“Did You Make It?”

“I Love Your Cosplay – Did You Make It?”
Originally posted: http://geekxgirls.com/article.php?ID=1371


A common question in the cosplay world regarding cosplays is “Did you make it?” and it’s a question that sometimes I find rather difficult to answer because really – it depends and sometimes you only have a few seconds to answer. It depends on how the person defines ‘make’ a small four letter word that can encapsulate so much. 

Some cosplayers out there are incredible costumers to the end that they can make every single piece of their costume from scratch be it fabric, armor, casting, make up, props etc. Some of us on the other hand are not so talented when it comes to costume making, our inability to sew, or lack of tools for proper crafting or even financial commitment, there are many different reasons as to why. Furthermore there are many different ways to ‘make’ a costume and as a result I’ve decided to break down the “making” process into six categories 

1. Purchased 

2. Altered 

3. Commissioned 

4. Assembled 

5. Made 

6. Made from Scratch 

Personally I use a variety of methods depending on my idea, capabilities and time restraints. So let me try and break down and explain these ‘categories’ a little further. 

Purchased – these are the costumes that you see around Hallowe’en. The “sets” that come in a bag, one size fits all and can generally be found at any Walmart/Winners/Comic Shop around the Hallowe’en season. (During the rest of the year stores such as Malabar or Theatrics keep stock all year round changing it seasonally during St. Patricks, Christmas and other holidays). 

Altered – This category is for costumes that may have been purchased and then were later altered. This could be as simple as taking in or letting out a dress or adding completely different accessories to change to costume all together. In regards to ‘altered’ costumes I would personally count my Pikachu costume in this category. The body suit itself was purchased and it came with a mask intended to be a “Sexy Wolverine” costume. However with some ears, gloves, nylons and a tail I altered this costume into a character I love to play! 

Did You Make It? Cosplay

Commissioned – Commissioned costumes are custom orders from a professional. This means you aren’t just buying a costume off a wall, but rather getting something tailor-made. Now this could be as simple as picking a standard design and sending in your measurements, or as complicated as designing something completely original and working with the costumer to make your concept come to life. My personal example is my Legacy Rogue cosplay commissioned from Castle Corsetry

Did You Make It? Cosplay

Assembled – One avenue of this category has been affectionately called ‘closet cosplay’ in the costume world. Assembled costumes mean that while you may not have physically made each piece, you sourced out, located and compiled each piece to make an overall costume. Now this could be as easy as finding all the pieces in your closet, but this is not the only way one can assemble a costume. Personally, I think this category does not get enough credit. If you are assembling a costume sometimes you can spend hours, days, weeks and even months searching for the right piece. Be the quest in a mall, specialty shops, online orders – depending what it is you are looking for it can be pretty tough. Another way of ‘making’ a costume in this category is a method also known as ‘Closet Cosplay’ when a person looks through their closet and finds they have all the right pieces from various other outfits or regular clothes to be able to fit into a specific character. I was able to do this with my Zatanna cosplay, each individual piece is originally from a different costume or outfit. 

Did You Make It? Cosplay

Made – This classification is for costumes that one has made the majority of, themselves. This means while you may not have started from completely raw materials, you have made the costume. You put in the time to sew everything yourself, make the accessories… but sometimes some accessories such as your wig or shoes were not all made by yourself. You may have coloured the wig, or made boot covers, or found ways to alter previous pieces, but not everything came out of a raw material. My example for this would be my Jim Lee Rogue suit. The yellow boots I am wearing in this costume were purchased and then later I added the green straps. The brown leather jacket was also purchased and then later I added the X patches. However I still made the body suit, headband and gloves. 

Did You Make It? Cosplay

Made From Scratch – This, ladies and gentlemen is the dream. What many of us wish, and many of us are working towards being able to do – to make a cosplay from head to toe entirely from scratch. This means every piece of jewelry was hand crafted, every fabric personally sewed, all armor pieces crafted at home and you have done it all yourself. Now please do not misunderstand me, I am not saying all cosplayers must make every cosplay from scratch. However, some do, and they really should get a round of applause from those of us who aspire to make it to this level. One of my personal favourite examples of this category would be Margie Cox and her beautiful Wonder Woman cosplay. 

Did You Make It? Cosplay

I firmly believe in giving credit where it is due. Depending on the costume, situation and severity there isn’t the time to go into the detail of each individual piece, particularly on the convention floor. Yet some cosplayers do meticulously actually MAKE every wig, prop, and thing on their body and they really should receive credit for that. However with only one little four letter word ‘make’ encompassing so many avenues of a hobby it seems the gravitas is lost along the way. So the next time you ask someone if they’ve made their cosplay, I challenge you cosplay consumers and cosplay enjoyers out there to think about what it means to ‘make’ a costume – but at that self same time remember and respect that all forms of costuming are valid. 

Photo Credits: 

Pikachu:
Geek Girl: Northern Belle
Pokémon Trainer: Lorien Honoure
Photography: Jason Saiet. Norm Cheung P.C.
Make Up Artist: Phoebe Lin
Electric Editing: Irene Ein 

Legacy Rogue:
Geek Girl: Northern Belle
Photography: Geek Girl Wandering Dana
Costume: Castle Corsetry 

Zatanna:
Geek Girl: Northern Belle
Photography: Clint Adam Smyth
Make Up Artist: Phoebe Lin 

Jim Lee Rogue:
Geek Girl: Northern Belle
Photography: Geek Girl Wandering Dana 

Wonder Woman:
Costume/Model: Margie Cox
Photography: Scott Berry of SixEightStudios