It’s time for another interview, this time with Snowsong Cosplay! She’s a creative young lady from Colorado, who likes going for the detailed pieces!
What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
I go by Snowsong Cosplay. I’ve studied Mandarin Chinese for more than 8 years, and my cosplay alias is derived from my Chinese name. (My Chinese surname is Song and my given name contains the character for “snow.”)
How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I made my first cosplay in 2008 (when I was in middle school!) but I didn’t start seriously cosplaying until 2013, when my best friend convinced me to participate with her in a World Cosplay Summit preliminary. It was only the 3rd costume I had ever made and I had absolutely no competition experience at that point, so we were WAY out of our depth! We didn’t qualify, but to our great surprise we did win runner-up. It was an insanely stressful experience leading up to it, but the people who I met during the competition immediately accepted me into the fold and they inspired me to keep going. I still look up to them a lot, and I aspire to be a cosplayer like them whose work and attitude are an inspiration to others.
What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
I really love doing small detail work, especially embroidery and beading. I learned to embroider when I made Anastasia’s ball gown from the animated movie, and I immediately fell in love with it. I can sit and work on embroidery or something along those lines while I watch Netflix, which is honestly my primary relaxation activity. I try to pick at least one or two costumes every year that have detail work like that because it gives me something to fall back on when I need a break, but I can still feel like I’m making progress!
What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I have a couple plans to make some costumes that involve lighting in the next couple years! I’ve never worked with anything electrical like that before, so I’m really excited about it. I’m hoping I can learn to program an Arduino.
What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
In general, I feel like when someone has a true love for the character or costume they’re working on, it really shines through. They take special care of the details and make new creative choices based on what the design means to them on a personal level. I love seeing that kind of joy shine through in crafting.
What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
I know a lot of people seem to think that the cosplay scene is really dramatic and broken in some way, but personally I feel like it’s only as bad as any other community, and your experience has a lot to do with the people you are with. I know that the whole “cosfame” idea has corrupted some people, but for the most part I’ve found the cosplay community to be very welcoming. Personally, I haven’t found anywhere else where I’ve felt like I belonged as much, and I think it’s because we all have something basic to connect over: we all love the media that our characters are from, and for the most part we love to make things. You get to skip right over that awkward part of trying to make friends with someone by figuring out what they like, because you already know!
What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
I definitely feel like a lot of problems could be solved if people learned to respect each other, but of course that’s true the world over. There are several examples within the cosplay world. I can’t stand “cos-exclusivity” when people think that because they made a cosplay, then their friends can’t make that cosplay anymore and vice versa. Cosplayers should learn to see making the same cosplay as someone else as a learning experience, or a chance to connect with that other person, and remember that every person is going to have their own interpretation and personal flair. Unless you are literally entering a masquerade, it’s not a competition for who is the “best” or “headcanon” cosplayer. There’s also been a recent uptick in cons that have little respect for cosplayers, limiting time and prizes for masquerades or eliminating them altogether, restricting cosplay and photography areas, and creating unclear rules, sometimes springing them on cosplayers at the last second. I think this part is a two-way street: cons should start learning that cosplayers are an important part of the con scene that they need to make an effort to keep, and meanwhile cosplayers should learn some humility so that they don’t become a nuisance for non-cosplaying con attendees. Lastly, cosplayer-photographer relationships are kind of a touchy subject, but I think the most important thing to consider is, once again, having some respect for other people. Cosplayers shouldn’t disrespect photographers’ time by showing up late to shoots, editing or selling images without permission, and so on. Photographers, meanwhile, shouldn’t treat cosplayers like they are just a moneymaking opportunity or a chance to recruit free fetish models. Cosplayers often put hundreds of dollars and thousands of hours of work into the costumes that they bring to photo shoots, just like photography skills take a lot of practice and investments in equipment. Be good to each other, my dudes.
What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
Well, I definitely wouldn’t recommend jumping in at the deep end like I did! I would say that you should start by working on things that you truly love. Even if you try something challenging, your passion for the project will keep you going! Second, don’t fall prey to the con crunch. Plan ahead and get your materials early. If you get to 1 or 2 weeks before the con and you have to pull all nighters and sew in the hotel room to finish your costume, STOP!! There will always be another convention, your friends will understand, and it’s not worth sacrificing your physical and mental health. Lastly, don’t be afraid to approach your cosplay senpais. If they’re mean to you, then they weren’t worth your respect in the first place, but in my experience it’s far more likely that you’ll find a valuable mentor.
What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
Honestly, I haven’t been to anything that tops Nan Desu Kan in Denver for me, and the biggest reason for that is I can always count on finding lots of my friends to have fun with there. Not to brag, but I often feel like the Colorado cosplay community may be small, but it has an unusually high concentration of very skilled crafters, and the cosplay contest at Nan Desu Kan has some of the stiffest competition in the region. It’s always really exciting to see what shows up on the con floor, and I feel like I make a dozen new friends every time! It’s been my home convention since I was a baby nerd, and it will always have a special place in my heart.
Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
I’ve been talking about this maybe too much already, but I’m really proud of my most recent costume, which is Lemon Cake. I took a risk in dehydrating dozens of actual lemon slices and preserving them in resin, which I’ve never done before, and I was really pleased with how the result turned out!