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About Armada Cosplay
We are Eleanor & Courtney, and together we make Armada Cosplay. We’re from Australia, Sydney and Brisbane/Melbourne respectively. We did our first cosplays in 2012 and have been hooked ever since. We love traveling so we are always flying to different conventions in Australia. We love meeting new people who share our passion for cosplay and games/anime/tv shows.
How did you first get into cosplay?
Courtney came across some Mass Effect cosplay after playing the game, she introduced it to Eleanor and we decided to have a go at it ourselves. Our first cosplays were Jack & Tali from Mass Effect. They weren’t very good; Eleanor’s tattoos were Sharpied on and Courtney’s armor was made out of cardboard, but it was such a fantastic experience. Everyone kept coming up to us saying they loved our costumes and from then we were hooked!
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
We cosplay just as a hobby! We actually live in different states, so it’s a cool thing that keeps us connected and conventions are the times we get to spend together so that’s pretty awesome. It’s also a great way to meet people with shared interests.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
We prefer to make our cosplays from scratch, but have done a few altered costumes too, like our Life Is Strange or The Walking Dead cosplays. We just do whatever would suit the type of costume the most. We do like making them but sometimes it makes more sense just to buy an item and alter it (e.g. jeans).
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
It really depends on the costume, we’ve made some in a few hours (like our Walking Dead cosplays/medieval dresses). But some of the bigger more complicated costumes can take us up to 20-30 hours spread throughout a few months. We tend to make costumes over a few months rather than cramming them out in a short amount of time (though we definitely have done that).
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
We both love our little sister costumes, as we had a group of about 5 BioShock cosplayers. We all entered the competition and came away with Best Group, so those ones are close to our hearts. We also love our Life is Strange cosplays because it’s just easy and fun to wear, and the photos always look amazing. Of our individual costumes, Eleanor likes Umbreon because despite being a last minute costume, it turned out really well and everyone loves it. Courtney loves her Ononoki because it’s just really colorful and cute.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
We have had so many memorable experiences at conventions! The day we first wore our Little Sister cosplays was definitely a good one. It had been a really long weekend for all of us, we’d been working on costumes and not much sleep had been had. We even had to rush to the homeware store the morning of the con to get something to waterproof our ADAM guns because they kept leaking. We rushed to the con and made it to pre-registration just in time. Walking through the crowd was a totally crazy experience…the crowd just kind of parted and everyone was staring at us! One person came and asked for a photo and then like 20 other people came and took photos too, we couldn’t walk anywhere without being stopped. We ended up coming first in the group section of the cosplay contest which was an amazing feeling. Another amazing experience for us was earlier this year when we were asked to host a panel at Melbourne Oz Comic-Con about Cosplay & Travel. We didn’t have very long to organize everything for it, but we did get to be escorted in by staff and skip the line because we were running late. The panel went really well and we’re keen to do more next year!
How do you feel about group cosplays?
We love doing group cosplays. We often do groups with our good friend Sylvanea (www.facebook.com/Sylvanea). If we see people at a convention with costumes from the same game/series, we love getting some cool photos with them too, the more the merrier!
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
Eleanor: I’m planning on doing Kanbaru from Monogatari, Rachel Amber from Life is Strange: Before the Storm, and starting work on my RWBY costumes for RTX in February 2018…and attempting to get through some of my unfinished cosplays.
Courtney: The two cosplays I’ve prioritized are Kanbaru from Monogatari and Ryder’s casual outfit from the deluxe edition of Mass Effect Andromeda. Other than those two, I have a few wigs that need costumes, like Daenerys from Game of Thrones and Elizabeth from Bioshock DLC Burial at Sea.
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
Patreon is a pretty controversial topic in cosplay at the moment. We think it’s totally fine to be paid for your creative work, cosplay can be a pretty expensive and time-consuming hobby.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
We are mostly inspired by anime, video games, and TV shows. The Monogatari series is a huge draw for us, we particularly like characters we can do together.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
Eleanor: I like creating the costumes and attending conventions. Photoshoots used to make me a bit uncomfortable but I like them more now, they’re actually a lot of fun. It’s really cool to be able to see how much you’ve improved.
Courtney: I like reaching milestones with my costumes, like when you can see it finally coming together, it makes me really proud of my skills. Obviously, I also love wearing the final product and getting photos.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
We tend to get lots of our wigs/accessories on eBay, since it’s cheap, and as we live in Australia, it can be really hard to source a lot of stuff cheaply. For fabrics we like to trawl through the remanent bins of our local fabric stores, there’s always a good deal to be had there.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
We’ve had to deal with the pressure placed on us by both ourselves and the community to pump out new costumes for every convention. It’s just not realistic for most people and that was something we had to come to terms with.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
We have both learned a lot of important life lessons from cosplay! Probably the biggest one is to just be yourself and be proud of your achievements. You might see hundreds of flaws in your costume or makeup or wig etc, but everyone else just sees their favorite character brought to life. We’ve learned that we’re our own biggest critics and we shouldn’t be, even the popular cosplayers make mistakes and have costume troubles.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
We don’t really think there are ‘rules’ as such, but we do have some advice. You should cosplay whatever you want! Don’t be influenced by what you look like or what people say you should do, do what you’re the most passionate about because you will enjoy the experience a lot more. Another thing we learned is not to be afraid of approaching people at conventions – cosplay is a really good icebreaker and it’s super easy to strike up a conversation with someone and meet some really great people.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
We’ve only been cosplaying properly for like 3-4 years, but definitely, the quality of costumes has jumped. Especially here in Australia, because we’re finally getting more/cheaper materials. Even people just starting out in cosplay these days make amazing costumes, it’s far from the cardboard and sharpie of our 2012 costumes.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Eleanor: I would love to be able to do Commander Shepard’s armor from Mass Effect or a Big Sister from BioShock.
Courtney: I would love to do Daenerys’ outfit from the most recent season of Game of Thrones, as well as something from Mass Effect or Dragon Age.
Not a costume, but another one of our cosplay dreams would be to attend a convention in America like Katsucon or Dragoncon! They look like so much fun and hopefully, we have the time and money to go one day.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
Eleanor: I like to plan out how much it will approximately cost before I start a cosplay so I know what I’m getting myself into. Cosplanner is a good app for keeping track of that.
Courtney: I tend to spread my purchases out, and make sure I’m getting the most cost-efficient items I can (e.g. buying fabric during sales).
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay, to us, means spending time with each other, as well as making new friends with the same interests. It also means becoming characters we love and admire and challenging ourselves with better quality costumes each time.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Eleanor: Maybe if it became too much of a financial burden! I think I will always enjoy creating things though, I’m glad cosplay has made me realize that.
Courtney: I think if the community got too elitist, I don’t want to feel like I’m competing every time I wear a costume.
You can follow and view more of Armada Cosplay here
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