Years of Cosplay: 11

Naples, Italy

You already have a broad range of characters and many complex costumes. Tell us a bit about your evolution as a cosplayer and how you see yourself today in the worldwide cosplay scene.
When I first got into cosplay, there were very few Italian cosplayers around, and the general mindset towards cosplaying (from materials, up to building techniques and competitions) was completely different from what it has become. In some respect, I have to admit it was better then than it is now.

Very little of the first costumes I made was actually done by me. I used to seek help from a friend’s mom for sewing or bought clothes which I could modify and adapt to turn them into costumes (I wasn’t really handy with sewing patterns at the time).

I began experimenting with my mom’s sewing machine and learnt by myself – after a lot of botched stitching – how to create an outfit from scratch. Cosplayer friends introduced me to a wide variety of materials and techniques for creating costumes and accessories. Tutorials were helpful, no doubt, but actually having someone by your side to help you along is an entirely different matter.

When I became friends with NadiaSk, she also became my mentor and cosplay partner. Together, we were selected for competing at international events such as World Cosplay Summit and European Cosplay Gathering and we also won several awards.

My current job leaves me with very little spare time, which means I can no longer churn out ten costumes per year like I used to – I’m currently down to three, at best. At the same time, I don’t invest a lot of money into cosplay anymore, since my priorities have changed. Being invited to events, selling autographed prints and the occasional sponsorships allow me to go on with this hobby, which I would never want to quit.

Your Orianna coplay was the best costume at CUSplay PISA. How do you relate to this character and what personal touches did you bring to it?
I’ve always been an avid gamer, but my studies, and later my job, forced me to seriously cut down on my gaming hours. When Riot launched League of Legends, however, I discovered once again the joy of late-evening gaming sessions with my friends (I appreciated the fact that the XP is reset after every match, unlike other MMORGs which require a lot of time and effort for players to achieve a decent level).

The moment I set my eyes on Orianna, I fell in love with her character, not just because of her sad background story, but also for her captivating steampunk-ish ragdoll-like design.

I had a little trouble figuring out a way to achieve the ‘levitating’ look of her skirt, which seems to orbit around her as if suspended in midair. I ended up using a plastic basin, cutting the bottom and resting the cut edge on my butt: the top edge of the basin would sit a few inches away from my waistline and, when I suspended the skirt from it, it looked like the skirt was floating around my belly. You can check out WIP pictures of this costume on my Facebook page.

What are your favorite costumes so far and how do you usually choose a character? Do you have a favorite genre or subject?
Tough question, I really can’t say. Each and every costume I make is special to me in some way: it’s either because of the circumstances which brought about its creation, its sentimental value, or a particularly challenging and fun construction process. I don’t have a favorite genre, I choose certain characters because I like their design, whether they’re from a comic book or a videogame. Sometimes, I look nothing like the character I’m trying to replicate and it’s always fun to try and adapt the original design to my proportions, in order to pull off a convincing cosplay. Other characters, on the other hand, look very much like me, so it’s a bit easier.

Of course, if you choose to cosplay a character you know nothing about, you won’t be able to effectively convey its personality traits and its unique features, which could result in a poor live performance and ineffective pictures; I believe that knowing how to play a character is just as important as making a good costume.

What is the most difficult costume you’ve made and how long did it take to make it?
Yet another tricky question. I’ve been getting a little bit better year after year and I’ve improved my technique; therefore, eight years ago, I would have probably thought that my first costume was the most difficult I had ever made. I can tell you that the most time-consuming costume I ever made was Guardian Force Siren from FFVIII: it took me three months to design, paint, and assemble the wings I wore on my head: it was a grueling task! I had toyed with the idea of making a Silene costume from Devilman, but…well, after that experience I decided to pass! XD

Tell us some interesting personal experiences from your interaction with the Italian cosplay scene. How is cosplay in Italy?
I’d say cosplay in Italy is quite competitive, maybe more than in other countries. Traveling abroad to attend fairs and events and meeting cosplayers from all around the world allowed me to understand what we have in common with our foreign colleagues and what our differences are (comparing, for example, Latin countries such as Italy, Spain, Mexico and Brazil with Asia or Russia). We all have our own way to view cosplay and that’s true both on a personal, and national level. It’s also a generation-related factor: us ‘veterans’ have a different mindset than our younger counterparts. Competitions, Likes on Facebook, photos, the quest for the reproduction of a costume down to its tiniest detail or its creative reinterpretation…these are the subjects which regularly pop up when we talk about cosplay.

I guess that our tradition of Mardi Gras, which we share with several other countries, and the habit of dressing up for the occasion created the cultural premises for cosplay to become so popular in Italy.

Are there any cosplay skills you’d like to refine in the future?
Rather than learning new skills, what I would really enjoy is some extra time to invest into cosplay. I’d definitely love to learn how to sculpt foam (that’s something you see more and more). I’d also like to exploit my professional architecture skills to create and print 3D designs but, more importantly, I would like to focus on having fun and leave behind that part of our community which is incapable of having a healthy attitude towards our hobby; something social media and the kind of dubious comments they seem to fuel is partially responsible of. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve met many cosplayers from all around the world and we’ve always helped one another in the design of outfits and props. Sharing and having fun are two single skills we all should hone the most 🙂



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