By Rizwan Merchant

Editor Note: Kirayume was chosen at Katsucon 2014 to be one of two Wild Card Teams (the other being Kiwi Teacup Studios) from the Eastern region of The United States at the 2014 U.S. World Cosplay Summit Finals at Anime Central 2014. Winner of this competition will travel to Japan for the International World Cosplay Summit, and compete against one representatives of the other countries involved in the WCS as the representatives for America.


Daydreamer Nessa as Asuka | Sparkle Pipsi as Mari  Photo by Gamerevx

Daydreamer Nessa as Asuka | Sparkle Pipsi as Mari
Photo by Gamerevx

Tell us a little about yourself.
A shared burning passion for costuming, performing, and all things magical are just a few reasons why the cosplay duo Kirayume was formed. Daydreamer Nessa (Nessa) and Sparkle Pipsi (Suzanne) have been avid fans of Japanese animation and video games since childhood, and both ladies became seamstresses to express that love through costume-making. Their fondness for Sailor Moon inspired their first cosplay group together in 2011, and their similar tastes in costumes have kept them collaborating (and fangirling) together ever since!

 

When did you start Cosplaying?
Suzanne – I started cosplaying in 2001. I had a lot of help from my mom and grandma at first, but as time went on I started wanting more and more complicated costumes, so I finally starting sewing and constructing costumes completely on my own in 2004.

Nessa – I started in 2003! At the time I didn’t know how to sew, so I purchased clothing that resembled who I was cosplaying, Sanosuke from Rurouni Kenshin, and added details with the help of my mom!

What got you into Cosplaying?
Nessa – Around the time I was in middle school I started to browse the internet more and more (I know this may be a weird concept now with how much the internet is a part of our lives, but this was back in 2000). The internet was a gateway to find wonderful sites dedicated to anime, and it wasn’t too hard to find cosplay. Seeing all the cosplay photos was so inspiring! Plus I’ve always loved playing dress-up!

Suzanne – I discovered cosplay the first time I attended a convention, Anime Expo 2001. My friends and I went as Sailor Senshi for Halloween the year before, so I thought it would be fun to wear my Sailor Venus costume to the event. Before I got there I had NO idea that cosplay was a “thing,” so I was excited and surprised to see so many other people in costume!! Needless to say, I’ve been hooked ever since!

What is your favorite Cosplay that you’ve made?
Nessa –
My favorite I’ve made still stands to be Black Lady from Sailor Moon R, which was completed in 2007. The look is totally transforming, and is a really unique design. With the colors and fabrication resulting in the end look, I feel I did the design justice!

Daydreamer Nessa as Freya | Sparkle Pipsi as Chii Photo by Sweet Sensation Photography

Daydreamer Nessa as Freya | Sparkle Pipsi as Chii
Photo by Sweet Sensation Photography

Suzanne – Ah, it’s so hard to choose! But if I have to pick a favorite, I think I’ll go with the Eternal Sailor Venus costume I made for a group Nessa and I planned together last year… we had full group of 9 senshi in their Eternal form, a fangirl dream come true!! Minako is my favorite character of all time, and Eternal Sailor Venus was one of the first costumes I sewed completely by myself back when I first started cosplaying. Getting to revisit the costume with an additional 10 years of sewing experience under my belt was both nostalgic and meaningful to me!

Why do you enjoy Cosplaying?
Nessa – To this day it’s all about the interactions and friendships that can be created.

Suzanne – Same here! The wonderful relationships I’ve formed through cosplay is what keeps me coming back year after year. I also enjoy the creative process of fabricating costumes, but sometimes that can be frustrating as well … and that just makes having cosplay friends there to support you all the more wonderful!!

Do you have any dream costumes you want to make or wear?
Suzanne – I’m happy to say I’ve made many of my dream costumes already! I’ve wanted an Evangelion plugsuit since I first started cosplaying, and last year I finally checked that off my list by completing Mari Makinami’s Prototype Suit. Minako’s obscure and ridiculous idol costume from Sailor Moon was another that I had always wanted and completed last year as well!

Nessa – Just like Suzanne my top dream costume was a plugsuit, specifically Asuka’s. I made it last year (2013) in a brief period of time so we could wear it to Japan Expo where Yoshiyuki Sadamoto was a guest. I still have many improvements to make on it, and hope to vacuum-form parts for the new improved suit!

Daydreamer Nessa as Yukiho Hagiwara | Sparkle Pipsi as Miki Hoshii   Photo by Ljinto

Daydreamer Nessa as Yukiho Hagiwara | Sparkle Pipsi as Miki Hoshii
Photo by Ljinto

Out of all of your costumes, which was the hardest to fabricate?
Nessa – Starry… it is a costume variant from the video game The iDOLM@STER 2. It was a challenge in many aspects; gravity defying silhouttes, awkward materials (one can only be described as a heavy shower curtain material, haha), and not to mention endlessly handsewing hundreds of LED to different conductive thread lines to create a chasing pattern once it all wired back to the arduino lilypad we used.

Suzanne – Seconding Starry… we knew it would be a difficult project going in, but I don’t think we REALLY knew what we were getting into!!

What are some Cosplays you are currently working on?
Suzanne – We’ve been so focused on our World Cosplay Summit entry that I don’t have many other solid costume plans..! The one costume I do have planned though is Miki Hoshii’s “Beyond the Stars” outfit for an iDOLM@STER group at AX. I also have a half-completed Sailor V costume I’d like to debut soon! (Plus a couple secret projects that Nessa and I have brewing..!)

Nessa – I have some on the backburner too; Gin Rei from Giant Robo and Rosebride Utena.

