Interview with Lilacwire

It’s time for another interview, this time with Lilacwire! She’s a cosplayer in Colorado who’s extremely talented and creative!

Lilacwire out of costume, photo by Flourish Studio Photography

What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
My alias is Lilacwire. I chose it because I wanted a fun, memorable name that wasn’t closely related to my real one, just at an attempt to maintain some Internet anonymity. Plus, purple’s my favorite color. It all fit.

How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I’ve been cosplaying for 10 years. Back in college a friend of mine mentioned that he was going to an anime con and that I should come (this was Nan Desu Kan 3 or 4, I think). I’d been involved in the anime club for a few weeks and I thought it sounded like a great idea. I had always loved dressing up for Halloween, and with Final Fantasy VIII having been released the year before, I wanted to cosplay Rinoa. However, the more I thought about it, I realized that I couldn’t sew at all, so I had my mom help me make a Selphie costume!

Lilacwire as Kaylee in her ballgown from Firefly, photo by Lionel Lum

The con itself was a blast. Cosplay was still a very new thing; I couldn’t go more than a few feet all weekend without having my photo taken. It was such a positive experience I knew I had to do it again. By positive, I mean not only the enjoyment of getting photos taken, but I met people at that con that I still know to this day.

What have been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
When I costume, I’m all about the fabric. I love trying out different types of fabric to achieve the effects I need. Plus, it’s a great excuse to sew with some gorgeous materials. I like mixing fabric types – pairing a cotton with a dupioni, or overlaying something simple with a gorgeous see-through organza.

What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I’m really excited to do more huge ball gowns. I haven’t done much fabric draping in my costuming career, and I’ve been enjoying doing less patterned costumes and more fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants costumes. My next costume will involve a simple piece of fabric that I need to pattern myself to get the exact replica of the source material.

What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
Clean hems. After judging a few masquerades, I’ve gotten very appreciative of people who take them time to do hems that look nice. Typically, a costumer who does nice hems has paid that same kind of care to the rest of the costume – I love that! It’s not saying the costumers who don’t hem don’t love their costumes; this is more that a nice hem really makes work come together. It displays a sense of finish, rather than the costume looking like it was cut out that day. One cosplayer who exemplifies this type of work isBeverly. Even with the most simple of costumes, her hems and seams always are crisp and good-looking.

What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
I’ve mixed feelings about it. On the positive side, I think cosplay has given so much back to the people who try it. I’ve met so many smart, incredible friends by being involved in the scene – it’s something irreplaceable. On the negative side, I think the scene can foster unnecessary popularity contests. After all, cosplayers have so many different talents, and I think we can forget that even someone new on the scene can bring in a fresh solution to a costume.

Lilacwire as White Rose from Saga Frontier, photo by Idolatry Studios

What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
I’d like to see younger cosplayers, especially women, cosplay less for sexual attention and more for positive attention. I think many people can get trapped doing “sexy” outfits because it feels good to have people take their pictures. I’d love for more young cosplayers to try costumes they perceive to be out of their depth.

What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
Don’t be afraid, mess it up the first time. Avoid cardboard. Ask about techniques but don’t copy someone else’s finished work. If you’re not enjoying yourself, try something different.

What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
The most fun anime-specific convention I’ve attended is Anime Expo. There are so many incredible costumes and cosplayers there; it’s easy to come home from that con and want to start ALL the projects just because you’ve seen such amazing creativity. AX also has a vast range of contests, so there’s a good chance that if you can’t compete in the masquerade, you can display your work elsewhere.

The best genre convention (sci-fi/fantasy/comics/animation/etc.) I’ve attended is Dragon*Con. I’ve been slowly growing away from cosplay as a specific form of costuming (think cosplay = Japanese sources, costuming = Original/American/TV sources). Dragon*Con is the perfect place to take a costume that doesn’t have a home at an anime con. It’s a bit of an older crowd, so I feel more at home there than I do anime cons these days. Also, it’s so big that you never run out of things to do – you could party for 4 days straight!

Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
I struggle with armor on costumes, and I figured a way to use just vinyl and craft foam to make Wonder Woman’s metal armor look pretty realistic AND comfortable.

Lilacwire as Wonder Woman, photo by Rob Speed

Thanks for the interview, Lilacwire! To see more of her work, you can visit her website, her American Cosplay Paradise, and her Facebook page.

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About Yunie

I am a cosplayer, a nerd, a geek. I am whatever you call me. However, I have a brain and tend to use it.
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