Have you heard about Joshua Hart of J. Hart Design? He was a guest of the past Anime USA 2014. Check out his advice for fellow cosplayers and more in this interview.
What got you into cosplay?
Prior to my first convention, I always loved going to the Maryland Renaissance Festival; and, I absolutely treasured playing dress-up! When I was thirteen, I began to teach myself how to sew and alter clothing for these festivals. I would sew all of my renaissance garb by hand, and my free time was spent researching new sewing techniques. I began cosplaying in high school with many of my theatre friends. When they asked me to join their Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children group for Otakon 2005 in Baltimore, MD , I was immediately thrilled and excited to participate.
What is your favorite cosplay to date?
This is an extremely difficult question to answer. All of my costumes are my children; I love them equally. But, if I absolutely had to choose, I would pick my Trinity Blood group, made in 2009 for Otakon’s Hall Costume Contest. While these costumes are not to flashiest, nor the best constructed, they hold a very dear place in my heart because these were the first costumes where I felt confident and proud to showcase my work. These costumes were far above my comfort zone, and I learned so much by making them.
What is your advice to cosplayers new to the scene? What about when making their own cosplays?
The main piece of advice I can give to novice cosplayers is to be proud of your accomplishments, and to refrain from comparing or judging yourself against other attendees or friends. Whether you compiled your costume from found/purchased pieces or created your costume from scratch, you have expressed passion and creativity. These are both admirable and commendable traits worthy of praise.
Who are some people that you look up to as role models?
I have always admired any talented individuals. But, my work has always been shaped by Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, Zac Posen, and Alexander McQueen. While they each have their particular styles, I have always admired their sense of proportion, silhouette, and minute detailing. I have pushed myself, over many years, to produce garments that are crafted as beautifully as their garments. I am still hoping to achieve this goal.
What was your first cosplay? What have you learned since that has stuck with you the most?
As previously mentioned, my first costume was Cloud from Final Fantasy: Advent Children for a large group with my friends. Looking back, the finished costume was a mess! But, the experience, creativity, and comradery has stuck with me ever since! Over the years, I have learned that patience is the key to a successful, finished product. I can guarantee that sewing is time consuming, stressful, fussy, and expensive. But, by calming your frustrations, you will work more efficiently, skillfully, and cautiously. This will result in a better looking garment, and a happier, more confident cosplayer!