Do you tend to fabricate/make your own costumes or buy them?
Nessa – I make all my costumes! However when there are groups involved, we pool talents and spread some expertise. Like with the Eternal Senshi group I organized, the broaches and tiaras were made by our Moon from the group, and I had Suzanne make my bows cause she is a whiz with bows!

Suzanne – I make all my costumes too! But like Nessa said, in group situations it’s great to play to each others’ strengths. Nessa is awesome at casting plastic so I usually let her do that for me; for example, she made the awesome opening/closing ears for our Chobits costumes!

What are some of your favorite moments while cosplaying?
Nessa – Doing group performances and dances have been a some of my favorite moments! I really enjoy performing onstage, the rush and happiness putting together something fun is really rewarding.

Suzanne – That moment when a group cosplay comes together after months of hard work together is really unmatched! The masquerade and dance performances I’ve done with friends are some of my most cherished memories as well.

 

Daydreamer Nessa as Eternal Sailor Mars | Sparkle Pipsi as Eternal Sailor Venus Photo by Project Bokeh Photography

Daydreamer Nessa as Eternal Sailor Mars | Sparkle Pipsi as Eternal Sailor Venus
Photo by Project Bokeh Photography

Do you participate or have you participated in any cosplay contests (Convention, online, etc)?
Suzanne – Yes, tons!! I absolutely love competing in masquerades. I know competing isn’t for everyone, but the added challenge really drives me to improve my craft. The World Cosplay Summit in particular has been a major inspiration for me for many years now. Nessa and I have put a lot of ourselves into our entry for this year!

Nessa – Fanime and AX have been some of my most favorite contests! Online, I love entering ACP (American Cosplay Paradise) contests. And of course, the World Cosplay Summit!

 

Have you won any awards for your cosplay? If so, what kind and/or where did you win them?
Nessa – Yes! My biggest accomplishment was the Starry entry Suzanne and I did with fellow friends for Animegacon 2012 where we took Best in Show. Individually my Kirin from Monster Hunter nabbed Master Craftsmanship at AX 2010, and at Fanime I’ve won a couple of awards in Group Master Craftsmanship with my Deedlit and Sophitia cosplays.

Suzanne – I’ve won my fair share of awards! A few years back I competed often with my cosplay group called Underground Cosplay. We won several awards together, including Best of Show at Anime Expo 2006. We also received a Best of Show at Anime LA for one of our better known skits called “Henshin Ninjas,” where we performed a live Sailor Moon transformation sequence! In more recent years, the Animegacon 2012 win that Nessa mentioned was a big highlight! STARRY.

I think it’s also worth mentioning that Nessa and I recently won a Wild Card slot in the World Cosplay Summit USA Preliminary for our Chobits performance at Katsucon! Please keep an eye out for us at the Finals come Anime Central in May, when Team USA for the World Cosplay Summit will be chosen!

 

What is your stance on handmade vs store-bought cosplay?
Nessa – To each their own. I am too picky for my own good to buy store-bought, and once you push to have skills in sewing, it’s really rewarding to build your costumes. However, I’m not opposed to buying cute outfits like maid uniforms and seifuku if I can for a more comfortable costuming experience!

Suzanne – I certainly don’t have anything against people who buy their costumes, but I enjoy the creative process too much to skip out on that myself. There’s something so rewarding about wearing a costume you made with your own two hands, it’s a part of the overall cosplay experience for me!

Daydreamer Nessa as Rei | Sparkle Pipsi as Minako Photo by Darkain

Daydreamer Nessa as Rei | Sparkle Pipsi as Minako
Photo by Darkain

Do you have any hobbies other than cosplaying?
Nessa – Drawing! It’s a passion I’ve had since I was little girl.

Suzanne – I play a lot of video games! My husband and I play several MMORPGs together, including World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV. Also, Dungeons and Dragons.

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring Cosplayers?
Nessa – Try, try, and try again. Mock-ups save you money and heartache. Don’t hesitate to play with your project and problem solve that way!

Suzanne – Cosplay what you love, with people you love, and don’t listen to haters! As far as cosplay construction techniques go, the internet is an intensely valuable resource. There are SO many amazing tutorials out there made by the cosplayers that have come before, take advantage of it! I can’t even tell you how many sewing and construction techniques I’ve learned just from watching Youtube… seriously, it’s amazing what you can find!! Don’t ever let “I don’t know how to ______” stop you from creating something awesome; google it or ask cosplayers with more experience for advice. You CAN do it!!

  Final Words to the Readers

Nessa & Suzanne - Thank you for reading! Feel free to pop by our pages if you have questions or want to see more of our work!

 

Kirayume:
http://www.facebook.com/kirayumecosplay

Suzanne:
http://www.sparklepipsi.com
http://www.facebook.com/sparklepipsi

Nessa:
http://eternaldaydream.com/
http://www.facebook.com/DaydreamernessaCosplay

Photo Credits:

Chobits
Daydreamer Nessa as Freya
Sparkle Pipsi as Chii
Photo by Sweet Sensation Photography
https://www.facebook.com/SweetSensationPhotography

Sailor Moon – Eternal Senshi
Daydreamer Nessa as Eternal Sailor Mars
Sparkle Pipsi as Eternal Sailor Venus
Photo by Project Bokeh Photography
https://www.facebook.com/ProjectBokeh

Neon Genesis Evangelion
Daydreamer Nessa as Asuka
Sparkle Pipsi as Mari
Photo by Gamerevx
https://www.facebook.com/gamerevx

Sailor Moon – Idols
Daydreamer Nessa as Rei
Sparkle Pipsi as Minako
Photo by Darkain
https://www.facebook.com/DarkainMultimedia

The iDOLM@STER 2 – Starry
Daydreamer Nessa as Yukiho Hagiwara
Sparkle Pipsi as Miki Hoshii
Photo by Ljinto
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ljinto/