Years of Cosplay: 8
Creating costumes on your own is not just dress-making. LennethXVII tells us a gripping tale of pushing ahead in the face of incredible odds, measured in sacrifice and immense perseverance that every cosplayer will appreciate. Growing up in a cosplay world entails challenges that only now we can fully recognize. Sleepless nights, constant precision work and tireless improvisation are needed to bring forth such glamorous divas.
Cosplay Gen: What is the costume you’ve had the most trouble with and how did you manage to complete it in the end?
LennethXVII: Honestly speaking, there are many costumes I had a lot of trouble with, because of time constraints/sourcing etc, though at times it may not look like it. But if to choose, I would say KOS-MOS ver.4 from Xenosaga Episode III – Also sprach Zarathustra. At that time, it seemed almost like a curse! I love KOS-MOS as much as Lenneth from Valkyrie Profile, and debuted at a local event (Cosfest 2008); that costume itself was already a redo.
I first rushed it for an event 2 years before, in 2006, but because of my lack of experience in handling armour, the securing of the pieces onto my body started to show its flaws on the debut day. Thus I made the painful decision of scraping it. For the second try, I decided to pick up the challenge once more and learn from the mistake I made then. The main surface of the armour and weapon is made from art card, with much experimenting and measuring for countless prototypes before settling down on its final version. I made the headgear functional, and also equipped with a light like she had in the game.
As much as I was aware that the cut of her costume isn’t flattering, I tried to control it within proportion. I suffered many cuts, burns, and sleepless nights working on it, but whilst almost completed, I was cheated by a cosplayer who underhandedly shipped me a wig she did not want, instead of buying it from a wig shop in Taiwan like she promised. As I had no other choice, I paid twice the amount to have it customized from China. While panicking and dyeing a light purple unused wig as last resort, the postman came by! But, unfortunately, that was not the end to it.
Finally, the event day came, and I was all dressed; but I knew that to me it was not good enough. The costume could be more fitted, the armour pieces could be used with another material to be sturdier, the wig could be thicker….etc. I am usually very harsh on self-QC. But the need to pull myself together to still give a good portrayal and be proud of my work is necessary.
I wore the costume for only 2 hours, bearing extreme pain, as I chose to wear a pair of boots that were too small, just because the design of the heel was accurate. Moreover, the light bulb in my headgear burnt through the protection layer, injuring my forehead. I was pretty much unable to walk for 2 hours and had to be tended to by several friends, who massaged my cramped feet and disinfected my wound.
Above all that, I did not have a decent shot at all! It was basically a nightmare, but I am still glad I went through the process, as I learnt a lot from this tough lesson.
as Okita Souji (Hakuouki: Shinsengumi Kitan) // Photo by CVY
Cosplay Gen: If there’s a past costume you would redo, which one would it be and why?
LennethXVII: The chances of me redoing a costume are pretty weak, because when I start and complete a costume, I treat it as a one-time shot, considering all the effort, time and money I invest in it. Nevertheless, the same as many other cosplayers, the costumes whose quality I would like to increase are probably my earlier ones. Reason being having matured further in this hobby, I could nitpick on more details. But, more importantly, at that time there was no tailor whom I felt was good or open-minded enough to break away from the traditional mindset in dress-making. The costumes I commissioned them were usually disappointing to me, despite the fact that it was just the base costume, with no further details. As we all know, in cosplay there is just about any kind of costume! I had a stronger confidence in cosplaying only after starting to sew all my costumes by myself; like this I am more cautious and I can only blame myself, and not others, for any mistakes.
However, other than KOS-MOS, I would wish to redo Ignis (Jingai Makyou), as that costume was not personally sewn, and there were certain areas of the cosplay that could be better. I would want to portray her character better now.
as Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland, original steampunk version) // Photo by roxwindy
Cosplay Gen:What is the most fulfilling thing in cosplay for you?
LennethXVII: The indescribable sense of achievement, satisfaction, and pride of your work, for the effort used in the portrayal of the characters you love so much. Being in this hobby for 8 years and looking back, the struggle of constant wishes of improvisation and precision does bring warmth to my heart. I appreciate and humbly thank anyone who comments on my costumes, because I have learnt a lot from the inspiring cosplayers around me whom I can trust when they tell me I have done well.