If you fell into the endless scrolling of TikTok like we did, then it’s likely that your algorithm sorted itself out pretty darn quick. It didn’t take long for me to find my way onto #renfairetiktok. From there it was easy to find many of the folks I know and love from our own dear ORF, as well as a couple of people from other festivals.
In the meantime, I’ve been thrilled to discover that our community has expanded in unexpected ways. People took the opportunity to explore their rich, inner lives during the last year. This has resulted in a bumper crop of creative impulses that have developed into some stunning characters and trends that I hope will come into play for the ORF 2021 season. If you haven’t spotted these trends on the For You Page, give them a shot and explore things for yourself. You may be stunned at what you discover!
10: Quincy’s Tavern
This wonderful persona has stolen my heart. Their videos take place in a peaceful tavern where any roaming adventurer can stop by for a fresh drink, a delicious meal, some local gossip, or a profitable quest! Quincy has put a lot of hard work into making these videos a moment of escape where you can watch them brew a potion or offer a bit of wisdom. Quincy has inspired many other Tiktokers to craft their own personas for viewers to engage with. It’s like exploring an online realm full of NPC’s, which reminds me a lot of meeting cast characters at ORF!
Take a deep breath. Now imagine yourself living life to the fullest in a rich brocade corset with yards upon yards of tulle cascading behind you as you rush through the royal gardens with your sword drawn to defend your house against the invading army. If you had no trouble picturing this at all, then you need to check out the #royalcore trend and start living your best life! Roaylcore is all about embracing the luxury you deserve and being unafraid to go grocery shopping in your best gown and crown. I already know a lot of us adore dressing up for faire so I’d be shocked if I didn’t see more people turning up in head-to-toe royalty garb in 2021.
Unstoppable, unflappable, and unbearably hilarious, Embrenn took over with her ornery princess persona. But don’t be fooled by her rosy cheeks and fashionable gowns, this damsel comes with her own line of defense tucked into her sleeves. Portraying a somewhat off-beat yet lovable medieval princess, she encourages her viewers to act with confidence while embracing the absurd in life. Beware, not all of her videos are ‘family-friendly’ (some naughty language may appear), but she is a ton of fun to watch and you will find yourself envying her crown collection!
You could easily put these fungal fellows in with the fae folk we all know and love, but mushrooms have taken over tiktok in a big way! It started off with the Mushroom Dance gaining in popularity, followed by hundreds of people with a crafting area in their house and a lot of restless energy. Put that all together and you get a bunch of people dressing up like living mushrooms in order to “attract themselves a cute fairy girlfriend.” Unsurprisingly they can also be found in the #fairycore grouping if tiktok, so don’t be shocked if we see a bunch of these delightful garbs cropping up along with the usual satyrs and pixies over the next season.
Do you like watching people in full armor beat the living blight out of one another in rigorous combat? Then you need to follow this wonderful woman! She, along with many others, practice armored combat on a competitive level. This allows for some ferocious videos along with her taking time out to explain a few of the finer points to newcomers and the curious. You get to see the friendships behind the scenes along with training techniques and just how much fun these people have bludgeoning one another senseless. If you love watching the jousters or stunt performers at ORF, you’re sure to get a kick by following her and the other #armoredcombat videos.
Take #fairycore, paint it black, and give it a bunch of shiny clacking rocks. You have the start of a good #goblincore character! Goblincore folks tie in with the fae, but lean a lot more towards the unseelie side of things with their sharp teeth and fascination for collecting dead things. But they add a delightful touch of the macabre to your scrolling when you pop across them. I’ve seen a lot of fun personas cropping up with this charming tag and it goes without saying that I hope to see more of them around the lanes. I may even have a few ideas of my own!
Dungeons and Dragons never truly goes out of style, but it’s safe to say that it blew up in the last year! Online players found ways to continue their campaigns or arrange one-shots through sites like Roll20, Zoom, and Discord. On top of this, many chose to chronicle their adventures through tiktok by sharing their characters, showing off their campaign journal, or giving a quick “What your class/race main says about you” vids. I found map makers, dice creators, mini builders, and all sorts of creatives under the #dungeonanddragons tag! Once ORF opens up for events, I would love to see LARPers coming out in full character cosplay for a quest in the park! There are plenty of ways to tie an outing into a campaign, including the Viking Trade, Wench Collecting, and more!
“You bring the corsets, we’ll bring the cinches. No one wants a waist over ~9 Inches~!” If you got into Six the Musical, then you know that song. But that is only the beginning. Corsetry has taken over in a big way with everything from first-time buyers to highly skilled seamstresses ‘sewing’ off! A lot of us have found that a good, stable corset offers more structure than our usual undergarments, and that goes for folks of any gender. Male corseting is making a comeback for a very svelte look, and I am finding more and more people pairing their corsets, bodices, and stays with modern clothing to make some original fashions. I wouldn’t be surprised to find more corseted people at faire this year. Just remember to take your measurements properly and work up to it slowly!
Looking for a Rennie to give you the lowdown before your first faire? This is the person to check out. He does a wonderful job of giving simple explanations to some of the weird and wonderful things that go on at a festival, as well as some warm-hearted takes on faire culture from both sides of the gate. He includes topics like “What your Ren Faire Costume Says About You”, “Gender-neutral Pronouns for Faire”, and “What is Pub Crawl?” He is one of many faire workers that put themselves out on tiktok, so if you follow him you are sure to find more. Maybe even a few you know!
1: Birates, Vikings, and Black Fae Day, Oh My!
No matter what group of faire you fall into, tiktok has an algorithm for you! #birates ended up a tag early on, promoting exclusivity and awareness by utilizing this tag to talk about the undeniable appeal of boarding a ship and devoting your life to sailing the seas and raiding merchant’s vessels. The #viking tag swept through like a storm, bringing out Nordic culture and Norse pagans alike to help celebrate the immense diversity created through Viking trading and raiding as far as Northern Africa and even the Americas. Most recently there was a magnificent explosion of #blackfaeday, promoting the beauty of the black fairy community and diversity in fantasy from satyrs to pixies in tea parties.
It’s clear that the faire community is alive and well, continuing to expand through all avenues and helping to bring people together through our desire to share this unique way of life with one another. Every week brings us closer and closer to the start of events of Renaissance Parks, and I hope to see some of these trends make an appearance at the festival.