My First Cosplay
I enjoy the idea of cosplay – have for a long time. I really love a lot of the amazing work I’ve seen from others. It’s a bit like Halloween all year round, but it’s the joy of sharing something you really like with others. The problem is I’ve always had kind of a problem with finding costume parts in my size. Yes, I know that’s why people make their own stuff. I’m not that good at making stuff, nor have I committed the time to learning it. I should, but I haven’t.
When the Potterverse convention came about I got this notion that Hagrid was actually a character I could cosplay. IF there was ever an appropriately sized character he was the one. So, at forty-seven years of age I set out to do my very first ever cosplay. Turns out I had a lot to learn.
As it turned out, there was only one thing that would be “home made” that wasn’t already done. I would purchase most of the outfit and recycle certain other parts that were already in the house. I don’t have any abilities with sewing, and by the time I committed to doing this it was far too late to start that sort of thing. I have seen and heard many other cosplayer stories of the last minute late night sewing / hot glue sessions. I was not in any sort of position to do that. Some of the things I learned were:
-Just because it’s for sale, doesn’t mean it will ship to you in time. One of the most vital bits was slated to arrive a week after the con, so I had to scramble to find something else that could be substituted in and that would ship in time.
-If you squint really hard, you can justify a lot of stuff. Boots, pants and jacket all came down to, “I can totally use that for work, so it’s OK that I’m spending a hundred bucks today…” I am lucky that I had the means at hand to make the last minute purchases work. More time in planning will equal a smaller payout in the future.
-Even shopping takes time. Not just the shipping part, but also the actually looking up the thing that will be just right and the right size. It’s a time consuming thing. I confess that without my lovely wife assisting me I might not have been able to pull it off.
-Test it out. I cut everything close enough that I didn’t have time to pull the whole thing together and test it out before I was actually on site for the convention. Two parts of the ensemble didn’t actually fit right. Sure, when I got new boots I tried them on. I’m still an “in person” kind of guy for that stuff. Everything else was based on sizes I figured I knew that were pretty standard. Not so much. “Standard” sizes… aren’t. Give yourself time to make sure it all works.
Check the weather- I’m lucky in that Hagrid wears a great big coat that, at least in my case, is actually fantastic in the cold and rain. It is NOT fantastic on an 84 degree day when you’ll be required to walk six floors out of the convention due to a fire alarm. What you wear should, at least if you can, be tailored to the weather.
Being late- I was actually a little shocked to only see one other Hagrid among all the cosplay folks at Potterverse. It was kind of cool to be so close to unique. It was also time consuming. I got stopped for a lot of pictures along the way. Leave extra time in your schedule for stopping for pictures.
Something to say- cosplay is a live and in person kind of thing. People will want to interact with you. They will talk to you. Sometimes it will be nothing more than, “hey, that’s cool” or, “can we get a photo?”. Other times they might expect you to be able to say something relatively in character or want to grill you about your level of knowledge about the character you’re portraying.
When you’re done, you still have all that stuff. Some of the things, like boots, are good for other stuff. Some things are strictly part of your cosplay. Give some thought to when / if you might wear the whole thing again. Give some other thought to what you can recycle into other cosplay. Most importantly, figure out what you’re going to do with the stuff that doesn’t work with anything else. Hopefully you won’t have tons of things that are single outfit specific, but if you do where are you going to put them when you’re done.
Pictures. I don’t know how it’s been for any other cosplayer but my first experience was a whirlwind. Part of that was the convention I was at being a bit larger than expected, but another aspect was the entire experience was completely new. Those things combined into the simple fact that I forgot to get my own set of pictures. If not for the kindness of others I wouldn’t have any photos of my first attempt at all. Do your best to record what you’ve done. One day it will be cool to look back and see how far you’ve come.
In The End
I can say that I had a really fun time with my first ever cosplay. I was overwhelmed, stupid hot and lacking in witty banter but it was still fun. I am actually going to hold onto all the bits of the cosplay and work toward making small improvements as I see the chance. I’ll definitely wear this get-up again and I’m already considering what my next cosplay will be…
By Eric V. Hardenbrook
Mermaiding for a Cause
Sometimes it’s not just enough to do what you love. Hannah Fraser (known as Hannah Mermaid), inspired by the film Splash, created her first tail at age 9. Now she prefers to use a Finis Monofin. A talented free diver and swimmer, Hannah discovered that donning the tail and playing the part wasn’t enough. While she is an active advocate for the activity of mermaiding, she also became involved in conservation and awareness efforts around the state of her favorite place, the ocean. In 2003 she began to make her pastime a career, promoting herself as a freelance mermaid. She’s done everything from underwater fashion photography to conservationist videos, as well as advertising for Finis. Hannah works with an promotes such organizations as Surfers for Cetaceans, Greenpeace and Blue Sphere in their efforts to stop pollution, over fishing and unsustainable fishing practices and the hunting of whales, sharks and other species. She also makes her own tails, which are complicated pieces that create a fluid motion underwater. All in all, the little girl who dreamed of being a mermaid found a way to not only become one but use it as a strong female role model to advocate the preservation and care of our oceans and their inhabitants.