Meet Kimi from Flaunt It Fashion

You have a ton of artistic talent! You’re a self proclaimed seamstress, doll maker, painter, jeweler, sculptor, graphic designer, illustrator, photographer, hatter and fabricator.  What artistic endeavor was your start into the world of costumes and cosplay?
Kimi's first Cosplay
I’m trying to remember that far back, but I’m pretty sure the first costume I designed was a rooster suit for Tyler Civic Ballet’s performance of Giselle.  That was when I was still in high school.  In college, I was introduced to comic/gaming conventions and the renaissance faire.  I had the opportunity to attend GenCon in 2001 and really wanted to dress up as my D&D elf character.  Making it was my only option due to funds.  I did some altering to a pre-existing shirt, drafted a simple pattern to make a skirt and then my mother help me with a cloak.  After that I was hooked!  

What made you step up your sewing skills? 
It was the renaissance faire that really encouraged me to improve my skills. I was in love with the court gowns of the cast and once again on a collage student’s budget, if I wanted it I had to make it.

Renwear. As in renaissance festivals? Can you chat a bit about those? What’s your favorite one? What do you enjoy about them?

I love renaissance festivals! It’s like stepping into a storybook where you can be one of the characters.  The Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachi, TX is my “home” faire.  It was my first introduction to Ren Faires and is still most visited faire. In fact, I’m there almost every day it’s open.  I’m considered a “playtron”, as in someone who has gone beyond the regular patron and actually interacts with the paid cast and other patrons.  I’m a German Baroness with the Continental Court and am confused for cast all the time.  As I stay “in character” at Scarborough, I wear court gowns almost exclusively there and have to save my fantasy costumes for other festivals.  At Sherwood Forest you may see me as a fairy or medieval maiden.  At the Texas Renaissance Faire my pirate costumes come out of the closet! 

When you’re building a costume, what’s your process in selecting patterns and fabric?
This is actually quite a complicated question! There are so many factors to consider; is it supposed to be authentic to a period, are you trying to match a specific character, will it be worn once inside or need to last for a decade in outside conditions, is it for a child?  I have a collection of authentic attire patterns that I use as reference for historical costuming and wide range of Halloween costume patters to help me with sizing and shaping for my custom drafted patterns. 

What’s the hardest part for you about cosplay designing/building?
The hardest part for me is having the money to buy the materials I want! I hate to compromise on quality and wish I had unlimited resources to create my wild ideas.  It’s awesome when I get to work for a client who has a large budget and happily pays what ever is needed to have what they want!

I’ve always believed that artists, in whatever form, are always trying to improve their skill. Is there a skill is you working on improving right now in your costume building?

This is so true, I never stop refining my skills or learning something new.  Right now I’m working on improving my skills with spandex.  It’s a relatively new fabric for me as I’ve just started doing super hero cosplay. 

You build for other cosplayers as well.  Your website features some really cute children’s cosplay; is there a difference between children and adult cosplayers?
Example of Kimi's Cosplay for Kids

There are a few things I do differently for children’s costumes.  They HAVE to be comfortable! While I’ll wear tightly laced corsets, heavy head pieces and six inch heels to have to look I want, there is no way your going to convince a four year old an itchy petticoat is something cool. They also have to durable to lots of play.  I try to include the ability for the costume to grow some with the child, be it a lace up back or a few extra inches turned under at the seam.  Kids grow fast and it’s no fun having a costume that only fits once!

What are some tips you can give to new cosplayers who are interested in getting more involved in their cosplay design/build?
Have fun! There are so many options out there even if you can’t sew.  There are all kinds of tutorials online on how to build every sort of prop, style wigs and decorate pre existing items.  Creating some part of your cosplay really gives you a great since of pride, especially when you get compliments on it.

I can’t let you leave without asking about hats! You’re a hatter, and Exquisitely Geek has never met a true hatter! How did you get started with that? What’s your favorite hat?
Well, I’ve always had a love of hats! I probably have over 40 hanging on my wall and on stands in my costume room. I was having a hard time matching the red in court gown so I decided to figure out how to make my own with the coordinating fabric.  Picking a favorite hat is like picking a favorite child! I’ll have to go with the two I’m proudest of; first my Lolita March Hare (which is huge) and a doll scale witch hat that was a special recreation of a destroyed hat for a customer all the way in Japan!

What are you working on right now?

Over half of my cosplay now days is actually made for BJDs (Japanese Ball Joint Dolls).  I like create many of my dolls from blanks where I make everything: wig, eyes, clothing and face/body painting.   It really lets me combine all my favorite arts, painting, sewing and fabrication, into one little package.

Here are some of Kimi's current Doll Cosplay projects!

We know that Kimi is having a ton of fun at this year's faire in Waxahachie, TX! Hopefully, we'll see Kimi soon at a con.  Be sure to check Kimi out on Facebook and at her personal website! Thanks, Kimi for chatting with us!

Do you know of an exciting cosplayer or costume designer that we should feature? Kimi was recommended by one of our Exquisitely Geek readers, and we'd love to keep featuring artists you enjoy.  Check out the "Contact" page and let us know or leave a comment below! Until next time, stay exceptionally chic and exquisitely geek!

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