You might remember our Alice in Steampunkland feature interview from the pilot issue of the Cosplay Gen magazine. Well here it is in its full glory, the interview with 3 of the group members (Bandit Ying, Dan The Farmer and Cvy), to which we also added a few photos of the more complete Alice in Steampunkland team , counting up to 13 members. It’s really great to see such an amazing original project brought to life by talented cosplayers.
Cosplayers: Plhu, Ashteyz, Jesuke, Reiyu-verse, BanditYing, Tsuiyn, XiaoBai, Cvy, Presencez, Rescend, Blacklash | Photo by Kaze
Years of Cosplay: 8 years
Dan the Farmer
Years of Cosplay: 6 years
Years of Cosplay: 8+ years
Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland, a story about a girl named Alice who winds up in a fantasy world full of creatures when falling into a rabbit hole, has influenced many works along the way since its debut in 1865 and its impact can be seen even in comics or manga and anime. Cosplayers Bandit Ying, Dan The Farmer and Cvy, inspired by both steampunk culture and Alice in Wonderland’s fantasy world, have made their own original version, with the best of each, a steampunk Alice in Wonderland crossover.
Alice in Steampunkland cosplay & interview
Cosplayer: BanditYing | Photo by Adrian Song
Cosplay Gen: There are many works based on Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland out there, how did you come up with the idea of making a steampunk version of this?
Steampunk inspired us, so it’s actually the other way round. We have been looking into steampunk works because of their beautiful intricacy. And Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is well-loved by many, including us, so we thought it would be interesting having the best of both into one, since we saw there was room for creativity and imagination.
Cosplayer: Dan The Farmer | Photo by Adrian Song
CG: Who made the costumes? Did you each make them individually or was there one mastermind behind them all?
We made them individually.
Cosplayer: Cvy | Photo by Adrian Song
CG: What was the idea behind every costume, how and why did you modify it from the original characters from the Alice in Wonderland series?
Ying: My interpretation of Alice is a dark Alice. Not a totally dark Alice, but an Alice who’s got a little bit of spice. Greed and envy are added in to Alice’s innocence and naïve personality. Hence, black is quite a big part of the costume’s color scheme. I tried to take note of the Victorian era and Alice’s original costume and mix and match the elements in it.
Dan: I’d be the one person here who hasn’t done a thorough research on a Card Soldier! After browsing through possible images of how people of the steam power era dressed, I got to the conclusion that I wanted my image of a Card Soldier to be someone who dresses smartly, like a gentleman you’d see walking on the street. But when he draws out his weapon at the Queen’s order, this gentleman’s look is shown to be just a façade. A man of few words, but with a determination to fulfill the Queen’s order, which is proven through his actions as he hunts down the offender. I would imagine a Card Soldier to have large white rectangular pieces attached to the front and back of the body, but that’s the fairytale everyone has read. When I was introduced to the era where steam powered engines ruled, my imagination ran amok! Though I fear I have yet to carry out the feel of an Upper Class Soldier, I will do my best for the next time around!
Cvy: I love new ideas and creations. Steampunk itself is a very fascinating subculture, and for it to be infused into a character that is already well-known, that adds to the challenge of creating a new personification with steampunk elements, while retaining the original attributes of the White Rabbit.
Cosplayers: BanditYing, Cvy, Dan the Farmer | Photo by Zerartul
CG: What was the most difficult part in every costume?
Ying: The costume is made up of my own clothes that I already had in my wardrobe. I mixed and matched the clothes, and made a belt and the wing on my back as part of the costume design. As it was a ready-made, I didn’t find much challenge in the costume part.
Dan: I’d say the pre-planning. Ideas are often drafted out which then require a lot more brainstorming and creativity to ensure the accuracy of a planned design. “Does this work?” or “Will that be good enough?” and perhaps “Maybe I can do something here?” – there are clearly lots of questions.
Cvy: The initial stage of designing the White Rabbit in human form. In cosplay, you have the character as a reference to follow, whereas for this project, we had nothing to start with but a concept.
Cosplayers: Jesuke, Cvy, Ashteyz, Rescend, Presencez, Blacklash | Photo by Kaze
CG: Tell us more about the accessories/props. Was it also hard to find the right materials? Did you make them by hand and/or with the help of others? White Rabbit’s clock looked especially hard to make.
Ying: I chose lightweight materials, as I had to wear the props and carry them for at least a few hours. The gears and axles were made by myself, and I tried to make the design look slightly different. I spent a lot of time trying to find the correct accessories which would match the steampunk look. Craft foam boards are the base for most of my hand armors. As for the Red Queen’s heart, Cvy and I came up with the idea to have the heart kept in a cage.
Dan: My wristband was inspired by an image I saw online. I had gotten some small and pretty accessory bits that could fit the bill, so voilà! I completed the wristband before moving on to the rifle.
