Monday, February 21, 2011

Japan Fashion Festa - A Cospay Fashion Show

On Thursday, February 17, 2011 the Tokyo Fashion Festa, a special sold-out Cosplay fashion show, was held at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). For those unfamiliar with Cosplay, it is the art of dressing in the costumes of popular Japanese manga, video game, and anime characters. In Japan, the phenomena of Cosplay has created a subculture, which has spilled over to Europe and the United States. Cosplayers, or layers as some like to be referred to, see this a a form of recreation which isn't tied down to a single holiday such as Halloween or Mardi Gras. 

For some, Cosplay is an escape into an alternate way of life. The Cosplayer not only dons the costume of a character, he or she becomes the character by acting them out precisely. The best Cosplayers emerge themselves into the world and lifestyle of the character. In America over the past 10 years, Cosplay has gained great interest among Anime, Video Game, and comicbook fans. You'll find many American Cosplayers dressed in costumes of popular comicbook heroes. 
A Cosplayer posing next to the costume she designed
The Tokyo Fashion Festa, was a tie-in to the Japan Fashion Now exhibit, currently on display at the Museum at FIT. The Cosplay fashion show was largely supported by FIT students, several of which created the costumes they had worn that day. As you will see from my photographs, Cosplay doesn't just involve slipping on a pair tights and a cape. There is a lot of creativity involved, and a great sense of fashion goes a long way in developing your costume. The costumes worn at the fashion show were all well done. They represented the  Gothic, Lolita, GothLoli, and Visual-kei styles of cosplay among others. Characters from popular animes such as Black Butler and Cardcaptor Sakura

What made the Fashion show unique this year was the inclusion of a make-up demonstration from famed Japanese make-up and hair artist Akiko Yoshizaw. After her demonstration she was joined on stage by fellow make-up artists Fujiko and Yumiko for a demonstration on Gothic style make-up. While costume creation is quite an important aspect to CosPlaying, make-up design is a highly respected art form within this sub-culture. 
Japanese Make-Up Artist Akiko Applies Make-Up to a Cosplayer.
This was my first time shooting photographs at a fashion show, especially one dedicated primarily to Cosplay. While I've managed to capture many America Cosplayers at various comic cons,  this was my first time, experiencing the true Asian inspired phenomena first hand. Cosplay has truly moved beyond. For a wider array of Cosplay, be sure to visit the New York Anime Comic Con, held each year at the Jacob Javits Center, and is now part of the New York Comic Con. 


Sarah Wu said...

These are awesome photos. You captured what cosplay are. So fun!

Alan said...

Thanks, Sarah! The fashion show was a lot of fun.

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