8 March 2010
Sakura's Cosplay Store
Lianne is the owner of Sakura's Cosplay Store; one of the few UK-based stores making Cosplay outfits and accessories. She completes one-off commissions, some of which have won awards at conventions, as well as having an online store bursting with just about everything you need; from ears and hats to weapons and full-on outfits.
Lianne started attending Cosplay conventions in 2005 with Aya con; one of the UK's oldest and largest Anime conventions. Her and her friends decided to try out Cosplaying for our first convention, and found themselves instantly hooked. Since then, they've made an effort to try and attend at least one convention every year.
For each convention, Lianne found that she was spending hours and hours trawling the internet for her costumes and accessories; looking for pre-made items or, failing that, people making one-off costume commissions in the UK. Due to her frustrations about the cost, lack of suppliers and lack of accuracy in what was available, Lianne began making her own items more and more. During her third convention, one of her friends suggested that she sold some of the items she made, and so, Sakura's Cosplay Store was launched.
Sakura's aims to provide all the items Lianne had struggled to find herself, focusing on detail and accuracy while keeping prices affordable. "Through doing comissions, I've been given the opportunity to make all kinds of interesting projects; this is definately one hobby that is always full of surprises - I never know what I might end up making next."
We asked Lianne a few questions about her costumes and accessories:
What was the very first Cosplay item you made and what was the inspiration behind it?
The first time I made something for Cosplay was a Soul Staff from the game Ragnarok Online; the inspriation came from a visit to Lands End and in a Christmas shop I saw a lovely blue glass bauble. My brother and I had recently been discussing possible Cosplays, one being from the game, and when I saw it the first thing I thought was that it would be perfect for the Soul Staff....(the more you think about a Cosplay the more you see possible materials everywere and in everything)
What's the most unusual item someone has asked you to make for them?
I think probably the Hiogi Sensu (Fan) - a lady was Cosplaying a noble form the Heian period (794-1192) and wanted a close replica to what they would have used back then. When I started doing this I imagined all kinds of strange and wonderful things I may end up making, but I never envisaged that I'd be sat there one day hand sewing wood together to make a traditional Hiogi Sensu.
From the items you've made, which have you been most proud of and why?
Although I'm proud of many pieces for different reasons, I'd have to pick the Princess Garnet Crown. It's been one of the most intricate pieces iIve made as far as detail and difficulty goes: it's crafted out of plastic and just gives a really good finish, it's definately one of my favourites, both because of the challenge of making it (the plastic is good fun to work with) and the pleasure of being able to get such a nice finish with the materials used.
What's the best tip you could give to someone who's making their first ever Cosplay outfit?
Research! Once you have chosen a character, get as many pictures from as many angles as you can get your hands on; this allows you to see the outfit you're planning from all angles and you can pick out all of the details that make up the character. No matter what your skill level, if you buy, make, or both, if you don't have good reference pictures it will make it harder to recreate the image you want (this is important if buying too as you can compare the quality and detail of the items you're buying).
What's the biggest fashion mistake you've ever made?
Well if I think non-Cosplay then probably it would have to be a pair of bright turquoise jeans and a bright yellow crop top and dark purple hair. I loved it to bits when I was about 15ish, looking back at the photos that was definately a BIG mistake!
What are your hopes for Sakura's Cosplay Store in the future?
I'm having a lot of fun with the site and making Cosplay items for people, I intend to keep doing those things, but have been looking at expanding on the things I make. For example, recently I've fallen in love with ball-joined dolls and now own a couple of them, I thought it would be fun to try making some of the Cosplay items in miniture for the dolls. They looked adorable, so I'm planning on adding a new BJD section to the site so I can share these mini tresures with other BJD owners.
I'm also in the process of re-vamping the entire site, which will include features such as a new Facebook page and Twitter profile; hopefully this shiny new site will be ready to launch within a few weeks.