WindoftheStars, for the last eight years, has created over 60 elaborate costumes, that originate from movies, video games, comics, anime & manga. Many of her costumes have received prestigious awards and have been featured in print and online publications around the world, and have given her the privilege of being invited as a Guest of Honor, Judge, Booth Model and Panelist at conventions. Currently, her hobby has lead her to become a professional tailor/seamstress at a top tier alterations shop in Northern Nevada. Read below for the full interview…
What I love about you the most is your take on very common cosplay costumes, like Cammy and Borderlands. How are you able to achieve a unique shoot from cosplays done in the past by many people? What is your mindset going into it?
WotS: First off, thank you! Almost every single costume I go into making, I start with a very precise vision of how I want it to look in my head. Of course this changes from costume to costume based on how I want to bring the costume and character to life. One thing I really try to stress in my costume construction is texture, colors and most important, fabric choices (all things that I can go on forever about when talking about costume theory). To me, every part of the costume plays a relevant part in portraying and telling a story about that character. For example, when I was in the beginning stages of Lilith, I knew that my fabric choices would play a big roll in making it look like an outfit of a vault hunter on Pandora. I chose heavy denim, a leather looking material, and other natural fiber materials for her because when I thought what my clothes might look like if I were on Pandora, I knew they would be articles that would be tough enough to hold up to living in that harsh environment. I also thought of settlers of new lands would be similar to a new inhabitant of Pandora. These people don’t often have a lot of money when they arrive to new territories, so the material in their clothing would be cheap yet functional. This mindset also carried over to aging the costume. Most of the pieces in Lilith’s costume have been bleached and/or dyed. And I even used spray paints to make it look like there is a layer of dust on everything. When it comes to the actual shoot, again I usually have a mood and/or setting in mind. Sometimes I will also discuss with my photographer(s) before hand who the character is and what type of look I’m going for, so together we can create our visions together. And like any character you cosplay, I do take time to study the characters facial expression, body language and just overall demeanor in hope that I can mimic it for the shoot. I also admit that when I can cosplay some one as cool as Lilith or Cammy, my enthusiasm for the character really comes out once I’m in costume. This translates into mentally being that character for the shoots. In essence I really like to get into my character sometimes!
What challenges do you run into doing a steampunk cosplay/shoot.
WotS: The biggest problem I have ran into thus far is when I have to nix or change a design that I was really set on. I spend a lot of time drawing out different designs and ideas, and when I have to suddenly change it midstream I get a little frustrated. For example, my latest outfit looks way different than the design I original came up with. Three days before I had to have the outfit ready, I had to make my outfit warmer since our weather drastically changed. I drew up at least three to four different coverings from arm warmers, to caplets to full on coats, and nothing worked. I even got nearly done with construction of a caplet, to only end up scrapping it in the end. For me, once I have an idea or direction I want to go with in a steampunk or any original outfit, I’m pretty dead set on it. Another challenge is finding the right accessories. Clothing is a little easier, since I can sew whatever I need, but a lot of times I really want items that are authentic or at least look that way. So finding pieces to make things look that particular can take while. Takes a lot of hunting in second hand stores, antiques stores, and you learn to always keep your eyes open for things that look steampunk and could be used in future projects.
Could you give us some insight on working with casting resins? The medium can open up many versatile ways to craft and many struggle with its usage.
WotS: Of course! Casting with resins is a lot easier than it appears to be. A lot are user friendly and offer easy mixing ratios like 1:1. There are others that require to be mixed by weight, but for people starting out I would recommend products with a 1:1 ratio. Less chance of something going wrong in the mixing. With any material, you need to know the right product for the right application. For example, epoxy resin is a slower curing resin that cures to a clear constancy, so it’s great for making gems. While you can use it for mass production, the cure time of 24hrs makes the process very slow. Where as there are plastic resins that cure opaque and in 15 minutes, great for pumping out a lot of copies real quick with out having to make a bunch of molds. Your molding material is also very important. While I’ve seen people use clay, putties, latex (which I used to used and learned is a no-no!), the best molding material is silicon. It has the best detail retention, pretty easy to work with, and allows for quite a few casts. This is a pretty in-depth topic, so anyone that is wanting to learn more can visit my site that has video tutorials on this topic, or they can contact me directly.
We know you love Sailor Moon! Which anime would you like to cosplay from the old school days that you haven’t had a chance yet?
WotS: Oh yes! Sailor Moon will always be a series I continue to cosplay from. There are quite a few villains from Sailor Moon that have been on the perpetual “to-do” list for years. Aside from that, I’ve always wanted to do Sizer from Violinist of Hamelin and Kei from Dirty Pair. There are couple others but those two are at the top of my list. Weather or not I’ll actually do them, is another question.