I was grateful to receive a proto-rifle from Cvy to begin my prop-making. The idea of decorating and making it into my lead prop made the whole decoration process as tough as costumeplanning. Mine is the simplest out of us all, but believe me, drafting and cutting the gear parts was a killer. I was most amused at how my teammates could craft out so many gears without feeling gear-giddy! I had spare golden sheets from previous times, so I used those to decorate the front and back part of my rifle. I measured out the areas I wanted to cover with the golden sheet and traced out a design, combining spades and gears.
In the images I saw, most gentlemen completed their looks with a tall hat, so I created a mini version to attach to the side of my head, with an Ace of Spade and Ace of Heart cards to top it off. That seemed in the end to have been a bad idea – I was sometimes mistaken for the Mad Hatter himself!
Cvy: I designed and made the entire costume and props. The greatest help I had was from cosplaying for many years, learning and experimenting on my own. I applied a lot of my past cosplay experiences into this project, so it wasn’t too brain-frying to put all my research together and create this from scratch, although there were times when I got frustrated.
For the clock needles to work like an actual clock wasn’t difficult, because I already had a little battery-operated gadget. My main concern was to build a battery outlet and have some parts able to be easily dismantled, in order to make adjustments to the gears. Also, most importantly, to have it sturdy and light-weight for transportation. There are still many more improvements to be made, and if I had the time I might modify it.
Cosplayer: Jesuke | Photo by Shiro Ang
CG: The photoshoot location was very fitting for your steampunk theme, where did you have the photos shot? Was it hard to find the place?
We were fortunate to find pictures of this abandoned location, taken by a couple of adventurous local photographers, on Flickr. And one of our photographers, Zerartul, had been at the same place for some of his other cosplay photoshoots, so he brought us over. Singapore is tiny, so it’s quite easy to go from one place to another.
Cosplayers: Plhu, Reiyu-verse, BanditYing, Tsuyin, XiaoBai | Photo by Kaze
CG: You’re all cosplayers, how did it feel to have your own original version of a series instead of cosplaying the original characters?
Ying: I felt more inspired and carefree while making the costume and props. And it led me to experiment more, play around with it.
Dan: Marvelous; anything could become something when you put it to good use – that’s what I learned from this experience. To merge steampunk with “Alice in Wonderland” really put me into a thinking frenzy, as I’m not a creative person. I have both my teammates to thank for all the inspiration and encouragement they have given me so far!
Cvy: Unlike cosplay, which is kind of like an imitation of an already existing image, but in the flesh, this was something I could proudly claim as my own, from head to toe.
Cosplayer: Cvy | Photo by Shiro Ang
CG: Do you have any cosplayers as well as original costume designers that currently inspire you?
Ying: Erm. Nope, not right now.
Dan: I’m not majoring in Design/Fashion so I actually know very little about costume designers. But I do have a couple of cosplayers whom I really admire for their high level of costume-making, prop-making, and the atmosphere they create through their photos. Their achievements are what motivates me all along!
I watch Project Runway, a reality TV show that focuses on fashion design and its incredible out-of-the-world tasks. For example, sewing clothes only using materials from a car or from a supermarket. It makes you think, and it makes you see things in a different light, which is especially helpful in cosplay when you have a tight budget and can only use the simplest materials. I also drew a lot of inspiration from this talented team: outlandarmour.com
Cosplayers: Tsuyin, XiaoBai | Photo by Shiro Ang
CG: Is it your goal to become professional cosplayers or are you doing this just for fun? Do you seek a career in cosplay such as others?
Ying: To me, cosplay is a hobby. It’s difficult to see cosplay as a career for me. I like the characters I cosplay. If I don’t like the character, it’s very difficult for me to be making a costume and props, and do the character. I like to feel and know how I should react as the character when I am in costume.
Dan: I believe for many of us the word is “passion”. To make it into a profession is something I don’t think will come true, because my true desired profession lies elsewhere!
Cvy: I do it for fun, and to show how much I love a series by crafting it, plus the treasured moments I have with friends who share the same interest.
// Interview by Cristian Botea
more great photos of this project
Cosplayer: Blacklash | Photo by Swift-wing
Cosplayer: LennethXVII | Photo by Windy
Cosplayers: Rescend, LennethXVII, Blacklash | Photo by Swift-wing
Cosplayers: Blacklash, LennethXVII, Cvy, Rescend | Photo by Windy
Cosplayers: Amaegari, BanditYing | Photo by Adrian Song
Cosplayer: Reiyu-verse | Photo by Shiro Ang
Cosplayer: XiaoBai | Photo by Windy
Cosplayers: Jesuke, Ashteyz | Photo by Shiro Ang
Cosplayers: Tsuyin, Xiaobai | Photo by Shiro Ang
Cosplayer: Plhu | Photo by Shiro Ang
Cosplayer: Plhu | Photo by Shiro Ang
Cosplayer: Plhu | Photo by Shiro Ang