Friday, October 4, 2013

Casual Fridays: My Cosplay History

Cosplayshort for "costume play", is an activity in which participants wear costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea from a work of fiction. - Wikipedia

Most of us have done cosplay in one form or another. Whether it was for Halloween when you were little, or dressed up as Santa for your kids. However, when I refer to cosplay, I refer to more than just buying an off the rack Santa suit and stuffing a pillow in your belly (although, in it most basic form, that is essentially what cosplay is). 

When I talk about participating in cosplay, I am talking about the challenge and experience of designing, building and putting together a complete costume that closely resembles the character I want to emulate.

It all started on Halloween...
I was brought up in what I would consider a lower-middle class household. Through hard work and persistence, our family gradually improved our fortunes over time, but unnecessary expenditures - like store bought Halloween costumes - were typically off the table.

The one Halloween costume I consider the original inspiration for my future cosplay was the one I remember most complaining about. It was a Shaggy (of Scooby-Doo fame) costume that my mother made for me. It consisted of a brown yarn wig, untucked shirt and pants. While I wasn't overly enthused at the costume itself, I was glad I got to go out as what I wanted to be and (secretly) was glad my mom had made it for me.

Fast forward to Halloween 2002. I owned Gigabytes Computer Store and hosted a group of Star Trek card game players every Sunday night. We decided to have a Halloween party where costumes were mandatory - though none of us knew the term "cosplay".

Several weeks before, I decided I was going to go as a Romulan. The problem was, that I could not buy a costume without having someone custom-build it and paying far more than I was willing to spend.

I searched a few fabric stores for the quilted material I needed to make the costume, but could not find any suitable. I found the right material (on clearance for CHEAP) and bought the entire bolt. I then got quilt batting and borrowed my mother's sewing machine. I spent 7 hours measuring, cutting, quilting, and finally sewing the pieces together. I did this without any pattern to go by. All I had were my measurements and an image in my head of what I wanted it to look like.

The following year, I made a few improvements: I added a belt I made from dollar store duct tape; bought pointy ears; and made a Romulan disruptor I carved from balsa wood. The only picture I have of it was so blurry I modified it to help people get the gist of what it was. (and to say that I accidentally shot the picture taker to explain why the photo was so blurry.)

The costume was destroyed in a basement flood and all that hard work went down the tubes. I was upset to say the least.

I have resolved to re-make the year. I was really proud of that and want to see if I can improve upon my efforts from over 10 years ago.

This year I took a different approach....

To be continued.....


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