COS&Affection: Celebrate the Fourth with Carly of CARMA
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Happy Fourth of July for our American g33ks! With today being our Independence Day and our first inaugural COS&Affection post featuring Brian of Test Subject B Labs as Captain Canuck… figured some love for the red, white, and blue Avenger would be fitting as the focus of today’s piece.
I little background, I first met this cosplayer at an event run by my pal Jesus. She was one of the cosplay guests and I was immediately drawn to her work. Amazing costume design and frankly one of my favorite cosplayers.
With that, let me introduce you to Carly. Carly is one half of the cosplay duo Carma (obvi the CAR in that equation) a duo we’ve featured before in our Cosplay Wednesday feature. I took a moment to chat with Carly a bit about her Captain America costume, all the amazing work she put in to it, and of course her plans for the future. With that, lets jump right in full force!
Justin Prince: Carly, thank you for taking the time out to speak with me today. For our newest segment, I figured America's birthday was the perfect chance! So I wanted to feature your Captain America. You've done your fair share of heroes, what drew you to cosplaying as Cap?
Carly: Captain America has always been a dream of mine. I like what he represents. He’s loyal, fair, and has a strong moral compass. A good person that people can really look up to, I certainly do! Watching him in The First Avenger sparked the fire, but Winter Soldier was like fireworks! Which is why I chose the Smithsonian Captain America suit. Bringing the traditional (old fashioned) back with a hint of new age.
JP: Awesome! SO! Tell me about constructing the costume. How much of your Captain America did you make yourself? Did you have any help?
C: I would say 90% of the costume was hand constructed by me. It’s quite the challenge starting from scratch, especially since there are no patterns to work off of. So… I constructed my own patterns, hand-painted his fabric, and did a LOT of sewing. Everything you see on my costume was made by me. Even the belt buckle, gloves, and chest harness. Everything meticulously captured from the films and modified to fit my more feminine build, while also trying to be as screen accurate as possible. Now when I say 90% I made myself, I did not make the boots, lol. But literally everything was made from scratch.
The shield has another story. I started with a satellite dish – cut and sanded, but I realized I was running out of time for a convention. I then I hired Kazoku Cosplay and Craft, who are very good friends of mine, to finish the job! They essentially made it for me and they did a fantastic job! They painted the shield and attached handles and the star.
JP: Given the time frame, were you able to work at a steady pace or did you face the dreaded "convention crunch" many a cosplayer faces? Any interesting stories/funny anecdotes you can recall while constructing it?
C: Well… the costume was supposed to be ready for Rose City Comic Con 2016, but I couldn’t finish him in time and that was pretty “con-crunch-time.” I realized that the amount of effort I was putting into him, I shouldn’t rush it, or half-ass it. Cap is one of my serious dream cosplays and I would hate to realize that I messed him up in any way… especially since I was working with such limited supplies and cosplay can be very spendy.
So… I moved to Alaska and then prepared for Emerald City Comic Con. I finished him by ECCC! I was so excited! But… I was unable to debut him because I got the flu and couldn’t make it to the con. I was so bummed, and even more upset at the fact that I was working for Out Nerd Me and I couldn’t be there to help him out either. It was a disaster. But luckily… Our friend Jason DeSomer was able to take some freaking AWESOME photographs of Emma and I as Cap and Bucky later that week when I was feeling better.
JP: Speaking of Emma! We've featured you guys before in our Cosplay Wednesday segment (we love her too!). I know you guys operate as a unit under the Carma name, how long have you guys been cosplaying together?
C: Emma and I have been best friends for nearly 20 years. We were invited to go to our first convention by the lovely family of Kazoku Cosplay and Craft, who we have also been friends with for about 20 years as well. They were the ones who first introduced us to the world of cosplay in 2011 at Kumoricon. We had always done elaborate costumes ever since we were kids. Halloween was the number one thing we looked forward to every year. It was our chance to be somebody and get creative with our materials. My first real costume that really triggered costuming for me was when I was Captain Jack Sparrow in 7th grade. I wish I had a photo, but my mom is the one who first taught me how to sew and we made Captain Jack from scratch. We even dyed my hair and glued hair onto my face, lol.
JP: Wish I saw that Captain Jack! So what's next for you Carly? What are you working on or planning to work on next and where do you plan to unveil it?
C: I am actually working on a mini Cap shield for a cosplay contest on the 4th of July here in Kenai, AK. I only got a few days notice, so I am crunching on that! My original shield is back in Oregon, or else I wouldn’t be worrying about that. But, I am really inspired by the new Wonder Woman movie and I loved the Amazons! So I am at the early-bird stages of costuming which, basically, is a lot of research. So eventually, after a lot of time gathering the right materials from thrift stores and hunting online… I would LOVE to create Antiope! Such a fearless leader and a total bad-ass! It would be awesome to be Antiope since Emma is working on Wonder Woman now! It would be a great Complement since we love doing group cosplays. Not sure on the time line for her, but I know Cap still hasn’t had his true-con unveiling, but it might be at Rose City Comic Con in September, if I can fly down, lol.
JP: Let’s touch a bit on Cap, good ol Steve Rogers has been in quite the predicament with the current comics... how did you feel about Marvel comics in a sense making Cap out to be a Hydra agent?
C: There are some theories running around and really I haven’t given too much thought in it since I kinda don’t want to believe it, lol. There is WAY too much history with Cap that I feel like it couldn’t be true. But… if I were to give a real statement on the matter… I think that Cap either (by some crazy force) has been hijacked and is doing Hydras bidding against his will… or the Cap that we are seeing as the new Hydra Cap is actually another evil Cap from alternate universe and the true Cap is being held captive while this Hydra Cap is taking over.
There is only so much I can theorize on that we are just going to have to wait and see! But either way, the Captain America I still hold dear to my heart is the one that holds his ground and stands up for what he believes in… for what he believes is right.
JP: In closing, what advice would you give to any aspiring cosplayers who are yet to do their first cosplay or simply want to up their game?
C: I think there are two different answers for people who are just starting and those who are wanting to up their game.
I think for starters, go for a character that means a lot to you. Once you have established a character that you really want to be, ask yourself if you want to make them or just be them? I think everyone should give crafting your own costume a chance. It will be difficult at first if you have never sewn or crafted before. But you are going to learn so much about yourself and your character, you will love your work so much more. If you just want to be the character, there are many options for commissions or rentals, which are 100% A-okay! If your answer is both, then jackpot!
For people who are just wanting to get a little better, keep going! Every cosplay I make is a learning tool. Trial and error is half the fun and plays in to the heart ache of crafting in general, but that’s what makes each cosplay you create that much better. I don’t think I would have been able to make Captain America if I didn’t have all my 20+ other cosplays to work on and learn from. I’m not saying I’m a professional, but cosplay creation is a talent and a skill that develops over time and practice. So keep going, everyone! Your next cosplay is one glue stick away!!!
With that, we close out our time chatting with Carly. Her work is fantastic and you should definitely check out more of their costumes over at their Facebook page. Since we featured Carly, you can expect that Emma won’t be that far behind. Give these girls a like… a follow… and if you leave them a comment make sure you tell em your friendly neighborhood Justin Prince sent ya.