Jump to content




(Yay for Syl in havah!)



During Mr. Inkthinker (Ben)’s AMA in 2016, I asked him about how Vorin havah actually looks like and where Brandon’s inspiration came from. He’s really a super nice guy and here’s his detailed answer:


Could you give us some clues about how the two lines of buttons on Vorin havah actually look like? I find it hard to imagine correctly. (When designing this costume, has Brandon got some in-world reference?)

The cut of a havah is similar to a cheongsam, with full sleeves and falling from the hips. Beneath the slitted outer skirt are many thin layers like fine silk which interweave to create a sort of accordion effect.  This would (I think?) allow the dress to fall at a sharp angle from the hip when still, while expanding to allow a full range of leg movement. The buttons run from the throat down to the waist, following a line from the jaw down to the collarbone, curving out to follow the bust and then down the line of the torso. I don’t think there’s a rule for the number of buttons. Frog buttons are legit, I think. [Source]



(Example art by Michael Whelan)



New info about the replaceable hem! Here is what I got from Tumblr user polk1986:


My main concern was the attachment of the replaceable hem as it is mentioned in several places in the Stormlight books. Brandon said that the hem would be a continuous piece attached to the underskirt, or as Ben/Inkthinker called it, the accordion (perhaps it’s an accordion skirt?). This hem piece is not easy to change according to Brandon, so it is probably sewn on and not attached with buttons or some other simple fastener. It is a simple enough operation that it is done with relative frequency, however. This is likely due to the reasons postulated by @cosmerefashion on their havah analysis.


Brandon also confirmed my suspicion (and @cosmerefashion's) that due to the difficulty in finding fabric that is an exact match for something bought another time/place, people often purchase replacement hems in contrasting colors.



This time we have a Ben original! The official havah design! Hooray!


The dress can have buttons, frog closures,  or other closures that begin at the high collar, taper to the outside of the breasts and frame the waistline. The closures end at the waist and the seam continues to the hips, then splits, revealing a skirt that folds like an acordian or in a fashion that allows it to flare for full range of motion. I think he said you can get creative with that underskirt as to how it folds. [Source]


I also asked Ben about specifics of the high collar:


Q: Sorry to bother you here, but I have a question about the cut of the Vorin havah that has been confusing me for so long. It’s about the collar. How does it look like actually? I find that there’re basically four designs which are common in the fan depiction. And I roughly sketched them just now. May I ask which one is correct, or closest to the original design? If those four are all not fit, could you give us a hint how to imagine it?

By the way I’ve seen some of your character design work done back in 2008 (Jasnah and Shallan). It’s great and I think the collar may be similiar to type A?


A: The answer is that any of these are acceptable, what’s important is that it’s a full collar to the top of the neck. My original designs were like A and D, I liked running a seam from the hip to the jaw and it seemed the right place for frog buttons. But there’s room for different fashions and different trends, so the others would work just as well in a pinch.

So... Based on all the aforementioned resources, I rendered something new this year:


(My new take on Shallan)





My old havah design (Ver. 1.0):




Inspiration: Traditional costumes from China (Qipao / Cheongsam), Vietnam (Ao Dai), India (Sari), Pakistan (Shalwar Kameez) and Central Asia

havah meitu_0.jpg

From the album:

A Graphic Guide to Roshar

· 2 images
  • 2 images
  • 7 image comments

Recommended Comments

I like D collar design the most, because "following a line from the jaw down to the collarbone, curving out to follow the bust and then down the line of the torso" doesn't say to me that the buttons go straight down, but rather in an angle. But then I imagine it curving slightly to the front again, so that the button line does not go down the waistline, but down from under bust to iliac crest, similarly to what you've drawn. The outerskirt is probably a half-circe and the underskrit is full-circle cut. I like the way you designed the lower part of the havah. 

My main question is about the sleeves. I cannot imagine the modesty sleeve to be form-fitting to the safehand, I see it the way you've drawn it, in a bell-shape, because the safepouch needs to fit in there. But I don't know if Vorin people would be comfortable with a wide sleeve on a freehand, because it could roll up easily. What do you think? 

Link to comment



just.... wow. I'm super impressed. 


Forget trying to find just one or two of your posts to throw extra upvotes on, I think I'll just have to 'follow' you and upvote everything you post (in the gallery at least). Amazing work and amazing research. 

Also, and I may be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure the inner cover of Words of Radiance (the one you clipped your "sample shallan" picture from) was actually drawn by Ben McSweeney/ @Inkthinker, not Michael Whelan. Michael just does the outside covers, everything interior is either Ben or Isaac Stewart, I believe. 

Edited by Herowannabe
Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...