The suit/gimmick/outfit is an iconic part of being an RLSH. Very few choose to go without, and it can be a powerful statement about your mission and ideals.
What the suit does:
- Protects your privacy
- Expresses who you are
- Protects you
The choice to conceal your identity is a personal one and not mandatory. If you choose to go this route, keep in mind that modern machine learning algorithms exist for facial recognition, gait analysis, voice patterns, finger and toe prints, typing patterns, and countless other identifiers that go far beyond the classic methods for "whodunit" investigations. That being said, these types of resources are more likely to be applied by state-level actors such as foreign governments, or potentially disgruntled employees and subcontractors of these powerful organizations that happen to have access. They are much less likely to be used in random hits against ordinary citizens who don't have a personal or professional link to these types of bad actors.
The upshot of all this is that in most situations, covering your face and major identifying tattoos, markings and scars is probably enough to keep random citizens on the street from recognizing you. That is, IF you can avoid them seeing you wearing the same clothes or obviously linked somehow between your civilian identity and your RLSH activities. Unless you are on the bad side of some kind of government agency, you don't need to worry about avoiding every single camera on the street or around buildings, you don't need to be super meticulous about your RF signature and you don't need to use PGP encryption on every single communication you send.
If you do need those things, you both already have much bigger problems and you probably are aware of some of the security countermeasures you can take. OPSEC and INFOSEC is its own major topic and probably needs a number of large articles. The overall point is, think about who and what are the actual threats you are most likely to encounter, and try to take the largest number of easy, simple steps to prevent them gaining access to your identity. The details are going to have to be up to you.
Suits are very personal. The degree to which your suit represents your identity, brand image, ideals, or aesthetic can be a big factor in how you see yourself, as well as how others see you.
There are no right or wrong answers to how you deal with this. Instead, here are some questions to ask yourself about your suit design.
- What does my appearance say about me? What colors am I incorporating? What symbols? Do those colors, symbols or designs have widely accepted explicit or implicit meanings?
- To what extent does my appearance communicate professionalism, attention to detail, grooming and hygiene standards, and self-awareness?
- What do my clothes say about what I am here to do? What does it look like I am doing? How am I carrying myself? How do I respond to people?
- What changes would I make if I had all the budget and resources in the world? What difficulties or problems with my equipment and gear could I solve with better tools, time, training, or more money? Is there a way I can creatively solve those problems with less?
It can be helpful to think about security in all forms in terms of layers. If you are securing a facility, you can have an observation layer with all your cameras that helps you find out when unauthorized persons are on the premises. You can have an alert or notification layer consisting of alarms that automatically let you know when bad things are happening. You can have a personnel layer tasked with active removal of unauthorized persons. Each layer has its own strengths and weaknesses, and these strengths and weaknesses are chosen to be adapted to the particular threat they face and the solutions they are meant to enable.
Your suit can work much the same way. Everyone who wears clothes benefits from some amount of protection from abrasion, solar radiation, and the elements. Stiffer and heavier fabrics like cordura, burlap, and ballistic nylon have improved abrasion protection. However, nylon has a low melting point and may suffer catastrophic failure if exposed to high heat or open flame.
This does not mean that nylon cannot be used in a suit that is meant to be used in a high heat environment. However, you need to think about ways to ensure that the nylon stays within the safe parameters for its usage. This brings up the question of thermal protection.
Some good solutions to thermal insulation might include a thin, highly reflective material such as Mylar, or even aluminum foil, which in certain configurations can reflect and dissipate heat with a high degree of efficiency. Or you might land on fire-resistant fabrics like Nomex, used in firefighter bunker gear, which is specifically engineered to be resistant to extreme temperatures. Or you might come to rely on a large amount of thermal insulation like wool, which traps air space that decreases the thermal conductivity of whatever material it is deployed in, much as a sleeping bag traps heat to keep you warm in frigid alpine temperatures.
Perhaps your solution will end up relying on all of these materials in combination. Then you will have to start making real decisions about weight, mobility, and heat. A suit that is just right in sub zero temperatures in Canada might be unusable in hot, humid climates like Panama. If you need to have multiple options or be deployable in a diverse array of environments, keep that in mind and plan to equip yourself accordingly.
Don't worry about getting it perfect the first time. Your look can and will evolve to better fit you, your style, and your environment.
The way The Phantom-Knight's suit evolved
Spectral Hawk’s Suit Advice: Focus on the functionality of your suit prior to the aesthetics. In purchasing or making equipment for your suit, keep in mind what you plan to use it for. For example, if you plan to solely work at outreach events, you do not need to waste money on expensive armor.
If you plan to go on safety patrols, you should buy protective armor. Any type of impact-resistant armor or even bullet-resistant armor is going to keep you safe. As a student of criminal justice, I recommend getting bullet-resistant armor that covers all handguns, as handguns are the most commonly used firearms by criminals.
I recommend getting at least level IIIA plates and trauma pads (even if the bullet does not penetrate, it can cause internal bleeding and even rupture organs), which are rated for up to a .44 magnum. That being said, avoid engaging with any criminal that carries a firearm or any weapon for that matter. Report illicit activity to trained law enforcement!
In addition to buying protective gear, make sure that you are buying from a credible source. Remember, you get what you pay for!
Finally, you want to look unique. Your greatest ally in creating a unique look is to base the aesthetics of your suit around your persona/gimmick. Generally speaking, the easiest way to achieve this is through your logo and your mask. Those two pieces should be most representative of the iconography you seek to display. Further, your suit will always be a work in progress - even if you think you are done. There is always more to do!
Spectral Hawk's Suit
- These are links to third-party external websites. The RLSH.net Wiki is not responsible for the content available on these sites.