Category Archives: cosplay

cosplay

Custom Tailoring: Royal Manticoran Navy Uniforms

Royal Manticoran Navy Custom Uniform

2017. Custom Costume for Dakota

Fans of the Royal Manticoran Navy and Honor Harrington Fan Association celebrate author David Weber’s detailed universe with specific uniforms. We tailored this one for Dakota in a beautiful wool with gold trim, piping and all his military insignia specific to his rank and character in this universe.

Royal Manticoran Navy Custom Uniform
Royal Manticoran Navy Custom Uniform
Royal Manticoran Navy Custom Uniform
Royal Manticoran Navy Custom Uniform

PENNYWISE: CUSTOM COSTUME

Pennywise custom costume by McGrew Studios.

2017:
Victor V. asked us for a custom Pennywise costume for the premiere of IT, and this was a very cool project with some swell fabrics: Two colors of silk dupioni with great rouching and piping details all over the place, then garnished with wool yarn pom poms plus some great paisley trimmings and tassel fringe.  His makeup is by one of the artists at the Fear Factory right here in Salt Lake. Victor tells us he will be resurrecting Pennywise when the IT sequel hits the theaters in 2019:)

custom fitting- in the shop

custom fitting – in the shop

Custom clown spats in white canvas and black leather over platform shoes!

making some nifty custom spats

Pennywise- fabrics and trim: Silk dupioni and wool yarns

Fresh costume – looks a bit cleaner than a monster who’s been living in the sewers and caverns for a millenia:)

on the tracks outside out shop in the Granary District, Salt Lake City

Pennywise- waiting patiently for the IT sequel

Custom Superhero Costume: Littlest Wonder Woman – Josh Rossi Photography

Famous Photographer, Famous Daughter

 

 

A project that’s had 33 million views and counting as of January 2017.

 

When Jessica Alba, George Takei, and even the new Wonder Woman film director Patty Jenkins are talking about your work, trust us, it’s pretty cool.

 

McGrew Studios and Josh Rossi Photography have wanted to work together on a project for several years, and at last we finally have!

 

10/20/2016

 

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The convergence of his daughter Nellee’s 3rd birthday,  the 75th anniversary of Wonder Woman, Halloween 2016, plus the new Wonder Woman movie trailer all culminated in a personal project for Josh that hit viral status within just several days.  As Josh told KSL TV in an interview at our studio, “All the trending buttons have been hit with both the timing and subject matter of his project,” (not to mention Full Time Photographer‘s original click-bait article title that waves a design and labor rate in readers’ faces).

 

 

Josh’s project has generated a BIG range of discussion, contention, admiration and even scorn– throughout comment threads on all the websites that have reposted the project or created their own new features about it.

 

At McGrews, we are naturally just agog at all this activity and very proud to have played our role in this fantastic project.

 

Some of the videos, articles and links:

 

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Nellee is one cool, three-year old superhero!

 

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Costume made by McGrews’ cartel members Jennifer McGrew with Diane Thompson, plus custom sword and shield by Randy Crit Killen. We love how great Josh’s photos make our work look:)

 

We made Nellee’s costume using several types of leathers along with worbla details, lacing, grommets and a variety of trimmings. We designed her leather bodice to be adjustable in the back as well as on the sides, because she will grow fast!

 

Her leather skirt pieces are sewn onto their own waistband which is attached under the bodice, and this whole element is alterable so it can also be adjused as she grows. Nelee’s armored spats lace up over her boots and should also endure two or more shoe-size increases. We made Nellee’s shoulder straps expandable, and for adjustability over time,  plus created her pauldrons to slide on her straps.

 

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Something Josh brought up after the KSL interview at our shop was the idea of creating and marketing patterns for kids’ costumes. Based on the overwhelming response to this project’s release on the web, it’s something we may seriously consider.

 

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We wanted this costume to be something that replicates the cinematic version and something that she’ll enjoy for a long time. We predict she may wear it until she is five or older!

 

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Would you like a pattern for this Wonder Woman costume that you could create for your own 2-4 year old? Tell us what you think.

