
Giuseppe: What are the main tools you use for the photoshoots you create for The Fashionista?
Skeffi: We mostly use ReShade and Photoshop/GIMP for the shots. I love doing post-production work when I make a picture, just to get that little extra out of it. In our last issue, we’ve used a greenscreen a lot, actually.
Faye: We use Reshade for the most part. For me, I use custom-made presets for studio, outdoors, and glamour photography. For photoshoots, I generally use a greenscreen backdrop which is built into my preset and export that picture into Photoshop to cut backgrounds out and add a little bit of clarity.
As you’re probably aware I do use CMTool to make custom poses for the glamour articles so it has that feel of an actual fashion magazine.
Giuseppe: Glamours and photography have become extremely popular among the FFXIV community. I’ve had friends legitimately disappear from other aspects of the game like dungeons and raiding to spend hours getting just the right shot. What do you think is so appealing about this?
Skeffi: For me, it has mostly been photography, I started actually making pictures in games as far back as The Sims 2 and continuing this on in every single other game I played.
I always used Photoshop and the tools provided by the game (it was extremely hard in World of Warcraft!). I enjoy expressing myself through pictures, but also movies.
I think the appeal of creating pictures in-game is a very personal one, and everybody will have their reasons! I put my heart into them and show my passion or my emotions in them. It’s a creative outlet. It feels satisfying to put something I feel in a picture.
Faye: I think the appeal of taking pictures is just having fun, I myself started out GPosing (don’t judge me, I’m not strange… well only a little.) by taking AFK pictures of my free company mates while standing with them doing a thumbs up gesture.
Later on, I’d surprise them with my quirky pictures. It’s absolutely great to see that it is an ever-growing community. People are inspiring others with their dramatic screenshots or combining their love for glamour and showcasing that just as we are doing.
We’re even seeing Instagram superstars from the Final Fantasy community which are becoming well known for their screenshot quality.
I do feel Reshade is a part of what inspires people to take up their GPose game to the next level.
The reason being: from a newcomer’s perspective it raises the graphic fidelity beyond what you’re used to seeing in-game.
Slate: I think, generally speaking, for the community FFXIV is a world to escape to.
Like we use other social media in real life as well for pictures, this gets done as well by FFXIV players only with their characters.
I just love looking at what creative ideas other people can come up with, as much as I love to express my own creativity in my pictures. I think the communities created for GPose are a very good place for people who want to express these creativities!
Giuseppe: Am I the only one who is weirded out by the fact that GPose isn’t simply called photo mode like in every other game?
Skeffi: Haha! honestly, I thought it was the same as “change pose” and had no clue what it meant at the start. When I figured out it was to make pictures… yes. I was still confused by the name.
Faye: Haha! I just laughed out loud. I remember when someone actually said to me for the first time “Do you want to GPose with me?” I remember thinking: what?! I honestly thought it was something unsafe for work.
Slate: Wasn’t it ‘Group Pose’? I’m not even sure myself anymore.
Skeffi: Yes it’s Group Pose. It was practically posing together as a group!
Faye: I have something to admit, actually… when I first started GPosing, I did it literally for 6 months and didn’t realize there was a GPose menu.
Skeffi: Since you can freeze the game and stop people as they pose… it makes sense the longer you think about it, but on first glance?… Haha!
Slate: Yes. We’re trying to deal with Fey every day. It gets better bit by bit.
Giuseppe: Speaking of Group Pose, we’re soon getting stickers, but it could certainly be improved. Are there features that you’d like to see added by Square Enix?
Skeffi: I would love it if they could add more features like changing the time of day manually or Slow motion, just to get that perfect shot!
Or a more advanced Zoom in and Zoom out. When they introduced that you could remove yourself/others/pets/minions from the picture in GPose, I thought that was amazing!
I think there are a lot of little quality of life changes that could be made to GPose itself. I don’t think stickers are the answer, but I do feel it’s a cute little addition.
Fey: There are some really important features I’d love to see in GPose. The ability to change the weather and time of day at will while in GPose especially for people who really want to capture that beautiful sunrise for a romantic screenshot or have a dark edgy picture with a lightning strike in the background.
I think for people who really enjoy capturing action shots it would really help to have the ability to slow down battle actions or even normal pose animations as some of them are really too quick to capture. Also, the ability to place your character in the world as if you would move a furniture item around in your home.
Slate: To add to that, being able to move the characters to a small extent would help people with creating their pictures a lot. In this regard, it’s just not user friendly, since you need to keep going out and in of GPose to keep moving the characters until they’re in the right spot.
Giuseppe: Glamours have pretty much become the true endgame for many FFXIV players, so much that Square Enix has made outfits to be used for that sole purpose into one of its most popular prize categories for certain gameplay features, not to mention some of the most sought-upon crafted items. What do you think of the outfit designs provided by the game from a fashion perspective? Is there anything you think is missing?
Slate: I think the recent glamour (the crafted battle gear) felt very good for a lot of people of FFXIV. People didn’t only buy these outfits to get their item level up, but also for how the glamour looked like.
It was very steampunk and I think a wide audience loves this kind of glamour.
I think SE is trying to do its best to do a combination of more modern glamour with the battle gear glamour, but it feels a bit like that the demands for new glamour are bigger than what SE can produce at the moment.
For example, the rebel coat is something a lot of people still use, including me and another staff member, the indigo shirt was also something a lot of people liked and still used.
I think they’re going the right way with the new glamour, but the demand from the community seems a bit overwhelming.
Faye: I’m actually really pleased that they are recently considering more people who do take glamour seriously, especially those who like more realistic and casual appearances.
It actually makes it so much easier to come up with more glamours to match these new items that are being added.
When I see upcoming glamours being shown, like for example the new 5.3 stuff, I’ll look at the individual parts instead of the full picture and that is when my inner glamour nerd starts frothing at the mouth.
I’ll start considering all the combinations and colors that I can put together. I would have to agree with Slate and say that the demand for new glamours is most certainly overwhelming and I feel that is why some turn to mods to get their fix.
Giuseppe: Player-driven content is often a strong driver for the success of a MMORPG. Things like roleplay or in your case the creation of a fashion scene can help ferry players over through the slow periods between updates. Do you have any ideas on how Square Enix could solidify support for this kind of activity?
Faye: I know that SE has had some previous events featuring screenshot contests, and I think those really help! I think in-between updates they could do small releases of items (Housing items or tiny glamours, like a shirt).
There are a lot of tiny things they are already doing, for example, the last “Play with the community team” meetup in Europe. and you see so many people showing up all wanting to play with them and putting on glamours for the screenshot in the end of it!
I think SE really does a good job at engaging with us as players!
Slate: I feel like what they are adding every big patch has something for every audience.
What I already noticed before Coronavirus is that people are patiently waiting, but after the second month, almost every sort of player (casual to hardcore) has seen the new content multiple times and want a new set of content. I guess adding things like relic weapons for grinding can help certain players.
It’s hard to find a solution since they would need more manpower in their team to fulfill all the players’ wishes, but small things like an extra extreme trail to grind for mount/gear/relic weapon materials or a 4-man extreme dungeon(s) for exclusive items would be a solution.
It’s just that the last month or two months before the new patch people take a break from the game. I think the answer depends on every player, but it’s either more content to enjoy spread out over a patch a bit better or faster releases of the patches.
Faye: I think SE could help these communities by hosting events like glamour competitions with a certain theme each the month, I know for sure that would get the community engaged.
Possibly even officially endorsing some of these communities, showing they support and believe in what these people create.
There is one theater group which is absolutely brilliant who do re-tellings and act out in-game some of Shakespeare’s works.
I think SE really do engage with the player base well, especially the community team, but maybe they could partner up with some of these communities to do an event collaboration. That would be really cool!
Giuseppe: Given Yoshida-san’s recent statement about mods, how do you think it influences the fashion scene in Final Fantasy XIV, and does it impact it in any way? Do you think Square Enix has ways to encourage community creativity without compromising its stance too much?
Faye: Honestly, I think modding should be removed. I think with CMTools people are using mods to express themselves creatively in screenshots, but it may have become a huge problem for Square Enix, because it’s getting to the point where you can search #ffxiv on Instagram and you will rarely find an unmodded picture.
It’s quite a misrepresentation of the game and making it the mainstream norm to mod your game. Quite a few can also take it too far and spoil the fun with NSFW modifications.
I think there are a few modders out there doing a lot of good for the community like HD upscales of body textures, Vanilla costumes, hair, nails, and makeup.
With this in mind, I don’t know how things are for a game developer, but I do know that Yoshi is probably doing his best with the resources he has at his disposal. I think people would be happier if we had more cosmetics and probably a texture overhaul of vanilla hair, and some of the costumes look really poor close up too.
Slate: I think the biggest issue with mods is the 18+ content which could cause the game to be banned in some countries.
Square Enix is put in the position of literally having to tell people not to use mods and that it’s not allowed in its game just to protect themselves in those countries, which in my opinion, was the best thing to do.
Skeffi: I am going to agree with Faye on this, I think modding should be removed from any MMORPG. I understand modding in a single-player game as usually there are more elastic rules about this and often endorsed by the developers themselves.
However, in this case, I think it takes away from the experience of what the game has to offer as a whole. I would love to see more improvements on the graphical side of the game though, like the overall textures in the world (grass, flowers, etc.) and just smoothing those little things out as mentioned by Faye. HD Upscales of textures, mainly the hands, scales, nails, hair, or make-up.
Giuseppe: To conclude, is there anything else you’d like to add?
Faye: We would really like to thank our community for their hard work and support. Without their support, we couldn’t have done it.
Also, the present staff right now has done a lot for us, for the magazine. and on the side. I’m super proud of them for everything they do.
We would also like to add that we’ll be adding interviews in issue #3 with some well-known streamers and content creators. We love the game and I hope you all will keep enjoying our magazine!
Final Fantasy XIV is currently available for PlayStation 4 and PC. Incidentally, a few days we learned from Square Enix that monthly subscribers are continuing to grow.