To me, there is a big difference between costume designers and costume designers who do it well. To me, Bronwen is one that does it well! She is also one of the designers for SEVEN and I am so excited about what she brings to that collaboration.
Q and A with Bronwen Robbins.
1.) Describe your art/fashion/design.
I think the best way to describe my aesthetics for costume design would be nerdy/ historical. I’m a big fan of cartoons and comics, which eventually dropped me into the world of cosplay, but I also worked at Kings Landing for 6 years right out of high school and have a deep love for historical costume. My favourite era is the 1880’s-1890’s when the bustle made a comeback but the silhouette became thinner. I also really love the art and various historical fashions of Asia.
2.) What inspires you?
Cartoons, history, fashion, fabric and individual items. Inspiration for me can come from anywhere and quite often as I am trying to get to sleep at night): For example, I bought a pair of Steampunk goggles at a convention in 2014 and based an entire costume around them.
3.) What is your favourite piece you ever made and why?
I don’t really have a favourite! I am really picky and critical when it comes to my own work. Everyone else tells me how awesome it is when all I see is a garment and where it could be improved. The other reason is I usually cosplay as characters who are my favourites from a book or show even if they are obscure. To me, the fun and enjoyment comes from bringing that character to life rather then recognition due to popularity. So in the end they really are all my favourites I guess.
4.) What is your biggest obstacle when it comes to design and creating your work?
I’d have to say time! That goes back to what I said previously, that I am very picky and critical of my work and that I refuse to work when tired. Working when tired leads to melt downs, mistakes and re-making the entire garment. I always joke I need a TARDIS ( the space/time machine from Doctor Who) of my own so I can just go in there, sew to my hearts content, sleep as much as I like/need and then come out 5 minutes later ready for work or whatever else needs my attention. Other then that I’d have to say my cat is my biggest obstacle. She always wants attention the second I start drafting and sewing.
5.) Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’d like to say in a studio of my own and/or a costume shop of my own inspiring myself and others, but a lot can happen in 5 years. So I am going to say that in 5 years I will still be doing what I love at a rate that doesn’t make me crazy.
6.) Can you tell me more about what you do with cosplay and costume making?
Oh man, where do I start? It’s not just one thing or one skill, it is a whole army of skills both old and new that conjure up a cosplay costume. I guess it is a way to show my love or appreciation for a fictional character, someone who is not real, but has to some extent left a mark on me to the point that I want to thank them (for lack of a better way of saying it) by creating them for real. I’ll use a trio of costumes I’ll be making for Anime North next spring as an example: Sailor V, Sailor Venus and Princess Venus. All three are the same character from the series Sailor Moon, a series that is very dear to my heart. I’ve met pretty much all my friends because of that show and I always thought that personality wise, I was probably closest to Sailor Venus. To make those costumes, I’ll be making: a full floor length gown, the iconic Sailor scout uniform and V’s costume (which is more of a modified school girl outfit), a light up sword and learning to cat epoxy or resin to make some gem stones. Cosplay is not only about fandom, it’s about continually learning new skills to improve your game and therefore improving what I can offer my clients.
7.) What was the most difficult thing you ever made and why?
To date, the most difficult thing I have made would probably be a full suit of Worbla armor. Worbla is a heat molding plastic. It was an entire set of new acquired skills for me, which like anything I got better at, learned short cuts and got faster with the more I worked with it. It took me nearly a year to complete. As to why? It was because the character Kain Highwind, was my absolute favorite character from the game Final Fantasy 4 and remains, to this day, one of my favorites from the entire series. I recorded most of the process for making it on my blog starting in August of 2013 http://bronwenrobbins.blogspot.ca/2013_08_01_archive.html
8.) What is something you have always wanted to make but have not?
Someday, I want to make Princess Fireball from Sailor Moon Star (it always goes back to Sailor Moon). Ideally I’d like to make the costume so that I can switch to her Sailor Scout costume via tear away snaps/velcro. It’s not impossible for me to make by any stretch, it’s just her hair! Her hair intimidates me, wig styling is not my thing.
“Be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn, In that case, you should always be a unicorn.” ― Elle Lothlorien