Jodie Whittaker’s new Doctor Who ensemble isn’t just functional, it’s fashionable — but in a way that’s quirky, slightly androgynous, and alternative. That’s no surprise, considering its origins.
In a new video, Whittaker chatted with costume designer Ray Holman about what inspired the new look for Doctor Who. She previously said she’d found the photo using a Google search, coming across a black-and-white image of a woman walking down the street in a beautiful, androgynous ensemble.
That ensemble helped create the look that’s since inspired cosplayers around the world.
“The main journey of it came from a photograph that I found of a woman in trousers, [suspenders], and a t-shirt, walking with purpose. And I loved it and it felt timeless,” Whittaker said in the video. “It felt intriguing and kind of open to interpretation and I really love that. And it was neither male or female which was really important to me.”
After the video finally showed us the photograph that started it all, I spent the entire morning trying to find the source, reaching out to Holmer and the BBC for answers. But I didn’t have to wait for a reply! Much to my astonishment, some sleuths over at Reddit had already figured it out… two months ago, based on nothing but Whittaker’s description from a July 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly. Now that’s what I call some dedicated fandom.
The image, which you can check out on Pinterest, is from the “Big Bottoms” fashion shoot in the September 1988 issue of Sassy, an alt-teen magazine that ran from 1988 to 1996. Reportedly taken by notable fashion photographer William Garrett (we reached out to him for confirmation), it’s part of a fashion spread celebrating young women in stylish menswear.
The full issue of Sassy is archived on Pinterest, if you want to see the entire thing.
As someone who loved Sassy — or at least tried to secretly read it when my parents weren’t around — I love the idea that a fashion spread celebrating androgynous style in alt-teen magazine from the ’80s and ’90s was the inspiration for Whittaker’s look. It seems, well, fitting… if you’ll forgive the pun.