Post Apocalyptic Clothing With Rad Roach Gear
Rad Roach Gear interview – discover a world of Postapo LARP and post apocalyptic clothing. It’s wearable art for wasteland warriors…
Think of Post Apocalyptic style and your first thoughts may be of Mad Max – or possibly Fallout 4. An amazing family of creative spirits are taking Post Apocalyptic clothing to the next level. Meet Rad Roach Gear! Named after Fallout 4’s rad roaches (with a nod to both ‘rad’ awesomeness and radiation), this shiny and chrome duo create wasteland attire and props for cosplay, LARPing and life.
Mika – credit to Freitag Fotographie
Chris – credit to Freitag Fotographie
In Europe, Postapo LARP (Live Action Role-Playing) specialises in eye-popping authentic-looking kit. When Mika (aka Sump Kidd) and Chris attended their first Postapo LARP in 2015, it was an opportunity for Chris to display the stuff he was already creating and start new projects. He began building gear for himself not long after that, specialising in weatherering materials, and building armour and prop guns. In fact, his first-ever Rad Roach Gear project was a pair of distressed pants he wears to this very day as part of his Wasteland Warriors outfit.
For Mika, that Postapo LARP in 2015 was her first real opportunity to build something post-apocalyptic. After that, she was hooked. She creates most of the Rad Roach Gear jewellery – weathered bone necklaces and the like – and handles most of the distressing techniques. Plus, she says, “I tend to sew, rather then screwing it.”
Above: Rad Roach Gear Post Apocalyptic costume and jewelery
Whether it’s Mika or Chris creating the clothing and props, Rad Roach Gear’s Post Apocalyptic clothing has a distinctively weathered look and feel. Chris calls it “postapocalyptic art that you can wear”. Mika mostly describes her Rad Roach creations as “post apocalyptic/dystopian costuming”, aiming to include aspects of fashion and character design into all her creations.
We grabbed our packs, snuck into the online desert wastes and talked to Rad Roach Gear under cover of night in their camouflaged encampment. When we asked them if they wished people wore Postapo clothing every day, their answer was a firm YES!
“To me, clothing has very much to do with emotion, imagination and creativity,” says Mika. “You can express so much through it. It would be awesome if people did it more in everyday life. For me that would be postapocalyptic/dystopian clothing but it really can be everything.”
Rad Roach Gear Raider costume: credit to Moritz Jendral Photography
Rad Roach Gear Scavenger costume: credit to Moritz Jendral Photography
Chris says that his favourite project to date is also his biggest – the Riot Gear. His trickiest project so far is the mutant outfit he’s been building for a LARP in 2017. “It will be my first time ever working with Latex. As I’m a ‘learn by doing person’, I’m looking forward to testing out some new techniques.”
Mika’s most enjoyed working on her plateau boots and motorcross helmet combo. And her trickiest project so far? “A headpiece I’m currently working on. I’ve never built one before.”
Adventurer Faith Roswell models her own Rad Roach Gear.
Follow her on Life Out There.
The creative influences for Rad Roach Gear are treasured and many. Chris has loved Postapo since he was a kid. “I saw the Wild Boys music Video by Duran Duran on TV. After that I saw Mad Max and I was hooked. Nowadays, most influences come from movies and computer games like Stalker, Metro and Fallout. I’m also inspired by artists and other crafters in the community. I tend to use the whole crafting process as a kind of therapy for my ADHD, so sometimes ideas just come to my mind and I start building.”
Mika thinks on how her creative process has evolved. When she first started, she went by what seemed logical and realistic. For example, when she started building her first LARP kits she mostly thought about how the finished result would look and what she’d need in a postapocalyptic scenario.
Rad Roach Gear wasteland attire: credit to Traumverloren
Mika’s earlier efforts were essentially ripped and dirty practical gear. “But that got boring very quickly,” says Mika. “Now I really want to create characters from different settings and I don’t pay too much attention to practicality. I basically want my costumes to tell a story”. She always develops a world around any concept design she is working on, wondering how the costume would work in the context of the world it represents. “Is there still a society? Are there mutated or alien beings? Is this world depressing or batshit? What things are left from the world we live in now? What items would be of any value?”
Mika says her creations draw on inspiration from “tribal culture, dystopia and sci-fi, fantasy and of course other Postapo movies, books and games.”
Creating a Postapo look
What’s involved in creating Postapo clothing that’s markedly different from other style subgenres?
Chris places an emphasis on distressing (the art of making material look worn and distressed) and dirt. “And repurposing normal everyday items,” he adds, “because that’s a key element that defines the overall look.”
“Mostly dirt,” agrees Mika. “Also bones, distressed fabric, bottlecaps and all kinds of metal scrap. And repurposed things, and stuff that looks like it’s been broken and repaired again. Regarding costume, I think that nearly everything can be incorporated in an outfit. It really comes down to the small things.”
Mika likes to consider colour palette, too. “Since you need to weather Postapo stuff pretty heavily it all becomes a brownish colour palette automatically! But seriously, I like to stay with natural colours (brown, green, beige, dark/rusty red) and black. Sooner or later I will try something different, though.”
Buying Rad Roach Gear Postapo clothing and accessories
Whether you want armour, jewellery, headpiecs, Postapo weaponry or anything else, follow the Rad Roach Gear Facebook page and get in touch. You can come to them with an idea that you can explore to make a reality together. As artists, Chris and Mika respect other artists and do not make direct copies of anyone else’s work. It would be like “downloading an artwork someone drew, printing it out and getting it tattooed without asking the artist,” explains Chris. “However, if someone asks to have ‘something like this’ built, I’m fair game. I really wouldn’t like to create a perfect copy of something another artist has already made.”
“Until now we didn’t sell pre-made stuff on a regular basis,” says Mika. “People just wrote to us on our Facebook-page and told us what they had in mind. I really love it when people are willing to talk about ideas and to develop a concept together – and references are also helpful sometimes. But if someone gives me complete artistic freedom I take it as a huge compliment, because it means that they trust me and that they’ve looked at my other stuff and like my style.”
Rad Roach Gear Wasteland Warrior: Credit Traumverloren
For Rad Roach Gear, no commission is too small, or too big (given enough time). If you want a necklace, that’s fine. If you want a full set of wasteland armour, that’s fine. “We look at each request invididually and always try to work something out,” says Mika. Chris won’t build anything he finds boring or uncreative, and takes the artistic freedom to produce art to his own insight. But he says, with the kind of people who approach Rad Roach Gear with an idea for something they’d like, “that has never really been a problem!”.
Top tips for making your own Postapo kit
What if you’re planning to make DIY Postapo kit? Mika and Chris have generously provided some key tips:
- Be ready to fail. If something doesn’t look right you may have to take it apart, weather and distress your gear.
- Don’t buy stuff that you may never use.
- If dirt does not show up on a photo, there’s not enough dirt on it. Costuming, like a lot of other visual media, lives through the exaggeration of certain details so that it stands out. If you do not distress your gear enough you will look like someone renovating their house rather than a postapocalyptic warrior.
- Taking a photo is a good way to see how your outfit looks from other angles and what details you still have to work on.
- Ask people whose stuff you like for feedback. They may find it easier to give constructive criticism if they see a picture rather than reading or hearing a description. In addition, you might get to know some awesome people who share the same passion for postapocalypse.
- Pay attention to wearability, not just look. You could be spending days scuzzing out in the costumes you create.
What’s playing on the Wasteland Radio?
When Mika and Chris go stomping out in full Rad Roach Gear, what are their personal soundtracks? What music do they relate to when they’re in character? They’re unanimous in their immediate reply. “Basically, everything from Die Antwoord! Nothing special besides that.”
Summing up Rad Roach Gear’s wasteland spirit in one word…
Who are Rad Roach Gear, truly? Are they wanderers? Marauders? Cult priests and priestesses? Nightmarish denizens who live beneath the ground? Which archetype best reflects their wasteland spirit?
Mika: Anything between tribal marauder and psychotic raider…
So there you have it. The grimy scavenger and the murderous wasteland everywoman. This, then, is the spirit of Rad Roach Gear – and they put that passion into every item of Postapo costume they make.
Follow Rad Roach Gear on Facebook
Follow Rad Roach Gear on Facebook and you can see what they’re up to at any time. You’re always welcome to talk about commissions, too. If you want to meet them in person, the 2017 LARPs they plan to attend include Junktown in the Czech Republic and Dust Monkeys – The World Went Dark (UK).
Before we wave a fond farewell, our deep thanks for Rad Roach Gear for taking the time to give us a glimpse into their filthy postapo world of wonder.
Post Apocalyptic Artists and Community
One more thing. Want to further explore the world of Post Apocalyptic clothing, cosplay and art? Rad Roach Gear have come up with shoutouts to a number of amazing creatives:
- Mika aka SumpKid on Instagram @sumpkid
- Dust Monkey – https://www.facebook.com/Dust-Monkey
- Wasteland Pirate – https://www.facebook.com/WastelandPirate
- Nerf Gunstmith – https://www.facebook.com/nerfgunsmith
- Radioactive Armory – https://www.facebook.com/RadioactiveArmory
- Toecutters Union Trading Co. – https://www.facebook.com/tcutradingco
- Vulture Productions – https://www.facebook.com/wastelandvultures
- Jaded Jewall – https://www.facebook.com/jaded.jewall
- Mia Shinda – https://www.facebook.com/Mia-Shinda
- Phonix Distortions – https://www.facebook.com/phoenix.distortions
- Moritz Jendral Photography – https://www.facebook.com/MoritzJendralFotografie
- Deadbeard Props – https://www.facebook.com/deadbeardprops
- Fubar Props – https://www.facebook.com/FUBARprops
- Raptobot – https://www.facebook.com/raptobot/
- Freitag Fotografie – https://www.facebook.com/FreitagFotografie
- Dorgmal Snow – https://www.facebook.com/dorgmal