Designing ‘skeleton outfits’ posed a unique challenge for the costume team on the Fallout show: ‘We dressed skeletons left and right,’ says costume designer Amy Westcott in a recent interview with PC Gamer.

As I watched the Fallout series, I couldn’t help but wonder who was responsible for outfitting all the Environmental Storytelling Skeletons—was it a props thing or a costumes thing? According to Westcott, the costume department took charge of “putting together all sorts of skeleton outfits,” even during shoots in the Namib Desert. The attire of these skeletons varied depending on factors such as how long they had been decaying and the circumstances that led to their skeletal state.

The portrayal of time’s effects in Fallout’s post-apocalyptic USA isn’t always consistent, but it’s a nuanced process involving bombs, radiation, maintenance inconsistencies, and video game conventions—all influencing the decay levels of items in the Wasteland. Westcott explains that her team conducted extensive research to determine how best to age each garment.

For instance, when designing Lucy’s wedding dress, they considered the generations that had worn it before her and speculated on its post-wear fate. “As you put it on, you get oils from your fingers in certain places,” Westcott noted. “So, it was all about simulating real-life scenarios.”

In the Wasteland, they pondered over what would become of textiles left in boxes for centuries or exposed to relentless sun. “If they stumbled upon an old jeans warehouse, they might look new initially, but perhaps they’ve been here so long that they’ve undergone various transformations—what would they look like, and how would people utilize them?” Westcott mused. “It was a cascading effect of discovery, appearance, and subsequent usage.”

While the costume team exercised some artistic freedom—such as the Ghoul’s cowboy costume surviving 200 years of rough use in the Wasteland—it added a whimsical touch. “I didn’t even notice he was still wearing his pre-bomb attire until it was pointed out to me, and that was the intention,” Westcott concluded.

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