Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cosplay and recycling

Cosplay can be really expensive. And when you cosplay as double you easily get three digit number. When you need to buy two pairs of contact lenses, two wigs and twice the amount of fabric you just can't keep up with your ability to spend munny!

I try to avoid excessive consumption every day and naturally that affects costume making. There are many ways to cut down your expenses and one is recycling. Recycling can mean many different things. You can use old clothes as part of your costume, make props from found materials, alter your old wigs or plan your costumes so that you can use pieces of the older one for the new one.

Here is an example from our most resent cosplay which we both attended.

For our Jasdero and Debitto costumes half of the materials were recycled. Debitto's jacket and Jasdero's vest were made out of fake leather blazer, jacket, skirt and pants bought from flee market. Vest's armholes and hem are made out of old knit. Lining in Jasdero's vest and in both hoods are made of two stiched vests. Shoes we also hunted down from flee market. Golden paint we used for the guns was leftover from previous project like the black bodypaint we used for the make-up. Debitto's black wig was used on different character and Jasdero's was bought previously for other purposes. I made Debitto's black under shirt from scrap tricot I had and the white one from oversized mens T-shirt. Print was made with old fabric paint. Yoki made Jasdero's arm bandages from padding made out of scrap piece of cotton. Bandage she used was raided from the first aid kit. Yoki made the rings in Jasdero's head piece from aluminium sticks... again lefovers from previous costumes. We comissioned Jasdero's... uhum.... the light bulb thing from Esa. He made it from stuff he found from his work place.

The cable coming from Jasdero's has actually a light! Photo by Hiron from 2008.

What whe bought new for the costumes:

-few meters of thick satin for the pants

-satin ribbon for the pants and details
-two iron on patches and poppers for Debitto's jacket
-a half meter piece of white fake fur for the hoods and shoes (it was on discount in the fabric store, because it was cut incorrectly)
-one and a half meter of fake leather for the shoe covers
-four zippers for the shoe covers
-contact lenses
-grey bodypaint
-two toy guns

For the example cosplay we didn't use any innovative solutions which we usually want or need to find. Creativity will save you money especially if you happen to find promising materials from the street. The blue insulation material what we usually use for our props is quite expensive but you just might find few good pieces of it near construction sites. I just grab the little pieces from junk piles, but for bigger objects I ask permission. If your relatives are renovating their house you could possibly go trought their left overs. Look for chaulk, silicon, styrofoam, adhesive, paint, glue...

Using recycled material is one chapter, the other is tho re-usage of existing parts of the costumes. The most effective way to re-use is to look for character look-alikes. It's really easy to cosplay anyone from groups who have identical uniforms like Akatsuki from Naruto and Organization XII from Kingdom Hearts II. If you have cosplayed a character who has natural hair, not heavily styled and dintinctive kind you can easily alter the wig with wefts and different styling for different character. Personal opinion: styling is lot easier than dyeing. If the character has a different hair color but the style is same as your purchased one, buy a new wig.

For us the ultimate makeover wig is one that I bought ten years ago for my LARP character. Back then it was over shoulder lenght with soft curls. I used it once. The second time was when I graduated from high school. In Finland we have this masquarade thing before official graduation. Students dress up, throw candy for younger students, drive around the town on truck pallet throwing candy for random people, party and possibly get sick from driving around the town on truck pallet when it's snowing and cold in the middle of February... I didn't know anything about cosplay, but maybe Death from Sandman by Neil Gaiman was my first cosplay ever. After that the next time I used the wig was when I cosplayed Akon from Bleach. Then we made original characters, wig was used for Naoru. Last year I altered the wig with wefts for Debitto from D.Gray-man.

Wig evolution!

Contact lenses even for cosmetical use are costly, but they are definitely needed if you are pursuing detailed finish. Going trought your cosplay plan and finding characters with the same eye color is greatly advised. If you have many cosplays coming up try to put them in order so that the costumes for characters with same eye color are made inside a year timeline. In unfrequent use contact lenses stay wearable over the time the guideline says, if you remember to chance the liquid every now and then.

Recycling and cosplay takes effort, that's for sure. Another thing is imagination, but that comes along by itself when you toggle with materials looking for ways to put them in use. The unexpected materials we have picked up and used as part of the cosplays include mosquito net, tights (both in Mayuri's hat), plastic bottle necks and caps (attacments for the wings on Sasori's puppet body), straw mat (used in Akatsuki hats), lego bricks (Deidara's hawk eye) and Yoki made the base of Snufkin's pipe from rubber cork.

Anything is usable. Collect things and give your imagination a chance.

1 comment:

  1. really nice article,cosplayers should use everything to cosplay,especial when they make costumes or props themselves.