Hailing from North East England, Corvidae Cosplay Emporium is made up of a fearsome duo of foamsmiths and sewing masters. They’re no strangers to guesting and judging at cons all over the UK, and looking at the calibre of their work, it’s not hard to see why! We caught up with Olivia to talk more about their costumes.
Favourite food: pork belly ramen
Who or what first inspired you to start cosplaying?
I’ve always loved costumes but games were and are the most inspirational thing for me. The same goes for Ryan, the other cosplayer that makes up Corvidae Cosplay Emporium – we’re both massively inspired by games and making characters come to life.
What was your first costume? How does it compare to some of your more recent work?
Our first costumes were when we were very little – our families have always been into us making and wearing costumes. Mine was a big foam Flounder when I was about 5! Ryan used to have kid’s armour that he would take on camping holidays to castles and he would run around pretending to be a knight! But our first cosplays were when the first images for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate came out; we knew it would be Victorian England so we made steampunk Assassins. In comparison to recent work they were good but very sewing based and amateur-ish. Ryan’s good at sewing as he used to work at a tailors, but since then I have completed my degree in costuming so all our patterns are made from scratch from our own basic clothing blocks and then adapted into what we want. We also are a lot better at foam work and use more technical things such as a 3D printer, airbrush, we resin cast and use LEDs in our cosplays too. They’re a lot more advanced these days!
What would you say has been your most complex costume so far?
Probably the Monster Hunter World costumes that we won the Cosplay Championships at London Film and Comic Con in last year. They were complex base patterns, the armour was mental and we had to use a lot of different types of foam with different densities and thicknesses to achieve the final result. We used foam clay too, which was the first time we had worked with it. There was LEDs that had to change colour, weapons that are taller than me (and were a pain to get on and off the underground with!!!) and we had props to go on stage with to make our performance more interactive. We made the 3D files and printed numerous sections of the build, which was great fun as it was the first time we had utilised the 3D printer for complex designs, and we had about 5 weeks to make the costumes around working… safe to say we didn’t sleep for 4 days before the competition. I’ve never been so tired and pumped in my life! The costumes still aren’t done either – there’s lot we want to finalise or aspects that need changing (the Championship was the first time we both wore our costumes so there’s a bunch of stuff that can be reworked to make them better) but the entire thing took so much out of us, those costumes are packed away and we’ll sort them out when I can cope with looking at them again!
Do you have dream costumes? Can you use anything you learned while making your Monster Hunter outfits to help?
For me it would be to replicate a Kaiju from Pacific Rim, it’s my all time favourite film and I would absolutely love to have the skills to do a good job with it. It’s an end goal though, it’s nothing like anything we’ve done before and I need to learn more about old school character methods from filming to attack that bad boy with the vigour that it deserves! Ryan says his dream cosplay would be Predator, either original or elder, because of the cape! I think realistically he poses the skills required to make it, but again it’s a case of wanting to master different techniques so we can both really nail the costumes and do the original inspiration proud!
What’s your favourite part of the costume making process?
We both love working with foam – making a 2D design into a 3D detailed reality, that’s an amazing feeling. The figuring out of how to put the costume together and how everything will work from a technical perspective is always good fun, especially considering how we need all our costumes to be not just aesthetically correct but also correct and fitting to the settings you’d find them in (like fabric choices for a Samurai costume or the cut and sewing techniques on a sci-fi piece) and, most importantly for us, that we have to perform in them – performance and being the character is the most important aspect in our eyes, so the costumes must be designed to withstand this. Then there’s obviously the final piece, when you’re wearing it and people respond to you as though you’re the character – I absolutely live for that narrative that people create with you in costume.