By: Alia Khan
Have you ever gone to a Halloween party, comic-con, geek market or the opening night of a Harry Potter movie (when they were still coming out, of course) and thought, “Wow. I am so underdressed.”
Yeah, that happens to me all the time.
But fear not because there are those amazing people who put in the time and effort to create beautiful (and seriously accurate) costumes! And one of them happens to be an Ottawa local, Kimiko Miura. When she’s not attending about a million geeky conventions in the Ottawa/Montreal/Toronto area she can be found: watching the latest animes, thinking about her next tattoo, and wondering, “What can I cosplay next?!”
Kimiko first got into cosplay almost ten years ago. She was attending an anime convention called NarutoU. She was inspired by the people in attendance, many of whom were dressed in impressive costumes. In the beginning, she bought costumes online from different sellers, such as Miccostumes and Cosplay House. Soon after, she started planning her own creation to wear at different conventions. Her first handmade costume was a character, named Tsukuyo, from the anime Gintama.
What’s great about cosplay is that you can make both complex and simple costumes. It gives you the opportunity to explore the different characters you love from tv shows, cartoon, books etc. If you’re a person that loves DIY projects and have an equal love of dressing up, then this might be for you! I asked Kimiko a few things about what it takes to make your own costume, just to get us started.
When you first started creating your own costumes, were you scared or nervous?
K: Scared, a little bit. I only started cosplaying when I found out that there was an anime convention in Toronto called Anime north. I bought my first cosplay online and I was nervous to wear it for the first time but excited as well. I have met life long friends from attending that convention (and others). To be honest, if I hadn’t have done it I wouldn’t be where I am now. Though starting armour is another story. My first armour took me hours and hours and slowly I’ve been getting better and still learning!
Have you ever had a costume emergency?
K: Oh many, many, many times. And if it’s not me, it’s somebody else. At this point, in doing it for so long, I’ve had many emergencies with the majority of my cosplays, things like it being too hot and the glue rips off the strapping to my armour, to geat warping props to seams ripping. To be honest, if it isn’t me having issues its a lot of the time everyone around me. I have a lot of friends who call me a “con mom” when someone has an issue. I usually can craft up a way to fix malfunctions. Like using duct tape to fix a friends armour!
What are some basic materials in every costume makers toolkit?
K: I believe in a basic cosplay toolkit is the beginning or the end of a cosplay if something happens or if something breaks you can count on your kit; especially if you go to a convention or event and there is no “cosplay corner” where they give you supplies to fix the problem. So basic necessities would be: sewing supplies like a couple of needles (just in case you drop one and it disappears into oblivion, it’s happened many times). Accompanied buy thread of the colours you have in your cosplay. A hot glue gun (with glue sticks!) Can also help you in a tight pinch if sewing cannot fix the problem. You can always hot glue yourself into cosplay if worst comes to worst (though honestly don’t do it unless it’s a last resort.) Many things can happen, but glueing yourself in can also be dangerous. Hot glue burns really hurt. Scissors, safety pins, super glue, extra foam/worbla (if you’re an armour maker) even extra fabric will help you out as well.
Do you only cosplay characters you’re familiar with?
K: I’ve had a couple cosplays happen just because I was asked to join a group – or if I seen them and really liked the design. I find I tend to cosplay the less “known” characters because I find them interesting, but slowly I’m starting to get into wanting to cosplay the main characters; but to be honest cosplay is wearing whatever you’re a fan of and just because many people may not know who you are showing your love and support for it is really all that matters.
What character are you planning on cosplaying next?
K: My next cosplays are actually going to be pretty big builds. I will attempt to make Arenea Highwind from Final fantasy XV. I am really stoked to make it! Hopefully I will have her finished for KupoCon in December! The next one after that will be Xayah from Leauge of Legends. Its a lot of fabric work, but I’m excited!
The moral of the story here, kids, is that: you can play any character you want, always have a hot glue gun, and everyone gets scared the first time around.
If you’re just starting out, here are some easy to put together costumes…
1. Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service
2. Velma from Scooby Doo