After speaking to so many wonderful cosplayers, we are going to write a regular feature on one, showcasing their kitsch style and abilities. Cosplay is about how you personify your character and apply creativity into it, not buying the costume off the shelf but making it or adding your own touches to make your cosplays authentic.
In the vast depths of Facebook groups, Chai was selling some Lolita style tiered skirts and I ordered one and got into talks with her about the reasonable price and what other things she specialized in. Here I found her handmade and also custom-made to order products (just contact her if you want specific colours or charms) http://www.dollicon.net/
Turns out this jewelry maker was a designer, a model at Model Mahem (http://www.modelmayhem.com/) and cosplayer. Apart from her agency Model Mahem she has worked with Natasha Jay on her 50’s theme God save the queen, later going to Purple Port, which gave her a chance to work with Paul, who has photographed famous people like Ryo Love who is her inspiration. She’s been modeling for two and a half years and cosplaying for two years – she does this because she adores dressing up in unique clothing designs that the anime world has to offer.
With the recent increase of anime conventions she now has the opportunity to walk around in the shoes of that character, as well as getting the chance to meet other fellow anime lovers! Discussing related topics and interests as she does a very sociable person, without worry of strangers not understanding what anime is.
Her favourite characters include Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Mars from Sailor Moon, as she used to watch them on TV at a young age and is considering cosplaying them in the future. Also Ciel from Black Butler which she has already cosplayed – a series her sister recommended she watch and instantly loved.
Making costumes is long and timely but she does so…by hand, as she doesn’t own a sewing machine. She collects materials from an arts and craft shop in Winchester close to her home and fabric from C&H also based in Winchester.
Tips from Chai:
- Measurements are vital so a template is essential, instead of cutting straight into the material.
- Try to remember use cost effective materials. Even consider cardboard that’s free in shops, as they no longer want it, it’s great to make light weight weapons.
- Go to charity shops or cheap and cheerful shops like Primark to find basic already made tops or bottoms and add/takeaway bits. It’s a money saver she does so for her Mami outfit. The hat was made from cardboard, same as the rifle gun she made.
- Bid things on ebay for second hand items e.g the boots she got can be cut and spray painted to look like mami’s shoes. She spent around £60 making the whole outfit; otherwise it would cost her over £100! People are more impressed with handmade because effort is put into it so much.
So the main important points to consider when making: use more recyclable materials, measure extra couple cm to avoid smaller size and waste materials, and plan ahead on making your outfit as you never know when things go wrong. Handmade items can take longer or even be messy but overall give you a rewarding feel when people ask ‘Did you make this?’
Has anyone else made any cool weapons they’d like to show off? Best submission will win a prize. Put image links in the comment boxes below.