DAT COSPLAY LYFESTYLE.
by Tommy Alonso
Over the past weekend at San Diego Comic-Con International, there was a duo that would repair cosplays for people for FREE! What? They're not hired by SDCC? What?! They help out anyone and everyone?! What?! This group is called, the Cosplay Corps!
Because of this, I had to get an interview with the group and I got a chance to speak with Sergeant Swift Stitch of the San Diego Chapter. Here was our interview:
INTERVIEW with Sgt. Swift Stitch:
1. What is the International Cosplay Corps?
The International Cosplay Corps is a group of 26 costuming enthusiasts spread out over 6 countries that provide a completely free cosplay repair service at any convention that may have cosplay present. We are dedicated to helping everyone we can with no motive other than compassion for the costuming community.
2. How did you find out about the group? Did you start the group?
I first found out about the group through an article on the founder of the International Cosplay Corps, Captain Patch-It of Australia. He went in a sewing/Captain America mash-up cosplay to Supanova Melbourne a pop culture expo and quickly realized that his cosplay was actually really useful to cosplayers having technical meltdowns when he could lend a safety pin or a needle and thread. When he went viral for his acts of kindness several of us all over the world reached out to him asking if we could “steal” his idea for our own conventions. Out of that, the International Cosplay Corps was born.
3. I've noticed that you are the Sergeant of the San Diego Chapter? How did you come to that ranking and what did it take to get there?
Our titles are completely arbitrary to be honest. When we launched the International Cosplay Corps we all decided to continue with Captain Patch-It’s theme of “vaguely military meets crafty” for our personas. There are some great personas out there like The Mending Mistress who manages all the Facebook traffic or Colonel Quick Stitch (one of the originals like me) who takes on the Midwest conventions like GenCon and C2E2.
4. How many chapters are there? Where are the locations?
The San Diego Stitches are really the only “chapter”. Most of the other Repair Members of the International Cosplay Corps operate solo or meet up in teams occasionally. Our 26 members are spread over, The United States, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Mexico and Denmark.
5. How big is the San Diego Chapter?
The San Diego Stitches is primarily the duo of myself and Sergeant Cross-Stitch with the occasional help from The Bobbin Bobby. People have expressed interest in joining but few of them truly understand the impact 4-6 conventions a year (and growing) has on your wallet, body and sanity. Aside from being financially stable enough to afford supplies and the time off to make it to these conventions, the strongest qualifications we are looking for are people who are truly a well-rounded craft experts that can keep up with the fast pace of dashing from one repair call to the next.
6. What cosplays (cosplayers) have you worked with and help out?
I’ve lost track of how many fixes we make per convention but we estimate that we repaired at a minimum 100 people over the course of San Diego Comic Con 2016. Some of our favorite cosplayers that we run into regularly that we first met as cosplay repair are Rian Synth, famous for her Mulan Fett and Silk and Loki Hates You famous for his, well, Loki. At this year’s SDCC we had the pleasure to meet Ryan Wells who went viral for his Dark Crystal Garthim.
7. What is one of the craziest experiences you've had in regards to repairing someone's cosplay?
This is somewhat embarrassing for the cosplayers, so I will not name names but, I have been in proximity to many butts over the last 2 years of cosplay repair. I’ve accidentally glued my finger to a Slave Leia’s butt. One Mystique’s latex cat-suit ripped right on the cheek so I had to tape her up before the world saw. I’ve also been in a rather compromising position in the ladies restroom trying to safety pin a Poison Ivy’s crotch snap closed. Being a costumer for so long I’m not phased by nudity but I’m sure it was a little overwhelming for some of the other gals I’ve patched up in the privacy of the handicap stall.
8. What tools do you normally carry with you on the job?
Everything from hair supplies to glue and tape to first aid.
The real star of the show is my Bosch cordless hot glue gun. It is USB rechargeable and only available in Australia and the UK so if you are looking for one you’ll have to fork out for the shipping. In a tragic turn of events this San Diego Comic Con it fell out of my drop leg holster because I had not clipped it back in before moving on to the next repair and it now no longer powers on. I’ll need to source out a replacement before our next convention but it’s served me so well for the last 2 years I can’t imagine not just getting another.
9. What is the best part of the job?
The best part of doing what we do is watching someone walk away after a repair excited to go back to having fun. For so many people, especially those who travel long distances to get to conventions, a torn shoulder strap or broken shoe could be the end of their day in the costume they have worked so hard on. Even if it isn’t perfect, a small fix to just make it till the end of the day makes such a difference in that person’s experiance. This is true especially for the younger cosplayers. My grandmother started to teach me to sew at age 7 and I have been doing it and passing my knowledge on to others for 21 years. My fear is that people are not teaching their children to be creative the way they used to and if we don’t foster a love for costuming and creative thought the community of cosplay has the chance to disappear entirely in 30-40 years. If I can save just one little kid’s day by fixing his Ninja Turtle shell he painted himself, I feel like I have succeeded in continuing to feed the creative flame in future generations.
They happened to be featured in the following news outlets:
The Union Tribune:
Cosplay In America:
At San Diego Comic Con 2016 they were honored by the Costume Designers Guild for their efforts with the Hall Costume Award presented to them by industry leaders such as Costume Designers, Ann Foley (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Terry Dresbach (Outlander & Battlestar Galactica) and Producer Ron Moore (Star Trek & Battlestar Galactica)
They're such an awesome cosplay duo who are always helpful at conventions. They will be there if you are ever in need to fix your armor or your weapons. They are the true cosplay heroes!
Make sure to check out their social medias down below: