Today, I would like to introduce you to Chise Yuki who is a German-based Cosplay artist. Cosplay is a whole world of art and fantasy that I am not familiar with, so I asked Chise to explain to us a bit about her art form and how it has influenced her life.
Where do you come from and what’s your age?
I am a 19 years old girl from Germany, south of Lower Saxony.
What art form do you practice?
I practice Cosplay (Costume – Play), it is a mixture of many different art forms. The goal is to change yourself into a character from books, mangas, animes, games, films or even Youtubers. The possibilities are endless, therefore you can either make your own costume, buy one or give it as a commission to other cosplayers. Even though everyone can cosplay, most Cosplayers try to improve their skills and build their costumes all by themselves. To complete a costume I need to style and/or cut a wig, sometimes I have to make one from scratch, then I have to be a seamstress to sew the garment, and I have to make shoes, armor, and weapons.
Where did Cosplay originate?
My art originates in Japan. It is an important part of their culture.
How long have you been involved with this art?
I started cosplaying by accident. A friend asked me to come with her to a convention and gave me a costume of a character, after some time I lost interest in just dressing up as a character and started to learn sewing and using power tools to create my own costumes of characters I liked. This is when the hobby became my life. That was about two years ago.
What inspires you?
My inspirations come from everywhere. My first self-designed Cosplay was inspired by black playing cards I found online, my Satyr costume was inspired by an ant-like gold ornament I found at a fabric fair. I’ve started to look in the forest, on earth, and decided that I don’t want to build another plain mythologic creature. I wanted something that only I could bring to life, something that was different. I wanted to create a costume that mirrors nature. So I’ve chosen a color scheme that seems more majestic and strong to me, I decorated my bra with fur and scales, feathers in my hair, chains to represent spider webs, leather was also incorporated, I even made myself hoof shoes. My eye got covered in cotton and then in latex to incorporate the look of a forest that has burned. The staff and spellbook are signs of nature’s power and magic, good or bad.
Very interesting, what skills are required to make the costumes?
Cosplay is something everyone can do. You can buy your costumes, accessories and wigs and just dress up or you can go and build/make everything or certain parts by yourself. Make yourself look like the character with some (or more) makeup. If you need to change your facial features, you probably need to set new shades on your face by contouring with makeup.
If you want to make your costume all by yourself, you will probably need a sewing machine. If you want to focus on armors and weapons, you will need a handheld grinder (or regular sanding blocks, but that will take forever to sand a whole armor set). It really depends on what you want to do. Some cosplayers say they need their airbrush the most, others say the most important thing is a cutter. There is no material that is not allowed to be used. I’ve built armor parts with foam, PVC plates, but also out of cardboard. Instead of real rivets I’ve taken googly eyes and just painted them.
There’s one thing you really need to do Cosplay and that is Creativity.
What’s your work area like?
My work area is actually three rooms. One for my fabrics, sewing and for storage. One for heavy duty stuff like grinding, resin casting or for using my big power tools. And my normal room where I often paint or work on small things and design.
Would you like to work in film costume design someday?
Yes, especially for designing the bad guys outfits. They are actually my all time favorite characters. But working on theatre or opera outfits would be great too.
What’s your Cosplay dream job?
Probably living in Japan and being a full-time Cosplayer. The payment is really good if you’ve made yourself a name and big companies book you to promote new games or movies.
How much time is required to finish one costume?
That varies a lot. The required time depends on many factors, from initial design to the finished costume it can take up to several months where I work after school and on the weekends. Now that I am out of school, I can work all day on a full highly detailed armor and can finish it in a few weeks. When its just a fabric costume, I can finish it in only two to three weeks, depending on the level of detail.
How would you compare Cosplay to Halloween?
You can not make this comparison and it has nothing to do with Carnival as well. Cosplay is about recreating a character if it is a character you made up yourself or an existing character doesn’t matter. Cosplayers may wear their costumes for any event, but we have a different connection to our costumes than someone who just went to a store and got themselves a costume. I don’t want to say that non-cosplayers just buy cheap costumes, there are cosplayers who do the same, but for us the self-made factor is really important. I know that I’ve said that it is okay to buy costumes, but most cosplayers do say that only by making it yourself you are considered a ‘real’ cosplayer. I do not think like that, but I would not recommend comparing Cosplay to Halloween or Carnival. Cosplay is a lifestyle, something you really burn for and not a once in a year event.
What’s your favorite aspect about Cosplay?
It is being who I am. I was bullied in school, I’m what you would call an outsider. At my first convention the people looked at me, but not in a judgmental way. They saw what I created and came to me and asked for photos and gave me compliments. I was hooked by how open and lovely the community is. They’ve opened me up for friendships and gave me self-confidence. When I started designing my costumes by myself and then went to a convention, I got so much positive feedback, it gave me the power and enthusiasm to start a new project.
The Satyr, only my second costume, got much more attention than I expected. As I rested after a long convention (Japantag in Düsseldorf), my mother called me and said they’ve shown me in close-ups on the news and a live show on TV. I was so shocked that I didn’t believe her at first. Later I saw myself on the show and cried because I felt so honored.
It is such an incredible feeling when you see a character you love walking in front of you at a convention and having others feeling the same way. I love wearing my own design of a character called Julchen Beilschmidt, she is an officer that wears a white ball gown and as I wore it with my cosplay partner the people turned around and it didn’t feel uncomfortable. It felt great because they were not staring at us because we were different, but because we were their favorite characters alive who were walking across the convention hallway and because they could just walk up and talk to us.
Cosplay brings people together and Cosplay can be for everyone.
I find it fascinating that you are able to enter into your own fantasy world where art, costume, and theatrics combine. And I love to meet artists who are passionate about what they are doing, thanks for sharing with us Chise, I hope you accomplish all your Cosplay goals!
Below is a photo gallery of Chise Yuki and her contact information, where she can be booked for events or to have custom costumes or accessories made.