Saying that League of Legends European Championship caster Indiana ‘Froskurinn’ Black stands out in a crowd undersells the impact of her presence. Though new to the European scene, having just finished her first split with the circuit, Froskurinn – inspired by the Icelandic for “frog” – has had a long and famous career as one of the most outspoken professional casters in the scene, thanks to years of work championing China’s LPL to the Western world.
But the basis of her fame and professional ascension isn’t solely due to her outspoken mannerisms and analysis – though they certainly serve as a substantial foundation. What really makes her stand out from her co-casters is, undeniably, her uniquely strong sense of sheer style.
It may surprise some of her newer audience, then, to learn that it was a fairly recent development, starting from her move to Australia for the launch of the official English LPL broadcast.
“While I had been out and gay since I was 13, I grew up in a conservative area and didn’t have my ‘gay experience’ until my early 20s in Australia,” reminisced Black. “It was the first time that I got to discover myself, my identity, and how I wanted to express it and all the different variations that entails.”
Figuring out that identity took more than a few twists and turns, though. Especially in pinning down exactly what she wanted out of her personal aesthetic. “[It] has been a long, messy, tragic road. A lot of bad haircuts and suit cuts,” said Indiana. “Everyone around me were men, so I naturally looked to men’s fashion for inspiration – but men’s fashion doesn’t suit women’s bodies. Eventually, I found a slimmer menswear brand and tailored it down to fit me, but I still struggled for a long time to find inner acceptance.”
She noted that photo days in Australia were especially frustrating for her, driving her to tears and frustration with an inability to explain exactly what was bothering her so much, that “the mirror and photos reflected exactly what I didn’t want to see.”
A lot of her frustrations were from elements that proved otherwise popular to the audience. The flashy, iridescent sequin jacket that initialized comparisons to David Bowie is dead. “I killed it,” said Black. Same with her hairstyle experiments from 2017, and a lot of the suit cuts she tried.
Here in 2019, she’s pinned down a lot more of the aesthetic she’s comfortable with – playing with her natural androgyny, yes, but “not ignoring my femininity,” as she explains it. “I am more masculine-presenting, but I can’t forget that other part of my gender expression and identity, so my wardrobe is now about finding harmony in both. Masculine cuts and styles with feminine prints and fabrics; I like drapey fabrics that hang off my body and emphasize how slender I am, with a masculine-inspired trouser and Oxford shoe.”
The material matters much, as the standard fabric used for men’s suits tend toward rigid and hard-wearing fabric that, to her, makes her look excessively “boxy”. More than that, they provide nuances to her public persona. “A lot of people assumed my style is now reigned in or controlled, but just because it’s slightly more toned down doesn’t mean it’s boring. I’m daring with more color and textures, and it’s about picking my statement pieces instead of covering myself in sparkles.”
Of course, it also has to match her professional environment, which is where her collaborative work with Riot’s stylists kick in, making sure it still matches the intended tone of the broadcast, while complementing the aesthetics of her co-casters as well. While most of the men on the LEC broadcast are satisfied with letting the background staff pick their pieces, Froskurinn makes and brings her own ensemble, though “Riot has someone to curate the gallery.”
That in itself begs the question of how she’d dress her co-workers if given a chance, to which she was forthright with her opinions. Medic, for instance, is recommended to go with more floral colors and large prints as a counternote to his wide-shouldered build, with a note that smaller prints would get lost against his frame.
Vedius, on the other hand, should go more toward elaborately tailored suits, complementing his lanky and long frame. Japanese high fashion cuts should especially work with him, as it’s “something bigger guys can’t get away with," as their body shapes are a poor match for how they’re tailored. Japanese-style “cuts will try to camouflage and recreate the lines Vedius naturally has in his body.”
Drakos, meanwhile, “needs to embrace his inner hipster and experiment more with texture, uncommon colors, and accessories. Rings, earrings, bracelets – jewelry will be his best friend.”
As for Trevor Henry, already rocking silvered hair with his current style – he should go full James Bond villain, with a monochrome suit to match his hair. That is to say, he basically just needs to keep going with the secret agent aesthetic he’s currently got going on.
We going floral today. pic.twitter.com/w88rrXDyW4— Froskurinn (@Froskurinn) May 13, 2017
Importantly, it isn’t just her co-casters that should think about stepping up the game. Really, they’re just part of a wider problem, in that esports “fashion,” as it were, is still nascent in its development. For every 100 Thieves pushing a more streetwear-focused product line, there’s a whole mountain of $60+ jerseys made out of cheap, thin material that’s only suited for fans to wear at events – fans that would otherwise not be caught dead wearing them outside of such contexts.
Froskurinn acknowledges that apparel mandates from circuit owners like Riot over the LCS, or Blizzard over the Overwatch League, limit the range in which teams and brands can explore their aesthetic options, but the sameness of it all feels galling – as does the lack of exploration of options that already do exist. “I want to see sneaker deals,” she stresses, noting the prevalence of high-end shoe-wear culture among esports influences. Bomber jackets too, as opposed to more traditional athletically-inspired designs that every other competitive organization seems to default toward.
Just because the industry started out aping the NFL and other professional circuits doesn’t mean that emulation is where its future lies. Though, granted, it might take as many experiments as Frosk’s had haircuts.