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Creating the perfect costume

Phil Simpson (left) and Chris Alliston (right) of NorthWind Knights Cosplay, at Edmonton Expo. (Photo by Lucas Taylor)

Phil Simpson (left) and Chris Alliston (right) of NorthWind Knights Cosplay, at Edmonton Expo.
(Photo by Lucas Taylor)

Edmonton Expo may be over, but the amazing convention cosplayers can serve as inspiration for creating the perfect Halloween costume.

The Expo played host to some of the most popular cosplayers including Garnet Runestar, J. Hart Designs and JediManda, who shared some of their favourite tips for creating the perfect costume. 

“The biggest tip, if you want to start making your cosplays, is to start small. Make dresses, make skirts, make pillow cases,” said Amanda Haas aka. Jedimanda, a professional cosplayer.

Hass has been cosplaying for five years, and said she fell into the culture through her experience as a professional seamstress. 

The artist used to design costumes for theatres. After experiencing her first convention in Kentucky, Haas went on a Google spiral researching everything she could about cosplaying.

The cosplayer admits she had a head start in the cosplay world due to her experience as a professional seamstress.

 “Everybody’s choices are different. I have to really love the character, and then of course the aesthetics. Every character that I have cosplayed is a person that I have really truly enjoyed in their medium,” said Haas.

Haas has taken on incredible projects, challenging herself to create bigger and better costumes.

One costume she is particularly proud of is her Star Wars Princess Amidala cosplay. The intricate project took her nine months to create, Haas joked that the costume was literally like her baby. Typically her cosplay projects take around two months.

“It’s just exploring and researching instead of just jumping into it, but as far as creation, jump into it but start small,” said Haas.

Melissa Schurig, aka. Garnet Runestar, has similar advice to Haas recommending that anyone who wants to get into cosplay design should go for it, creating costumes for characters they are passionate about.

“You have to let yourself be a beginner, everybody starts somewhere. If you’re willing to let yourself take the first step you’ll make new friends, you’ll have adventures and you’ll learn and build up your craft as you go,” said Schurig.

Schurig has been cosplaying for 10 years and said that getting into the culture is now easier then ever.

The cosplayer explained how the materials available to those looking to create costumes have gotten exponentially better, referencing how getting something as simple as a nice wig used to be near impossible.

“It’s been really cool to watch [cosplay grow]. We joke now in competitions that the beginners are the new masters,” said Schurig.

According to Schurig the plethora of online tutorials and crafting materials available to cosplayers now help to make it easier then ever to jump into the culture and start creating.

“Don’t be afraid to be a beginner. There’s always something to learn. Don’t compare yourself to others and just let yourself have fun,” said Schurig.

Joshua Hart, aka. J. Hart Design, has also seen the evolution of the cosplay over his more than 10 years in the industry.

 “I sat down at the local library and I devoured every single book that I could possibly find [on costume making]. This was before there were so many resources available on the Internet,” said Hart, describing his initial introduction to cosplay culture.

“I did everything by hand and I made my first costume. I fell in love with the process of being creative and seeing the finished result.”

The cosplayer made easy costumes at first and over time began to take on more difficult and intricate projects, learning enough to become a professional cosplayer.

Hart’s first cosplay was a character from the video game franchise Final Fantasy, and he said that it was difficult to create the costume because back then it was not as easy to access materials and wigs as it is now. 

One of the important changes has been the access to tutorials that can help beginner cosplayers.

“I always tell people to be patient and to be dedicated and choose a character that you absolutely love because that dedication and that admiration for that character is going to sky rocket you into making something amazing.”

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