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Cosplay Contest at the Crow Collection Museum of Art

30 June 2011 by

Kali’s Hourglass joined the Crow Collection of Asian Art Museum Fashion Show once again this year for their “Japanese Street Fashion Inspired” Fashion Show and Costume Contest. This ranges from Lollita and anime all the way through “Original Character” creations such as our Steampunk Personas.

Steampunk fashion is less common than straight anime in Japanese street fashion or cosplay, but it does exist in a very visible way and is ever present in their art, comics, and anime. The show was judged on quality and attention to detail in the “costume” and overall presentation on the runway. There were not enough number labels for each contestant, so some that came as a couple were judged that way as well, such as the grand prize winners, Adm. Ramon Leon del Mar and V Adm Radha Narasimhan.

The crow Collection Museum site described the show like this:

Cosplay, or costume play,is popular in Japan where enthusiasts dress as their favorite anime, video game, or fictional characters. Join fellow anime-lovers, Harajuku Girls, and comic book fashionistas for this Japanese street fashion inspired show including the winners of our Next Top Cosplay Model competition!”

Some contestants in the Japanese Street Fashion Inspired costume event at the Crow Collection of Asian Art Museum

This show specifically included original fictional character representation as well as cosplay of established anime, video game, or movie characters. While I did give the organizers a description of our fictional character steampunk personaes, and gave them a link to all the fictional back stories for them, dressing this way is more a form of self expression for us than imitation of favorite characters. Both are good things, as the imitation is not only fun, but it honors the artists, writers, and creators of some of our favorite entertainment performers and creations.

We do this for fun and an outlet like other cosplayers, but also as a way to tear away the mask that we are forced to wear and more fully be ourselves, but in a fun and dramatized or stylized way. We actually consider dressing Steampunk, whether specifically Asian inspired, or otherwise, to be just being fully ourselves and think of the clothes that we wear to work each day as our “costumes”.

The term costume is sometimes uncomfortable for some steampunk subculture “lifestylers” like ourselves, but the term “costumer”, on the other hand, is used even in our culture to refer to extraordinarily capable, talented, and dedicated designers and tailors or seamstresses, fabricators etc, such as those we encounter routinely in anime cosplay contests. As such, in this setting we recognize that the term “costume” is used as one of respect for carefully crafted special attire, and we accept it as a real compliment. We purposely wore fabrics and styles that were more Japanese street fashion inspired for the show, and this was apparently appreciated since we won the Grand Prize for the show.

Grand Prize Winners Vice Adm. Radha Narasimhan & CFB’s Own Ramon Fagon

Vice Adm. Radha Narasimhan is wearing her “An Octopus Ate My Dessert” skirt which is a special custom print with octopus tentacles being very “kawaii” (cute) with a dessert in each tentacle’s grip. This fabric was cut and sewn in Lollita style along with waist cincher, parasol, steampunk utility belt and other accents in an overall medium blue color base.

I tried to use similar color base wearing a Hakima styled pair of wrap pants in a Japanese print and a very Japanese Visual Kei style vest along with my character’s other normal accents such as lightweight (we are sailors after all) partial armor with extensive embossing and decorative work.”

The runner up, backstage, dressed as one of the bosses from Final Fantasy X.

This is a local, evening only event, so the cosplayers are all local, but this also makes for very interesting social networking. Overall the entire event, including an Asian focused block party, was a huge success, and a lot of fun, so the participants said they definitely intended to be back again next year.

Read more about the entire block party and Asian Culture festival event at: http://www.crowcollection.org/event_view.aspx?date=6/17/2011

Other Contestants

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