Scene: CWU students create Cosplay and Costuming Club

Brittany Rash/The Observer

BY SARAH RUIZ, Staff Reporter

In the next few weeks, Central may become the home of the official Cosplay and Costuming Club, if the group is approved.

“Our idea is to have a friendly environment for cosplay and costumers to learn and grow,” Hayley Ebberts, the group’s president, said.

All of the paperwork has been sent to the Central Board of Directors office, and the group anxiously awaits word on their status.

For now, the group gathers on the second level of the SURC and makes plans for the future.

Community service they hope to participate in includes visiting children’s hospitals in costumes or reading at the local community library. The group has plans for a makeup tutorial this Saturday.

“We really are for having fun. We aren’t a bunch of elitists; we won’t turn anyone away,”  Club Senator Maria Harr said.

The club hopes to expand the cosplay community within Central. This community is one built out of experiences and interactions. People within the community meet at conventions, websites, groups and networking.

“I think people in the cosplay community are really supportive of one another,” club member Joie Sullivan said. “It opens up an opportunity for new relationships and friendships, and even professions.”

Harr says that since she has started to cosplay, she has met an extraordinary amount of people. After living in Hawaii, she says her previously isolated life has grown through the cosplay community.

Harr has attended conventions all over the world, including conventions in Germany.

“I feel like for the most part, we are incredibly open,” Vice-President Ashley Baker said. “We like talking to people and sharing our interests. We are literally wearing our interests. It’s something you don’t see anywhere else.”

The chance to gather at conventions presents an opportunity to share the hard work members put into each costume.

Within the club, there are many different levels of experience and skill. Some of the group has started cosplay just earlier this year, while others have been cosplaying since 2006.

The varying amount of experience and interests ensures that the club, which has about 26 members, will have a wide variety of knowledge to share.

“It’s really just to gain more knowledge and become a part of something,” Baker said. “I feel like everyone involved has been impacted [by cosplay or costuming] in some way, and it’s always been positive. In general, it’s a great way to socialize.”

If the group manages to become a club, they plan to fundraise so they can afford to help its members attend conventions and show off their creations. With conventions like Emerald City Comic-Con and Sakura-Con taking place in Washington, the number of people interested in cosplay has grown.

“There is a big interest in this. We are going to create something for [people interested],” Ebberts said.

With the creation of this club, it is hoped by the group that people will come out and try the experience. Many of the members say they have grown as individuals and gained important skills since beginning to cosplay.

Whether it is the confidence to go out in full costume, or have the patience and passion to put together an entire look, cosplay and costuming has changed those who have tried it.

“When I first cosplayed, I learned a lot about sewing,” Sullivan said. “People that are more experienced might get more enjoyment out of actually going to the convention rather than the process of making the outfit.”

The Cosplay and Costuming Club hopes to include the wide group of people interested and help them learn and continue to grow. Getting students to understand that the Cosplay Club can involve almost anyone is important to the group.

Cosplay and costuming can be dressing up as any character a person wants. Gender-bending, steampunk and creating human versions of non-human characters are just a small section of the type of costumes that are welcome in the club.

“We wanted to include more people besides the cosplay community  because some people make costumes like renaissance, LARPing, and we didn’t want them to feel left out if it wasn’t specifically cosplay,” Baker said.

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