 

Tags:

wonder woman toddler photography surreal kid photography child photography comic con photography comic con cosplay cosplay fashion wonder woman outfit marvel costume DC comics wonder woman costume dad spends $1500 on daughters costume josh rossi photography full time photographer

Props and effects wizard Crit Randy Killen’s process photos.
He made Nellee’s Wonder Woman sword and shield.

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Crit even made a cool bag for Nellee’s sword and shield.

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Johnny Killen helped his dad, Crit, with this project.

 

 

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Sword and shield delivered to Josh!

 

Follow and see more from Crit on Facebook-

Barf Pockets

Definitely as awesome as they sound.
Sometimes all a costume needs are the final detailed additions– in this case, new POCKETS!

Heroically, two pairs of khaki trousers sacrificed themselves to become the new pockets and dropseat we added to Bill’s existing coveralls.  Now he is the essence of “Barf” from Mel Brooks’ hilarious Spaceballs film.

Thanks, Bill for having us make your new pockets and for sharing your photos.

May the schwartz be with you!

Photos: Mark Loertscher Photography

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Cosplay and the Problem of Marxism But Were Afraid to Ask (The Idea of A Cosplay- History, Portability, Artisanship and Commodity)

     I watched in admiration as our technical cosplay judges at this year’s Salt Lake Comic Con actually got up out of their chairs and walked around to the front of their table to touch and get a closer look at the costume details of Hiccup and Astrid, made by Jeremy L. Bird and worn in the competition by her (yep, her name is Jeremy) son Ryan and his girlfriend Janessa. Their costumes were definitely amazing, taking 1st place in the Intermediate category.

Cosplayers Ryan and Janessa as Hiccup and Astrid. Salt Lake Comic Con, September 2014. Costumes made by Jeremy L. Bird. First place: Intermediate Category. Photograph courtesy Robert Hirschi, official cosplay competition photographer.

Cosplayers Ryan and Janessa as Hiccup and Astrid.
Salt Lake Comic Con, September 2014.
Costumes made by Jeremy L. Bird. First place: Intermediate Category.
Photograph courtesy Robert Hirschi, official cosplay competition photographer.

     It had been a long stretch that day, overseeing the preliminary cosplay adjudication, the cosplay first aid station, the stage show and competition, and watching our judges’ polite and helpful interactions with sooo many contestants- most of these interactions made from from behind their table, in seated positions. The materials used in Hiccup’s costume, Jeremy said, only cost $150, but as all the judges agreed, the work featured the use of some expertly cut and assembled bleach bottles, sculpey and an assortment of repurposed fabrics and household materials she’d expertly put together in a faithful, realistic replication of the character.

Salt Lake Comic Con technical judges Kamui Cosplay, Aaron Forrester and Daniel Falconer checking out the details of a contestant's costume and giving personal feedback. Photograph courtesy Robert Hirschi, official cosplay competition photographer.

Salt Lake Comic Con technical judges Kamui Cosplay, Aaron Forrester and Daniel Falconer checking out the details of a contestant’s costume and giving personal feedback. Photograph courtesy Robert Hirschi, official cosplay competition photographer.

     Raw materials in our current era of personal cosplay can be costly sometimes, but the cosplay artisanship itself tends to be more rewarded or appreciated than the value of materials used. If someone uses pure gold in a costume’s armor or a skin that’s inexpertly crafted or rendered, who cares? But if someone fashions a silk purse out of a sow’s ear and it has gorgeous workmanship, the item gets great kudos and big attention from admirers and cosplay judges alike. What we’re presently witnessing parallels the historic economy of materials and artisanship plus raises that timeless “art vs. craft” question as well as the question of value. Consider what young Juan says in one of my favorite novels, Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, about Mr. Dubois, his high school ethics instructor:

He had been droning along about “value,” comparing the Marxist theory with the orthodox “use” theory. Mr. Dubois had said, “Of course, the Marxian definition of value is ridiculous. All the work one cares to add will not turn a mud pie into an apple tart; it remains a mud pie, value zero. By corollary, unskillful work can easily subtract value; an untalented cook can turn wholesome dough and fresh green apples, valuable already, into an inedible mess, value zero. Conversely, a great chef can fashion of those same materials a confection of greater value than a commonplace apple tart, with no more effort than an ordinary cook uses to prepare an ordinary sweet.