If you were going to cosplay Morrigan from Darkstalkers, how would you design it? I know you had a unique vision for it.
WotS: Sexy, dark and over-the-top are the words that come to mind for a Morrigan costume. Let’s face it, one of the most alluring things about her character is the sex appeal and how she uses it in her favor. Sexy yet deadly, the purest definition of a succubus. Keeping that in mind I know I would want the body suit to have a nice sound understructure with a possible corset underneath to help give the silhouette that she has. The wings would be no doubt the toughest part of the costume. While I still haven’t troubleshooted on how to do them, I have done lots of research on possible ways to accomplish them. I do know I want to give the wings a realistic feel. Ideal I would like to coat the outsides in latex or silicon to give it that skin like texture. While the design looks simple, don’t let it fool you! The most simple designs sometimes come out to be the most difficult to pull off.
Every cosplayer has weak points and strong points. If you were being completely honest with yourself, what would you say the area you would like to become stronger in?
WotS: I would say it would be a tie between body make-up and posing. I’ve done body make-up costumes in the past, used many different make-ups and techniques, yet I always feel that I have done a sub-par job. For instance, I felt pretty confident and satisfied with the crafting parts of my Duela Dent costume, but my body make-up was so troublesome for that costume that all I notice in photos is the bad wear on the make-up. While I have gotten Lilith’s down okay, I’m still not 100% happy with the results and feel like I can do better in either selecting a better product of finding a better technique. Alas that is the road travel by any cosplayer. Costume construction is 90% making mistakes, 10% learning from said mistakes. As for posing, I also struggle with it and generally have to ask if what I’m doing doesn’t look stupid. While the last few years I feel I have gotten quite a bit better, but it’s still a work in progress.
Now that cosplay is getting more popular, the community is getting a bit nastier in terms of a popularity contest. What do you think cosplay in general, needs to do, in order to change it back to a more care-free fun environment?
WotS: In all honesty, I’m not sure if it can change back to how it was 10 years ago. Cosplay is way different compared from when I first started back in 2004 and now. I feel that the community as a whole is changing due to the increased popularity, sponsorships, contests, ect. While I don’t think these things are necessarily good or bad, I think how each person approaches it is what is really important. It’s good that you want to work hard and try to achieve these highly sought after goals, but you have to remember to stay grounded. By that I mean, you have to keep the reasons why you cosplay as a personal thing. Cosplay because you love the creative challenge and/or because you love the character/series. Don’t cosplay solely to become popular; that’s like chasing the end of a rainbow. If you happen to be successful in your cosplaying endeavors, then more power to you. I know if I did this crazy hobby just to gain some sort of internet fame I would have stopped a long time ago. At the end of the day, the idea of dressing up as my favorite badass vault hunter video game babe and getting to feel even 1/10th as badass as her, is way more satisfying then knowing I’m “popular” on the internet.
A lot of people, alternatively, get into cosplay to become famous in order to attract the newfound videogame industies recruitment of cosplayers for advertisements. What are your feeling towards women taking advantage of cosplay to acquire endorsements? Have you even seen any instances of this?
WotS: My thoughts on this are very similar to the above answer. If you get into cosplay solely to acquire these endorsements, then I have to argue that you aren’t really cosplaying. To me that sounds more like a model auditioning for a gig if that is the only reason why a person would put on a costume in the first place. For cosplayers I would say the majority of us make and wear a costume out of some sort of passion, not trying to get an advertising gig. For some, they make a costume because of their love for that character or series. For others, it’s for the creative challenge of making a 2D character come to life. Both of these examples are fueled by the passion to create something they love. Now if a cosplayer happens to get these endorsements, then lucky them! I can’t think of one person that wouldn’t love to be spokesperson for his/her favorite game, anime or comic. I personally don’t have any issue with a cosplayer that gets recognized for their hard work on a costume and for their passion of series. I’m sure their are women, or even males, that have gone out there just to get the endorsements, but unless you talk to them it’s hard to say 100% what their motives were for cosplaying.
Lastly, where can we see you in 2012/2013? Any exciting news or future cosplays we can look forward too?
WotS: I’m still sorting out 2013 plans, so the best thing to do is check back with me. I always post my con schedule on my site if anyone is curious. As for costumes, well a LOT of Borderlands stuff is in the works. Looking forward to some really awesome projects that a few friends and I are working on. Seriously, it’s going to be epic and I can’t wait to get started on it. I have some new Sailor Moon stuff planned as well. So pretty much 2013 looks like Borderlands & Sailor Moon cosplay for me.
Want to stay up to date on her plans and future costumes? Follow her cookie crumb trail below: