What is Cosplay?
Fan Expo is three sleeps away! I’m so excited to see all the amazing and creative cosplay. In honour of Fan Expo, I thought I’d re-post I blog I wrote explaining what cosplay is for those who are not initiated! Enjoy and don’t forget to drop by and say hello to us this weekend!
Cosplay is actually a portmanteau of two words: costume and play. Originally, I think that the word specifically applied to anime culture where people would dress up as their favourite anime characters. As time has gone by, it has expanded to include pretty much any pop culture icon. Some people are purists and get every detail perfect right down to the colour of the thread on the switching. Some people mash up differently cultural elements to create a new version of a character like making a steampunk sailor moon or a little mermaid princess Leia. Lots of people make gender bending version of their favourite characters like a male Harley Quinn or a female Captain America. The options are limitless and the community is super accepting.
If you are still not sure you understand, fear not! I have some examples of awesome Venus & Mars versions of some of our most favourite fictional badass ladies.
Wonder Woman is one of my personal favourite super heroes so naturally we had to include her. It’s so empowering to have a strong, fearless female hero kicking ass and taking names. Who wouldn’t want to dress up like that? For Wonder Woman we combined the iconic Linda Carter look with some of the badassery of the new Gal Gadot look. We put together a gold Venus & Mars bandeau with a red reversible VM waist cincher some blue booty shorts, a black velvet cloak and gold pointe glovettes. Suffering Sappho, I have never seen a cooler Wonder Woman!
If you have ever been to a convention you know that if we had to include anything it was Harley Quinn. There has been so many Harley looks over years and we couldn’t pick just one. We used her original black and red for inspiration but gave the overall outfit more of a roller derby feel. For this outfit, we combined a sleeveless red skinny tee, the reverse side of the reversible red waist cincher, black and red tap shorts and mix and matched a pair of red and black fishnet glovettes. We also added a pair of black goggles as a nod to the original Harley Quinn’s black eye mask. Trust me, puddin’, everyone will love this Harley look.
We love Carrie Fisher. Her real life sassy no bullshit approach to Hollywood is something we can all aspire to. We absolutely had to pay homage to her with a Princess Leia inspired look. I know slave Leia is super popular but we wanted to show off the all white princess outfit instead. We put together a white under blouse, white reversible waist cincher and cream panne cloak. And we used a white pinstripe tube top as the skirt. To really sell the look we put Ivette’s hair into buns. I sense great awesome in this outfit. (PS. I love this picture so much. I think it’s one of my favourites ever.)
So what did you think of my definition of cosplay? did I get it right? Would you explain it differently? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US! Venus & Mars is officially 25 years old now! We’ve grown and changed so much since July 1, 1993 and we are looking forward to another AWESOME 25 years. Thank you so much for supporting us for a quarter of a century! We can’t wait to see you again soon and help you find the perfect out for your next wedding, costume party, festival, movie, music video, or whatever!
Want to stay up to date with us for the next 25 years? The Steampunk Tempest for July is out today! Find out what we’re up to! Want to get our blogs delivered right to your inbox? Want to know about secret sales or get a discount to shop online? Well then it’s time to sign up for the Steampunk Tempest!
Why we don’t do custom work
One of our most frequently asked questions is: do you do custom and/or alterations? It’s a totally reasonable question. If everything with the Venus & Mars label is handmade in store then it only seems logical that we would be set up to do custom but the truth is we’re not. Back in the day we used to do custom but a steady increase in business and customers has made it impossible to continue. The following is why.
Custom is expensive
Custom work is expensive. In the time that it takes to make one custom jacket, we could probably make two dozen steampunk frock coats (more on that below). From an accounting standpoint, it’s difficult to justify charging the same amount for one custom jacket as it would be for one regular jacket that we could produce in a small production run. We don’t think it’s fair to charge $1,000 or more for just one jacket but we wouldn’t be able to survive if we charged the same amount for custom as we do for off the rack.
It is time consuming
Everything we make is made in small production runs. That means that Sanne uses a pattern (of her own design) to cut multiple items at the same time. She then bundles everything together for our sewer and we get shiny new awesome products once they are all put together. If it is a brand new design then Sanne will cut one and sew a sample for our sewer. Depending on what we are making, we generally have a turn around time of a week for multiple items in a size run. Custom work requires a lot more time.We have to set up a consultation, make a new pattern, construct the garment, provide a fitting, and make any necessary alterations. In the time that it takes to do a consultation alone, Sanne could have cut 6 black wool cloaks.
Bonus: Putting together a cosplay? Check out What is cosplay for suggestions on how to put something together off the rack.
We don’t want to
Sanne started Venus & Mars in 1993 because she wanted to make her own designs. People come to us with excellent suggestions and incredibly creative ideas that we love to hear about. Sometimes these ideas even inspire us to make new things (for example the ladies tails vest) but that’s on our own terms and in our own designs. What has made the store successful for a quarter century is Sanne’s unique designs and we would like to continue in that vein.
We totally want to make your vision a reality. If you bring in a picture of what your trying to recreate, we can offer suggestions and help you come up with at least a base for your outfit. We’ll try to recommend other places too that might have what you’re looking for. If you do end up getting custom work done then make sure to do your homework. Look up reviews from other customers and shop around for a price that fits your budget.
What has your experience been with getting custom clothing made? Let us know in the comments below.
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January is coming to a close which means it’s almost time for Taboo! Dig out your sexiest outfits and get ready for three days of debauchery. This is our 8th year vending at Taboo, and if this year is anything like the past, it’s going to be a super fun time.
Where: Vancouver Convention Center
When: February 2nd – 4th, 2018
- Friday 5pm to Midnight
- Saturday Noon to Midnight
- Sunday Noon to 6pm
How Much: ADMISSION $20.00
Everything from your hearts’ desires to inconceivable delights. This is a ‘can’t miss’ event.The Taboo Naughty but Nice Sex Show provides an upscale adult playground dedicated to enhancing lifestyles, encouraging romance, personal betterment and all things Taboo. Enjoy entertainment, provocative and educational seminars, unique shopping, fashion shows and LIVE demonstrations.
Our pop-up shop will be a mini version of our brick and mortar. We will have poet shirts, vest, military frock coats, kilts, cloaks, corsets, skirts, goggles and much more. We will be bringing our portable debit machine so that you can pay by credit or debit for any treasures that you find at the event. Events not your thing? Don’t worry our shop will be operating at normal business hours (Monday to Saturday 11-7 and Sunday 11-5). Not in the area? Don’t worry you can shop online 24/7 from your couch in your underwear.
Want free tickets? CLICK HERE to get a pair.
Are you going to Taboo this year? What are you most excited about seeing? Let us know in the comments below!
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I’m Sanné Lambert, designer and owner for Venus & Mars Clothing located in the Historical Gastown District of Vancouver, BC, Canada.
This video speaks to how I’m a better talker than a writer, but I think I’m beginning to get thoughts across on paper and therefor we can look forward to many more discussions on a variety of topics including goth and steampunk fashion, wearing corsets, making stuff and hurtling off-road in pursuit of wild hot springs.
OK, then I’ll see you here!
sl : )