Final Fantasy XIV x Chan Luu Job Bracelets: For The Ethically-Conscious Warrior of Light



On November 9th the social media channels for Final Fantasy XIV announced a new partnership with fashion and accessory designer Chan Luu. The collaboration will produce a line of the designer’s popular hand-made beaded bracelets with a Final Fantasy XIV twist; each piece will be themed after a job class from the popular MMORPG and decorated with a charm depicting the logo of each job’s respective soul crystal. These charm bracelets are a way to subtley show off pride for your chosen class and look good doing it.


Chan Luu may not be a household name for most Final Fantasy fans but her work has been worn by Lady Gaga, Brittney Spears, Emma Watson, and Tom Hanks just to name a few. It might seem odd to some RPG fans for Square to be partnering with a designer whose work you’re more likely to find at Saks Fifth Avenue than GameStop, but it’s certainly not the only time Final Fantasy and fashion have crossed paths. Characters from Final Fantasy XIII  were featured models for Prada in 2012 and Lightning returned to the fashion world as a model for Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection. Final Fantasy XV’s fashion connection is even more a part of it’s DNA – Japanese designer Roen worked on the costumes for the main cast and the mother of punk herself, Vivienne Westwood, designed Lunafreya’s wedding dress.


Vivienne Westwood canonically exists in the world of XV. Does that mean the Sex Pistols do too?

The XIV charm bracelets are certainly more subtle than, say, Prompto’s asymmetrical studded leather vest and plaid half-skirt thing, but they speak to the series’ appreciation of distinct design. That design comes with a cost however and for many players of XIV commenting on social media the $139.99USD price tag attached to these bracelets is a cost they’re not willing to pay.

I was expecting $50 at max but then again this is square enix. Should known better”, “$140?????? At least price them a standard gamer’s wage!”,
I can make these for a fraction of $140. I’ll pass on this rip off

Comments like these are common in the facebook thread announcing the collaboration. Similar sentiments can be found in many of the replies to the twitter counterpart. It’s easy to jump to a conclusion like some of these commenters but there’s more to this price tag than just a well-known fashion designer and a videogame license adding up to a prohibitive cost for the average ‘gamer’. It’s unfair to pass this off as just an attempt to gouge fans of the game (that’s what the Mogstation is for anyway (I joke, I joke)) without considering the larger business ecosystem at play.

Chan Luu is known particularly for her devotion to ethical practices in her factories. In an industry where mass-production and sweatshops are common, Chan Luu’s accessories are hand-made and her workers are paid fair wages that ensure a decent standard of living. Originally from Vietnam, Chan Luu later lived in LA and began designing jewelry in the 90s. As her business grew she hand-picked a factory in Vietnam that she trusted for it’s ethical labour practices. She also established a factory in Nairobi, Kenya, employing women who were experts at hand-crafted beaded jewelry as part of an initiative to create sustainable jobs around the world. She has employed 782 people in Kenya alone and Chan Luu Inc’s partnership with the United Nations Ethical Fashion Initiative should continue to provide safe, well-payed, sustainable work to more and more people every year.

So is $140 too much for a bracelet? In an article for Boston University Luu says “It’s up to you to decide whether you support what I do or you don’t… The people who make this get paid fairly and have a safe place to work. And some people buy my jewelry only because they love it, but other people do care about those things…”


After a long journey, four young warriors arrive, each holding some BLING

The game industry is no stranger to controversy about working conditions. Consumers are being confronted more and more about how to ethically consume and it can be uncomfortable to think about how an individual’s spending can impact the lives of the people making a product. It’s important to not always make the number one priority be “spending as little as possible for a product” when the other side of that transaction could be exploitative and damaging. I won’t profess to being an expert on economics but even I can appreciate when a big name publisher like Square Enix is willing to form a partnership that has its roots in the fair and ethical treatment of its workers.

That said, I’m totally broke if someone wants to spot me $140. I play NIN or MCH. tfp o/

The Final Fantasy x Chan Luu Job Bracelet line is accepting orders until December 11th 2018 for North America and December 13th 2018 for Europe. Items will be made to order and can be pre-ordered here.

Timed Hits List 002 – Promised Grace (Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles)


I won’t even pretend that I’m not excited about Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered. I’ve spent the majority of my spending money over the past year or so optimizing my audio/video setup for my Gamecube — the primary purpose being to play Crystal Chronicles with the highest fidelity possible. And now, on the cusp of making that dream a reality, it has all been rendered moot with the announcement of a Switch version. I’m not even a little bit mad; the more chances people get to play this tragically overlooked Final Fantasy the better. Especially if it means more people experiencing the soundtrack that proved Nobuo Uematsu wasn’t the only game in town.
Kumi Tanioka, who at this point in time was co-composer for Final Fantasy XI, masterfully scores the world of Crystal Chronicles with a band composed of traditional instruments from all over the world. We’re talking all kinds of lutes, recorders, bagpipes, crumhorns, and medieval instruments.


Now that’s what I call a crumhorn!

There are ton of highlights in the Crystal Chronicles OST; Departure, the game’s first dungeon theme sets the melancholy tone of a world full of adventurers not seeking glory, but the means to keep their villages alive. Sad Monster and Unite, Descent provide a backdrop for an uneasy and wholly unique final boss battle. Tanioka even provides two different takes on Uematsu’s Moogle Theme from Final Fantasy V, Cripper Tripper Fritter. That melody won’t see that much love again until Masayoshi Soken’s Danny Elfman-inspired rendition in Final Fantasy XIV a decade later.

The track that I want to highlight today is from around the midway point of the main story – Promised Grace, the theme of Veo Lu Sluice.

One thing that really can’t be captured by listening to just the OST track is the stage introductions that accompany entering an area for the first time. Every level begins with a brief but outrageously charming monologue narrated by a northern English dialect that would make even the citiest of slickers yearn for the rolling emerald hills and grey skies of some kind of ‘–shire’. It also features one of the best sound design details in the series. Check out the video below to around the 1:30 mark:

Leaving only the barest of instrumentation during the spoken intro and then firing up the melody right as the stage name is introduced is such an excellent touch. Crystal Chronicles is also not a particularly lore-heavy game so these drip-fed bits of detail about the world (also the only part of the original release of Crystal Chronicles to be fully voiced) are a welcome moment of appreciation.

The song itself is just a blast. The instrumentation and Renaissance flair are reminiscent of Final Fantasy IX’s more traditional tunes — Rose of May meets Vamo alla Flamenco – but with a nuance that only Tanioka’s live band can provide. It’s not too much of a stretch to think that Final Fantasy IX character designer Toshiyuki Itahana’s involvement in the look of Crystal Chronicles could have influenced Tanioka in the same way it influenced Uematsu’s score for IX.

This really is one of the best examples in Crystal Chronicles of Tanioka’s commitment to a traditional sound. It’s not hard to imagine this playing in the background of any period film where everyone dances in a circle mid-high-five — I went to a Shakespeare festival or two; I know what’s up. In fact the return of Promised Grace’s melody is in nearly that exact kind of setting. Veo Lu Sluice’s theme returns in 2008’s spin-off of a spin-off, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers where it provides the music for one of the title’s several rhythm mini-games. Take a listen to it and some other further listening down below, including a piece from Tanioka’s beautiful stand-alone piano album, Sky’s The Limit and a piece from her iconic work on Final Fantasy XI.

Who knows if/when Tanioka will return to game composition but in the meantime she has left a unique footprint on the Final Fantasy series that deserves to be remembered fondly.

Further Listening: