Conversations in Cosplay: Demorafairy Talks Pokémon Gijinkas, The Hate On Sexy Cosplays, Facebook Is Your Friend, And MORE!!!
As well as paying tribute to all your favourite characters from video games, comic books, movies and wherever else you find inspiration, cosplay can also serve as a way for you to make those characters your own. Whether you choose to do that by gender-bending a character, morphing a creature into a human or just adding your own subtle twists to make a character feel more you, cosplay offers all kinds of opportunities to indulge your creativity. Tabitha – better known to her followers as Demorafairy Cosplay – has earned her reputation for unique costumes. From steampunk styles to Pokémon gijinkas, her handcrafted cosplays are infused with her own personal style.
We got in touch with Tabitha to find out how she comes up with her unique cosplay ideas.
What got you into cosplaying?
I started cosplaying in 2008 when some of my friends found out about a convention that was on, and we all decided to cosplay to it.
What was the first character you ever cosplayed?
A Dark Brotherhood assassin from Oblivion.
How did it feel going out in cosplay for the first time?
I absolutely loved it, especially as I was cosplaying my character from a game that I spent so much time playing, it felt like the game had come to life. Except with less magic.
How does it compare to how you feel showing off new cosplays now?
In some ways, very different – I get a lot more attention in my cosplays now and get asked for photos, that didn’t really happen when I first cosplayed. At the time I didn’t really feel like I was ‘showing off’ my cosplay as such, and it wasn’t as big a part of my life as it is now.
What do you think of that first cosplay now?
I still think it’s alright! Lots of room for improvement, but I still like it – unlike when I look back at some of my first drawings and wonder if I’d tried to hold the pen with my teeth!
When did you realise you were first getting noticed as a cosplayer? How did it make you feel?
I guess it was when I first cosplayed Jinx a few years after I started, for a number of reasons. Mostly because that was when people first started asking for more photos, including some of the more professional photographers – though probably mostly because of how revealing it was… It was also around the time that I started going to meet-ups and getting involved in Facebook groups and making a lot of the cosplay friends I have today, so that was when I first started feeling a lot more part of the community, whereas before I only really went with friends and didn’t socialise much outside of the people I already knew from school.
What makes a character jump out at you as something you have to cosplay?
Usually big, detailed, beautiful outfits. Especially if they have a generally dark colour scheme.
You make a lot of costumes that aren’t direct copies of characters, but instead are inspired by their likeness. What about a character will inspire you to make something like that?
A few things, partly if the original design of a character lends itself to an interpretation I’d like to do, and of course how much I like the character. I want to cosplay characters I really like, but also only want to make outfits I like the look of, so if I love a character but don’t particularly like their outfit I enjoy trying to make a different interpretation instead.
Your repertoire includes Pokémon gijinka costumes. What’s your favourite Pokémon to dress up as?
I think the Pokémon I’ve most enjoyed cosplaying has been Chandelure, I love the gothic aesthetic and I love big dresses, so it was perfect. It also helped that it was a really comfy cosplay that didn’t take long to get into!
What’s your favourite Pokémon?
I can never decide… my favourites include Umbreon, Espeon, Liepard, Arcanine, Ninetales and Charizard Y. Charizard Y is one of the next cosplays I have planned, I’ve wanted to do it for ages, I can’t wait to get started!
What do you think of the new Sun and Moon games?
I’ve been playing the demo and it looks great! I love Team Skull. Though I am a bit disappointed that there haven’t been many new Pokémon that I particularly love. I really like Type: Null/Silvally and Alolan Ninetales, but not so sure on the rest.
What’s your most memorable con experience?
Now that’s a difficult question… most of my favourite times have been when I’ve been cosplaying in groups. I was in an Eeveelution group with a bunch of friends once and that was great fun, especially the night before the convention when we had to all try to make an outfit from scratch because one of the others dropped out, so we found someone else to join, bought a red dress from a nearby shop and added all our leftover trim onto it. I also really enjoyed the League of Legends popstar group I was in, which mostly involved the others helping me walk around the con with my Kayle wings without hitting other people.
What’s your favourite character to cosplay?
This isn’t a specific character, but I really enjoy cosplaying steampunk characters, I love feeling both elegant and badass at the same time. I also love corsets and big skirts, and wish it was more acceptable to wear them every day.
If you actually had to live as one of the characters you’d cosplayed, which one would it be?
I would be tempted to say my Skyrim character, if it didn’t mean living somewhere so perpetually cold. Maybe Din from Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, she seems to have a pretty happy life when she’s not getting kidnapped. If I can include future cosplays I might choose Mercy from Overwatch, mostly because then I’d always be in close proximity to Genji’s ass.
This year, you came third in the UK Cosplay Championship. How did that feel?
It felt amazing! I was so happy to place. I’d been really nervous about doing the performance as I wasn’t completely happy with it, but people seem to think it went alright, so I’m happy with that.
What inspired the award-winning entry? Why did you choose it? How long did it take to make?
I’d wanted to do that cosplay since seeing Enayla’s version of it, which is so beautiful and perfect. It’s exactly the sort of cosplay I love, big and beautiful and detailed. I also chose it because it was originally for the Cosplay World Masters competition, and it had a little bit of lots of techniques, which is something you want in a competition piece. It took just over two months of solid work, and a lot of it ended up being quite rushed to get it done in time for the competition.
What’s the most difficult cosplay you’ve ever done?
Probably the Masquerade Armour, partly because it was so rushed, and because I was learning a new material (Thibra) while making it. It was also predominantly fabric work, which I find a lot more difficult than armour.
Have you ever given up on a cosplay idea because it was too difficult?
I’ve given up on a few cosplays, but not because they were too difficult, just because I lost interest and found things I wanted to do instead. Over the years I’ve started and given up on Adha from Assassin’s Creed, Daenerys from Game of Thrones, Chinese New Year Sivir from League of Legends and Headhunter Nidalee from League of Legends (though I did manage to give what I’d done of Nidalee to Envyious who then finished it, and I did Headhunter Caitlyn instead).
You make a lot of incredibly detailed pieces. What materials do you like to use for the trickier stuff? What’s your favourite thing to work with?
Detail is my favourite thing in cosplays! I love working with Thibra, and would like to do some really detailed armour at some point. I’ve done a lot of beading in my last few cosplays, I often buy premade appliques on eBay then add the same beads that I’ve used on the rest of the cosplay to help tie the whole outfit together a bit more. I’d like to start doing my own embroidery from scratch at some point.
What’s the most unusual or unexpected way you’ve found of creating a specific effect?
Hmm, I’m really not sure. I’ve seen a lot of interesting ways of making things (often involving hot glue), but can’t think of anything I’ve done myself that would be particularly unexpected.
Are you working on anything new now?
Yes, my next cosplay will be Lady Mechanika, I’ve wanted to cosplay her for ages and have been waiting to find a design I really like, and have finally found one. I want to learn leather tooling for it, and I’m really excited to start with that.
Are there any characters you’re looking forward to cosplaying in the future?
After Lady Mechanika I’m planning Mercy from Overwatch, Bewitching Morgana from League of Legends and Charizard Y from Pokémon. I’m most excited about Mercy, I love Overwatch right now and was gutted to not have an Overwatch cosplay for the last con I went to.
Who are your favourite cosplayers working right now?
I love Enayla Cosplay and Major Sam Cosplay’s work, everything they make is so beautiful.
What’s your favourite thing about the cosplay community?
How easy it is to make friends and how much everyone wants to help each other and is comfortable with each other, even if you’ve only just met. Everyone knows how difficult cosplay can be, and everyone knows how horrible it is if something goes wrong with your cosplay, so everyone always jumps to help if they see a cosplayer in need. It really brings people together.
How do you think the cosplay community could be improved?
I wish there was less hate on girls doing sexy cosplays, people always moan that they’re stealing attention away from the other cosplayers that put so much time and effort into their cosplays only to get overlooked by a girl in a bikini and a wig. But no one ever seems to get angry about the people giving the attention. Let people do what they enjoy and if you feel a cosplayer deserves more attention, give them that attention.
Outside of cosplaying, what do you like to do with your time?
Games (I’m mostly playing Overwatch at the moment), photography (mostly cosplay photography, and I also really enjoy photo editing), and I’m learning to use fire poi and fire fans.
Do you think you’ll still be cosplaying in ten years’ time? Do you have any goals, in cosplaying terms or otherwise?
I hope so! But that’s a long way off. I want to make cute cosplays for my kids one day.
Do you have any advice for aspiring cosplayers?
Make a Facebook page and take work in progress photos. I didn’t take WIP photos for ages because I thought no one would be interested, then I got loads of questions from people about how I made certain bits, and it was really hard to explain without photos. Plus, it’s nice to be able to look back at what you started with and how it all came together. And with regards to the Facebook page, a lot of people seem to feel that only professional or really popular cosplays have Facebook pages, that’s not true! Anyone can have a Facebook page, and it’s a great way to keep all your cosplay stuff in one place. I definitely recommend making one!