Interview with a Cosplayer is back like snow in April, and we have another Midwest baby on our hands! Say hi to our current feature cosplay gem KamuiYamato; repping Kalamazoo Michigan hard with her ultra detailed cosplays. When she’s not steaming up the glasses of fanboys everywhere KamuiYamato is staying one step ahead of the game as a professional seamstress and freelance Graphic Designer. With her killer combo of looks and skill she’s poised for Cosplay stardom… Lets see what she has to say!
What is the Cosplay scene like in Michigan?
I live in Michigan and it’s not huge over here in the midwest but it’s bigger than I thought it was. I’ve recently started going to meet-ups with other cosplayers outside of conventions, and we got our very first local convention here in Kalamazoo this year! It’s very exciting!
What got you into the art of Cosplay?
I was 14 and impressionable. Searching the internet for photos I stumbled upon JAFAX and found cosplay in lue of it. I was so mesmerized by seeing everyone’s costumes that I knew I wanted to do it for myself. So I asked my mother how to sew and I started cosplaying on Halloween. By the time I turned 17, in 2005, I’d found a free convention only an hour away and convinced my mother to let me go. It’s been a long road ever since.
Who are your favorite characters to Cosplay?
I love all the characters I cosplay because they are all a small part of me and very dear to my heart but all in all my favorites as Izuku Midoriya, Yuri Lowell, Luke Fon Fabre, Hatsune Miku, and Natsu Dragneel.
Can you tell me what it took to make this particular design? (Time, cost, materials, etc)
My Hatsune Miku cosplay (World’s End Dancehall version) was a dream come true. I’ve wanted to cosplay her since I was 17 and when I saw that version of her, when I saw that dress I knew it was the one. So I gathered as much reference as I could and I started to work.
I patterned everything myself. The sleeves, the dress, the design on the front of the dress – all of it. I started with the sleeves and it took me about a month to complete them fully. I wanted to do them first just to make sure I didn’t screw up the entire dress. I started with white fabric and patterned them out and then I mixed teal and royal blue dyes together to get the color I wanted. I’d never gradient dyed before so it took a could tries to get them to the proper color. I timed the first few sets and ended up having to leave them overnight because the colder the water is the longer it takes. After finally getting the sleeves the way I wanted them, I dried them and laid down the blue material at the bottoms. Drawing in the design with a white pencil I pinned it all in place, sewed over the lines and cut away the extra.
For the gold I used two different stitches on my machine, one to lay down the base line and another to make the leaves. I did not do this with embroidery machine. Just built in stitches on my machine. I did each leaf one at a time and would stop and move it to do the next one. One sleeve takes about 6 hours to do just the gold. After the gold was on I went over the edges of the blue material with white braid.
Months later, I pulled the dress together, making a brand new bath of dye and hoping that the colors would match. I had to lay the whole dress flat after I got it the color I wanted it to lay the blue on top of it so it would remain in a single piece on the finished dress. I did the gold in the same fashion as the sleeves. Each golden leaf went in one at a time until the process was complete. It took me about 5 months total to make the entire outfit.
There is about 4 packs of dye, 5 spools of white braid (5 yrds each), and a 1/2 mile of golden embroidery thread in that dress. I’d say it took about $150 to make? The material cost wasn’t horrible, but the time was extensive.
Who/What is your biggest inspiration?
I call all the characters I cosplay “my muses”. I have to love a character to cosplay them and they will always inspire me to make their costume. However the creativity of the community as a whole really gets me going. I love seeing everything that other people can make. It gives me ideas and gets me excited to make something.
What are the Biggest cons in Michigan right now?
Where I live we only have Dokidokon that just started here in Kalamazoo. It sold out for it’s very first year, it’s staff were super friendly and helpful and all in all it was a wonderful convention. I look forward to seeing it grow. As a state, we have Youmacon over in detroit. It’s been running since 2005 and watching it grow as been an amazing experience. As an area we have Anime Central down in Chicago, Ohayocon down in Ohio and a few others. I really only go to cons that are close to me so I can’t name too many.
What are you in to?
My Hero Academia, Sakura Quest, Saiyuki Reload Blast, Assassination Classroom, I know there’s more but I haven’t had a lot of time lately I’m watching my husband play “South Park: Stick of Truth” I haven’t had time for games lately. Too many commissions.
Which one is your favorite?
Youmacon, by far. I’ve been to it every year since it started and it never fails to impress. I’ve made a lot of friends there and it’s where my husband proposed to me. Youmacon will always have a special place in my heart.
What is your favorite cosplay moment?
Youmacon 2011. I wasn’t in front of anyone. It wasn’t fancy. We’d gone back to the hotel room, and my boyfriend looked at me in out tiger and bunny cosplays and pulled out a ring and asked me if I would marry him. I was stunned in that moment. I didn’t know what to say. Of course I said yes. He’s my best friend and partner in crime. It was the best moment I’ve ever had in cosplay.
What is your cosplay horror story?
So Youmacon 2016, I was cosplaying Izuku Midoriya in his hero suit and I stepped up and heard “RIP”. Yup. I just blew out the front seam of my pants. I was horribly embarrassed, but luckily I bring my sewing machine to con with me.
Where do you see the art of Cosplay in the next 5-10 years?
I don’t really know. It’s grown so much in the 13 years I’ve been cosplaying that I don’t know if the trend will gain more steam and get even bigger of it’ll die off. I want it to continue to grow though. It’s a huge part of who I am and I would love to watch it continue to prosper.WR
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