Cosplay: Art Nouveau Rogue

At MCM London the other week, I unveiled a new costume. I was part of an Art Nouveau superheroes group, as Art Nouveau Rogue. I thought it would be interesting to give new costumes a little write up, on the inspiration, the design and the build process, as well as the experience of wearing the thing.

Art Nouveau Rogue

Photographer: Sandy Smith Photography. Costume made by: Nettle Cosplay

We were inspired by Hannah Alexander‘s beautiful art nouveau redesigns of characters including Disney Princesses, Sailor Moon and Pokemon. We decided to create our own versions rather than copy one of her designs, and as we all already cosplay X-Men together, it seemed the obvious choice. Here’s the other girls, Tesseract Cosplay, who were Phoenix, Emma Frost and Ms Marvel. Ms Marvel’s photoshoot images aren’t back yet, so I’ve pinched her photo in the Iron Throne…

Art Nouveau Superheroes

Photos: Sandy Smith Photography, apart from Iron Throne.

For my costume, we combined the dress shapes from art nouveau pictures, and Rogue’s classic 90s colour scheme. The dress is low at the back too, which is so pretty, if bloody awkward for bra wearing. The dress is made in velvet, which was definitely pretty warm for that weekend, but looked beautiful. I was very pleased with the shoes I found too. I managed to find shoes in the perfect shade of deep golden yellow, that laced up the ankle like a ballet shoe. I was surprised how comfortable they were actually, despite the height of the heel.

Rogue Cosplay

Photographer: Sandy Smith Photography. Costume: made by Nettle Cosplay

The cloak was my favourite part. Made in velour, it’s soft to the touch and photographs really well. Plus it was windy, so I got some excellent cloak billowing going on. The gloves are the usual ones from my Rogue cosplay, but I plan on replacing them with some prettier ones, preferably a 1930s style driving glove, if I can find some in yellow or green.

MCM London Cosplay

Photographer: Sandy Smith Photography

Makeup wise, I attempted that classic 30s rosebud lip, where you under draw at the edges and overdraw the bottom lip. It looked great when I did it, but it was so hot, the lipstick was so soft it refused to stay, and just ended up a regular lipstick. It was a shame, but still looked good.

The flower crown I bought purely because it lit up, and I couldn’t find one in only yellow. This also will likely be upgraded later.

What do you think?

Has geek gone mainstream?

Mary Jane Watson

Photographer: Sandy Smith Photography

There was a time when geek was an insult. Being a geek meant being an unemployed, overweight man who spent your time in your mother’s basement, or it meant that if you asked the mainstream. It seems to me though, that after the whole ‘geek chic’ movement, geek has moved beyond being ‘cool’, and is now just…normal. Geek is the new mainstream.

Some of this mainstreaming can be put down to what’s on our screens. With Marvel Studios churning out hit after hit, our cinema screens have more than a touch of nerd. Sitting pretty in amongst the top ten highest grossing movies of 2017 so far are Logan,  Gaurdians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and The Lego Batman Movie. Still to come this year and sure to challenge that list? Thor: Ragnarok. Wonder Woman. Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Spider-Man: Homecoming. Noticing a theme? And that’s just this year.

The trend for geek is hitting or TV screens too. Everyone and their dog seems to be hooked on Game of Thrones, a series based on a pretty classic sword and sorcery style fantasy. Netflix has hit a home run with it’s Marvel offering, with what seemed like half the planet going gaga for Daredevil and Jessica Jones. 

Games of all times are looking pretty cool now. There are currently three game themed cafes near me (that I know of) offering a side of video games, table-top games or retro arcade games to go with your coffee. Among the list of YouTube’s highest earning stars are several Let’s Play or gaming channels, like Pewdiepie. 

What about fashion? Well, have have you been into a Primark recently? The high-street fast fashion giant has a range to keep any nerd happy, with clothing, accessories and home decor themed on Marvel and DC heroes, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pokemon…not to mention the outrageously popular Disney line. With the release of Suicide Squad, the beauty gurus took to YouTube to share tutorials on how to recreate Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn makeup. In this month’s Glamour Magazine a double page spread was dedicated to the runway collections which seemed to be influenced by the warrior women of Game of Thrones, The Force Awakens and Wonder Woman. 

Lately, my Facebook feed has been flooded with friends who probably wouldn’t define themselves as nerdy, sharing things like Harry Potter themed bar crawls, their reviews of Guardians of the Galaxy, or their excitement for the next MCU installment. Even cosplay isn;t weird anymore. Not so long ago, the first question I was always asked was what on earth cosplay was, whereas now, people come up to me in the kitchen at work, or walk over at blogging events, to tell me the character they’re harbouring a secret desire to cosplay.

Personally, I love it. The more the merrier. What do you think? Is geek still uncool, or are we at the cutting edge?

Cosplay 101: Pressure

Black Canary Cosplay

Photographer: Sandy Smith Photography

If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. But how far should you push yourself? For most of us, cosplay being more than a hobby is a distant dream. We can’t all be Jessica Nigri.

Despite the fact it’s meant to be fun, however, I do see a lot of cosplayers putting themselves under major pressure. With the internet, and cosplay Facebook pages, it is possible to become ‘cosplay famous’, but it also makes it very, very easy to make comparison with other cosplayers. We see them announcing guest bookings at conventions and wonder why nobody ever asks us. We see them getting adoring comments and wonder why our costume doesn’t inspire such devotion. We see them churning out a new costume every week, and spend an hour staring at our own bank account trying to find some spare cash to buy piles of worbla and LED lights. We see them with 30,000 likes and feel bad about our own numbers.

In a word? Don’t. Cosplay is meant to be fun. Agonising over success sucks all the joy from it. It’s also impossible to know how that other cosplayer got where they are. For all we know, they emailed 100 conventions before getting that one booking. They could be spending hundreds on Facebook ads to get those likes and those comments. Maybe they’re turning out costumes so fast because they’re wracking up some wicked credit card debt to buy supplies. Or maybe, they just have a bigger salary, or more time, than you to spend on these things. It can be tough, but not letting it get to you is important.

The best cure is to focus on you and your work. Mute those pages that make you feel crappy about yourself. Don’t go and look at them. There’s a drag saying; don’t get bitter, get better. If you think you deserve more success, the only way to get there is with some real hustle. Concentrate on creating the best costumes you can, and work hard on pushing your public profile. Get over your insecurities and make sure you’re posting content on social media every day. Be brave and a bit a cheeky and reach out to those booking cosplayers for events. That’s allowed. Make a polite enquiry, letting them know you’re interested in their event. You never know what might happen.