These kitchen illustrations demolish the Marxian theory of value – the fallacy from which the entire magnificent fraud of communism derives – and illustrate the truth of the common-sense definition as measured in terms of use.”

Dubois had waved his stump at us. “nevertheless – wake up, back there! – nevertheless the disheveled old mystic of Das Kapital, turgid, tortured, confused, and neurotic, unscientific, illogical, this pompous fraud Karl Marx, nevertheless had a glimmering of a very important truth. If he had possessed an analytical mind, he might have formulated the first adequate definition of value … and this planet might have been saved endless grief.”

     I sometimes use that quote above during public presentations when I talk to producers and corporate people about what’s actually involved in designing and building costumes for films and events, but I can’t claim it’s something most people really get, unless they are also skilled- very skilled and accomplished at some sort of trade. They probably didn’t get the same level of indoctrination as I did with Marxism in college. – Yeech.

     Anyhow, artisanship didn’t always outweigh the value of raw materials in all trades, though, and the idea of a painting is, historically, a newer one. Arguably, our contemporary idea of a cosplay has evolved on a somewhat parallel path in terms of how a costume is situated in public or private space, as well as the materials, expenses and talents behind these works. M. Anna Fariello details the shift in perception and commodification of art and artisanship during the renaissance in an excellent essay, “Regarding the History of Objects,” in which she reminds us that painting evolved in response to specific economic social forces. In the renaissance, Fariello says, those not born into aristocratic families could now buy class.

The development of a merchant class, combined with a wider acceptance of secular humanism, allowed individual wealthy patrons to commission personal portraits, which, in turn, became tangible symbols of their wealth. To accommodate a patron’s desire for a personalized and portable status symbol, artists adapted methods used to create traditional wood altar-pieces to a smaller format, the painted panel. Thus, the idea of a painting was born. (10)

     The expansion of the merchant class changed everything.

The exploding popularity of cosplay in our highly mobile, commodity-hungry population mirrors this now.

The idea of portability is key and one can purchase or make the trappings of class for him/herself. A costumed person is a self-contained, mobile unit, and any painting on a wood panel travels better than a permanent fresco or painted ceiling. A renaissance family who buys that painting on a board can still display its status, even if it moves across town to another villa. Even if it’s a religious triptych of three images hinged together, the message is mobile.

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Example of a hinged triptych by Hans Memling. A triptych is mobile propaganda, designed for a community’s learning and moral edification. It could travel to poorer churches way out in the boonies – to churches that maybe couldn’t afford to commisison artwork of their own.

 

 

     Historically, costumes, too, have stepped off the traditionally more stationary, pious, elevated stages of church steps and naves into secular theater spaces, public arenas and streets. We may be enjoying a renaissance now of 1960’s “happenings,” given the spontaneous performances you witness at any convention. Dramas communicated through costume, though, are still largely propagandistic from the top-down but they also work from the bottom-up, meant for the social programming and moral conditioning of whole populations. Now costumes are out there on secular occasions and convention floors and the individual cosplayer or costumed performer has become the buyer as well as the salesman. Cosplay artisans purchase their own class and status while simultaneously pitching the intellectual property belonging to corporations ranging from DC to Disney.

     Fariello describes how prior to the 15th century, materials were typically more expensive than the artist’s time, talent, or the painting process itself. Substances such as gold, lapis, rare pigments and chemicals could be hard to come by, plus they were expensive and difficult to process. Guilds heavily guarded their secret formulas and manufacturing processes for making things like pigments and glazes (8).  In the 14th or 15th century, a patron commissioning a new painting might indeed pay by the square foot, much like we’d pay for expensive slate flooring at the Home Depot today. The selection of which tile-layer should do the job might sometimes be a secondary consideration. Thus, many paintings created prior to increased availability of materials were typically commissioned only for permanent structures, churches, civic buildings, and public places. Places– that had most often held significant religious and cultural value.

Hiccup & Astrid, Salt Lake Comic Con 2014. Photo courtesy of Robert Hirschi

Hiccup & Astrid, Salt Lake Comic Con 2014.
Photo courtesy Robert Hirschi

     Similarly, value placed on theatrical costume by guilds who staged elaborate mystery plays, religious in nature, followed these trends. The fierce nature of guilds’ competition with other guilds fostered a keen artisan eye and rigor related to dramatic staging and accouterments. One could say we’re seeing history repeat itself in the form of group cosplay, skits and multiple characters who compete together. Robert Huntington Fletcher’s account of medieval theater contains some interesting reflection about how simple, symbolic and suggestive most of the set pieces were compared to the costumes that were given great details, elevated priority, and they were even stored from year to year in expensive caches. He provides some bookeeping evidence:

In partial compensation the costumes were often elaborate, with all the finery of the church wardrobe and much of those of the wealthy citizens. The expense accounts of the guilds, sometimes luckily preserved, furnish many picturesque and amusing items, such as these: ‘Four pair of angels’ wings, 2 shillings and 8 pence.’ ‘For mending of hell head, 6 pence.’ ‘Item, link for setting the world on fire.’ (110).

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Here’s a great example of a group or “Mini Guild” entry: Galaxy Quest group.
Salt Lake Comic Con, 2014.
Photo courtesy Robert Hirschi

 

 
 
 
 
 

     In performance parlance, we could say that the idea of a cosplay has fully evolved along with our current era of democratized technology, availability of inexpensive materials, but the message of the dramas are no longer super relegated to Christian themes or characters. We do publicly celebrate ingenuity and frugality- those great American values. An awesome Iron Man costume made from cardboard is impressive, but it’s even more impressive when the maker has skillfully used time-consuming techniques with bondo or woodfiller putty plus endless hours of sanding and expert painting to create seamless, reflective beauty so that the cardboard resembles shining chrome.

     No longer in service to only religious dramas or even Hollywood icons, costumes have now and forever entered public space and now everyone can participate, purchasing or fashioning their own, even if what is usually being sold (the branded character) merely feeds back into the larger economic food chain. Guilds still form, compete and re-enact a new set of stories designed to teach our communities valuable moral lessons. But we are still being conditioned to display our status or talents while actively consuming and selling each other messages that during medieval theater used to come to us from scripture (and still come up in student essays about Spiderman’s big challenge to reconcile “great power with great responsibility”). And so it goes.

Adjudicating cosplay. Salt Lake Comic Con cosplay technical judges Melissa Spencer, Aaron Forrester and Tia Dworshak, with administrative help from Lynsey Marie Mitchell. Technical Cosplay Adjudicators, hard at work and taking their job very seriously. Photo, courtesy of Robert Hirschi

Adjudicating cosplay. Salt Lake Comic Con cosplay technical judges Melissa Spencer, Aaron Forrester and Tia Dworshak, with administrative help from Lynsey Marie Mitchell. Technical Cosplay Adjudicators, hard at work and taking their job very seriously. Photo, courtesy Robert Hirschi

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Works Cited

 

Fariello, M. Anna and Paula Owen, ed. “Regarding the History of Objects” Objects and Meaning: New Perspectives on Art and Craft. Ed. Anna M. Fariello and Paula Owen. Rowman & Littlefield. Plymouth, UK 2004. books.google.com http://tinyurl.com/l6bfsqf

 

Fletcher, Robert Huntington. A History of English Literature. Boston, Richard G. Badger/The Gorham Press, 1913. books.google.com, http://tinyurl.com/kuqfsbo

 

Heinlein, Robert. Starship Troopers. books.google.com http://tinyurl.com/o5j4qzq

 

Check out more of Robert Hirschi’s photos on facebook or on the hotvisual website