I first started making costumes in 2005 when I attended my first anime conventions. I shortly became successful in these (by winning national and international awards) but it was still just a hobby. Now, I pursue my passion as a career!
I’ve always been the ‘artsy kid’ and loved to create. For the most part, I stuck to painting and beadwork, and weirdly, I never really got into fashion or clothing before (just the self-discovering, crazy teenage years with some odd things like pink eyelashes and neon tulle skirts).
What made me fall in love with creating costumes and accessories is that you can always try new materials and learn new things. I love to spend ages with exploring techniques and create something wearable, three-dimensional. For the longest time, I accepted the fact that this might stay just a hobby for me as there’s no such course in my native country apart from the one I’m at in AUB.
During the pandemic, I finally had some time to think about my life and where I was heading. That’s when the idea of enrolling to Edinburgh College came up. I saw they had a costume course, and they were open to accept mature students as well! The BA (Hons) Performance Design and Film Costume course gave me the opportunity to study further on an undergraduate course and go straight into the third year. Although I already had 15+ years of experience in making, I’ve learned a tremendous number of new skills and gained interest in design as well.
After a long consideration between the maker and design courses, I decided to choose Performance Design and Film Costume at AUB, and I love it! Here I can combine my drawing skills with the making, and try out things I’ve never done before, such as scenic art and puppetry.
I still vividly remember seeing Labyrinth or The Fifth Element for the first time and being mesmerised with the details of the visuals – it feels almost like a dream to work on productions and taking actual steps towards this dream career. Last summer, I had my first two industry jobs (as a costume maker) and at one point, I was making angel wings and a huge flower for the Edinburgh Festival Carnival. That’s where the realisation hit me; that I have arrived. I’m actually doing what that 14–15-year-old girl (who didn’t even know about cosplay yet) just dreamed about while watching the annual Victoria's Secret catwalk with those wings.
I find working in backstage much more suitable to my personality, as I don’t like being a performer myself; that was just the ‘necessary evil’ in competitive cosplaying. There’s also something indescribably thrilling to be part of creating a performance, and then admiring the work we all made together!
I’ve been assigned to multiple very exciting roles such as prop supervisor, projection designer and puppet maker, and I’m also working on a costume for the World of Wearable Art. This project wouldn’t be possible without my course, where I have access to a large workshop space and all sorts of useful machinery. I could also access our scrap fabric stock to make this costume with a sustainable approach rather than buying everything new (some fabric came straight from the Wicked movie’s workroom!) This competition is a great way to introduce your skills to a broader audience, and even being selected as a finalist would be a huge achievement, so this project is very exciting.
As part of my last term work, my major project is to create a half-scale Edwardian era costume and accessories that require research, design, making (all the good stuff) and this costume will be displayed at my course’s permanent exhibition. After graduation, I will return to Edinburgh and try to focus on opportunities in Scotland, but I might end up in New Zealand or Canada. Who knows? As long as I’m working with costumes and scenic art, I’m happy.