We here at The Nerd Stash hope you everyone is having a great start to their new year and we have our first cosplay spotlight for January. xRenascent has been an absolute pleasure to talk to and it was certainly exciting to find out about her Magilou build. This will be the first entry in a monthly cosplayer spotlight. My goal is to not only bring attention to these amazing people you meet at the cons but also to provide some insight for others looking to get into cosplay.
1. Thank you for sharing your Magilou Cosplay build with us and please tell me about it. What materials did you use?
Magilou was my most difficult cosplay to-date! She was super challenging to create, mostly due to her book skirt and hat. I had consulted some friends about some potential builds for both the skirt and hat. A friend suggested a great idea, which was to use D-rings and straps to have the books dangle around like Magilou’s book skirt in-game by hanging off a belt around my hips. The hat, however, I ended up making a crazy build which also made it transportable for cons and general travel–I used buckram for the inside of the hat to give the hat its shape, and instead of sewing it into the hat, I attached velcro to them so that they could either lay flat or form cones. This way, I could take it out and flatten it, instead of worrying about it getting crushed if I had to stuff it into a bag. The entire cosplay is also completely self-drafted, and I think the only things I bought were the belt (for the book skirt) and shoes (which ended up getting altered).
I used mostly cotton, knit fabrics, zippers, and elastic bands for the clothing, and used buckram for the hat, but for the accessories and detailing, I used a lot of leftover materials from previous cosplays which did save me some money–namely, craft foam, insulation foam (for the “meat” of the books), and a little bit of Worbla. As I also mentioned, I bought the belt and shoes.
2. Now, I understand you had somewhat of a wardrobe malfunction with this build? One of the books fell off?
Oy…yes! I was at Anime Expo and it was my very first time wearing Magilou. I was posing for a hallway photo when suddenly the center book on my book skirt just fell off the strap that was looped onto my belt. Thankfully, AX has a triage/repair station–but it was at the opposite side of the convention center. So I made my way over there, while still getting prompted for pictures with a slightly broken cosplay. Once I got to the triage/repair area, I was asked for my badge as collateral. While I was trying to remove my badge from the lanyard, I ended up bumping into the massive triage/repair sign and knocked it over, which ended up popping another book off of its strap! I felt so bad for knocking the sign over, especially because I couldn’t see my surroundings too well with my hat AND the fact that I had knocked it over pretty loudly. But I still laugh about this mishap to this day and share it with my friends who haven’t heard the story. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever forget this moment!
3. When you attend events in your cosplay, are you prepared for costume issues? Do you bring an emergency repair kit of sorts just in case?
Sadly, that issue with Magilou is not my very first wardrobe malfunction. I’ve had two other other issues, with one of them being pretty minor. One was with my Aqua cosplay from Kingdom Hearts, where the straps holding all 4 pieces of the arm armor were starting to come undone. The other one was my Lumina cosplay from Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, where the collar/neck piece keeping my dress up did not hold around my neck after so much movement (yikes!). After these experiences though, I’ll typically try to bring a mini kit with me as it seems like something may happen where I’ll need to fix my cosplay up. Usually, my kit will have some super glue, a sewing needle, and some thread. But if I’m absolutely sure that a con has a triage/repair station I’ll typically leave my kit at home.
4. When researching cosplay one can find themselves overwhelmed with the amount of information out there. Are there any specific tips and tricks or websites that have helped you in particular?
As far as tips go, I will say that making mockups, or doing tests (stress tests, movement tests, seeing if something will hold/stay the way it should, and so on) before actually moving on to the actual product will save you headaches and re-dos along the way. Also, plan ahead and thoroughly! I’ve experienced procrastination and con crunch a few times before, and I can say that it absolutely sucks having to stay up to try and finish something just in time for a con or a shoot the next day. While working on Magilou, I made it an effort to try and get at least an hour of cosplay work done in for each day, if not most days of the week. It stressed me out a lot less and it also gave me time to plan or resolve some challenges I had run into.
When I’m trying to find new methods or some general cosplay tutorials, I hop over to either DeviantArt or Youtube–and more recently, Instagram. I’m more of a visual learner, so having guides with photos (or videos) helped me a lot. I know that Evil Ted’s and Punished Prop’s foam videos are super helpful for anyone interested in making cosplays with foam. And as an added note, I think it’s more eye-candy per se, but I actually enjoy Kamui Cosplay’s WIP videos as I absolutely love to see how she and her husband work on her cosplays. It also gives me a bit of inspiration for my own cosplays sometimes!
I’m also involved on a Discord server completely dedicated to cosplay (Cosplayers United), and Cosplay Amino (a mobile app community for cosplay) as well. Both of these communities have been super helpful and supportive with one another, especially when it comes to asking for feedback or any sort of advice. Personally, I feel like reaching out to communities will help out tremendously as you can get different perspectives and methods from others with varying experiences on tackling a challenge.
5. Are you working on anything new for 2018?
2018 is going to be a crazy year for me! As of now, I’ve got 2 cosplays lined up for 2018, assuming I can finish one of them on time. I’ve got Kyoka Jiro from Boku no Hero Academia/My Hero Academia in the works, but I’m almost done with it! I just need to alter a few things and buy some boots and a choker. My other cosplay, which is my FFXIV AF3 (Artifact Armor 3) Ninja, has me a little nervous. I’m hoping to complete this by the start of summer, but all of the intricacies of the armor and the overall gear has me a little worried. I may also have a third cosplay lined up for 2018 since I got asked to join a group, although the group is still up in the air.
If you’re a cosplayer yourself or know someone that you think should be showcased, please be sure to reach out to me [email protected] or reply in the comment section here. I look forward to hearing from you.
Former professional wrestler, father of entirely too many kids but a gamer forever. I live just south of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. I went to school for Game Development and have been following my passion for gaming in top gear recently. --Pain heals, chicks dig scars, glory lasts forever