It’s time for another interview, this time with Rynn! She’s a cosplayer in Illinois, who makes beautiful costumes and even competed in the World Cosplay Summit!
What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
I go by “Rynn”, which is a variation of my real name, Kathryn (the extra “n” was added because someone on Cosplay.com already had the username “Ryn” when I registered). I wanted a name that was short and easy to pronounce that wasn’t tied to a particular fandom. It’s a bit boring considering I could have chosen any name in the world, though I’m happy it’s nothing something particularly embarrassing like, “SexyKawaiiMoonAngelDesu”.
How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I have been cosplaying for about 7 years now, though I didn’t learn how to sew until 2006. I stumbled across some cosplay photos on Google one day and knew I wanted to try it for myself. I always enjoyed playing dress-up and I was a big anime fan, so the concept of cosplay really clicked for me. In 2003, I dragged some like-minded friends to my local anime convention (Anime Central) and we dressed up as the Princesses from Sailor Moon. I had so much fun, I’ve been doing it ever since.
What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
I really enjoy making shoes. Interesting shoes seem to be a staple in anime/video game character design and, although the weird designs can be intimidating, I love the ingenuity and wide range of materials involved in the building process.
What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I am really eager to expand/improve my prop-making skills. I have been using the same materials for years (craft foam, paper clay, model magic, cardboard, etc.) and I feel like it’s time to upgrade my arsenal. Specifically, I would like to experiment with sintra and Styrospray.
What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
I really appreciate long-term durability. We all have costumes that were thrown together in a week that look great on the outside but fall apart after 2 days of walking around a con. I think it takes a lot of self-discipline (and a lot more work) to construct a costume that will withstand the elements and appears clean and finished, inside and out. I am so inspired by cosplayers whose costumes look as good as person as they do in photos!
What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
I truly believe that the cosplay scene is what you make of it. We are some of the most talented, artistic, resourceful and dedicated group of geeks you will ever meet. However, I think a lot of people become so wrapped up in the hobby that they forget the essence of what we are – nerds in costume. Elitism and jealously are the poison within our community and how you choose to deal with the negativity will ultimately affect your happiness as a cosplayer. In my opinion, ignorance (to a point) is bliss and it’s important to focus on the things that make you happy, whether it’s the joy of making costumes, performance, photoshoots, friends, travel or the dream of reeling in a hot cosplay boyfriend (good luck with that last one). We are all in this hobby for a reason and it’s important not to lose sight of the things that keep us coming back for more.
What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
I think some cosplayers are inclined to guard their construction methods in fear of being “copied”. Now, if someone creates an original design or an original interpretation of a previously-created design, they have every right to deny you information. However, in most situations, it is unreasonable to withhold basic information in order for your costume to remain unique. You did not invent beading – cut it out. If someone asks for advice, please share. I am a self-taught seamstress and I learned 75% of my technique from cosplay tutorials and youtube videos and I would be nothing without guidance from other cosplayers.
What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
Find someone to teach you the basics, whether it’s a relative or a basic sewing class at a local Joann Fabrics. Building techniques will come with experience but a solid foundation is crucial. Buy some cheap fabric and some easy patterns (usually labeled as such) and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Youtube can be a great resource if you’re a visual learner. Most of us started with little to no sewing experience and learned with lots of practice and the same will hold true for you.
What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
I love all of the conventions I attend but I especially enjoy Fanime. It is a great convention held in San Jose, CA that draws in people from all over the country. It is a 4-day con creates a very laid-back atmosphere and I am able to wear many different costumes without feeling rushed. Lots of friends, easy access to food – no complaints!
Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
Last year, I completed in the World Cosplay Summit with my Rue costume from Princess Tutu. When I got to Japan, I realized that I was unsatisfied with the fullness of the tiered overskirt. I didn’t have any tulle or polyfill with me and had no idea where to find any, so I defaulted to the next best thing – garbage bags. The housekeeping staff (with confused politeness) gave me 20 garbage bags and I stuffed them into my skirt before the show. It worked great and I don’t have any intention to replace the bags any time soon! So to anyone who thinks my costume is trash, I have to agree.
Thanks for the interview, Rynn! You can see more of her work on her website!