Cosplay: Students bring beloved fictional characters to life

Students can always find ways to use the art building if they are so inclined, and one Saturday afternoon, freshmen Kamon Tari and Kai Alegre can be found working on their latest costumes for the upcoming Sakura Con. Tari and Alegre are both cosplayers. They attend conventions and dress like their favorite characters.

“[At first], I just thought it was some random art project somebody did,” Alegre said. “I thought they were posers, but I started watching videos of people cosplaying, and it’s like, ‘This is the best thing ever.’”

She later learned that cosplay was bigger than a random art project. Alegre stresses the fact that cosplayers should make their own costumes.

“You can tell when somebody bought their costume,” Tari said, “because it doesn’t fit right.”

Tari didn’t start cosplaying seriously until this year. Before that, she had bought costumes to attend conventions in.

“I wanted to [cosplay] because I love dressing up,” Tari said. “It’s very artistic, turning something 2D into a 3D thing.”

Tari and Alegre also enjoy the community that cosplayers have built around their hobby.

“Some of my best friends, I’ve just met at a [convention],” Alegre said.

The characters they are currently working on come from the game “League of Legends.” They try to keep the cost of their materials low.

“It’s very expensive,” Alegre said. “[I use] the cheapest fabric I can find and craft foam.”

A lot of thought goes into picking a character for Alegre and Tari. They can be from current shows they are watching or characters from shows they used to watch, bringing nostalgia to cosplaying.

“Most of the time there is something in common we have with [the characters],” Alegre said. “Other cosplayers inspire me. My friends are getting really good at cosplay.”

“I like to pick characters based on their personalities,” Tari said. “Kai will do crossplaying. I kind of like staying on the female side. I feel like females have more eccentric things than guys.”

Crossplaying is when a cosplayer dresses as a character that is the opposite gender. In the middle of the conversation, Tari asks advice on the costume she’s working on.

Alegre gladly chimes in her opinion, taking in consideration accuracy and the relative size.  Because in cosplay, there is nothing better than being recognized as the character according to Alegre.

“It’s really exciting to go up to someone and say, ‘You look like so-and-so from this anime,’” Tari said.

Cosplayers can sometimes find people that will sponsor them, photographers or people that work on an anime or game. Sponsors help them pay for the materials they use in their costumes.

“There is a cosplayer that really looks like Link from Zelda,” Alegre said. “She is such an amazing cosplayer. She gets like sponsorships and represents Link and cons and stuff. A lot of cosplayers get a lot of publicity.”

There is one sort of publicity to the cosplaying community that Tari doesn’t like. It’s the sort that centers around the cosplayers that focus solely on their sex appeal.

“It loses the meaning behind it,” Tari said. Tari recently created a Facebook page for her work.

“ I did that to document my artwork,” Tari said. “I also thought it would help people find me.”

You can find her at www.facebook.com/KamonTari. Alegre posts the same sort of things to her Tumblr. She also has a Deviantart she posts photos of her work to.

Tari and Alegre met at Linfield, and they are planning on creating a club for cosplayers.

“We want to start a club here,” Tari said, “and have a Linfield community of cosplay.” The two of them will continue to better themselves on all things cosplay. While in school, Alegre will major in studio art. Tari isn’t sure about her major yet, but she is looking into studio art as well.

Written by Gilberto Galvez/Features editor

Layout by Amanda Gibbon/For the Review

Gilberto Galvez can be reached at linfieldreviewfeatures@gmail.com

Freshman Kai Alegre poses as equalist Korra from the series “The Legend of Korra.” One of her friends, who is also a cosplayer, took the pictures.

Photo courtesy of Kai Alegre

Freshman Kai Alegre crouches beside a stream dressed as Korra.
Photographers are also a large part of the cosplaying community.

Photo courtesy of Kai Alegre

Freshman Kamon Tari compares her drawing of her character’s weapon to the original  with help from freshman Kai Algre’s.

Gilberto Galvez/Features editor

Freshman Kamon Tari has just finished her character’s weapon. She will attend Sakura Con dressed as Akali from League of Legends.

Photo courtesy of Kamon Tari

“League of Legends” characters provide a lot of inspiration for freshmen Kamon Tari and Kai Alegre. Alegre is working on a costume for Yasuo.

Photo courtesy of Kamon Tari