Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday Wishlist: Costumers' gatherings

Once upon a time, when I began costuming seriously, I discovered that the hobby was shared by many out there and I was not all that weird after all! What I also found out is that there are quite a few types of gatherings for costumers: there are of course local group events and huge geek conventions, but there are also gatherings that are more specifically for costumers. So on today’s wish list, I will present the five top events I hope to go to one day.

As per their website, “Costume-Con is an annual convention dedicated to the art and craft of costumes and costuming of all types. It features classes, displays, a fashion show, masquerades, and other competitions.” The website of Costume-Con 31, which will be held in 2013 in Denver, CO, further presents the Convention as “a 4-day weekend conference for everyone who designs, makes, wears and/or admires costumes.” So basically, it is a convention for costumers, about costumes. What is not to love? I have wanted to go to Costume-Con ever since I found out about it, and I should be able to go… in 2014. Costume-Con 32 will be held in Toronto (a mere 7 hour drive from where I live) and I won my membership at last year’s Otakuthon, for mine and my daughter’s costumes entered in the Masquerade. I have been planning costumes for a year already and will continue doing so in the year and a half left before the convention.

Similar to Costume-Con is Costume College “a one-weekend educational conference on all subjects relating to costuming and clothing.” Costume College is always organized by Costumer's Guild West and is always held in California. There are classes, social gatherings, and visits to local points of interests for costumers, etc.

Now I may be wrong (and please correct me if I am), but I am under the impression that  Costume College focuses more on historical costuming, while Costume-Con has a wider range of interests, including fantasy.

(EDIT: As seen in the comments, I was wrong. The biggest difference is no Masquerades at Costume College. Thank you to Trystan and Colleen for their input.)

Inspired by Costume College, East Coasters decided to hold their first convention this past June in Philadelphia, PA. From their website “Dress U is an educational and social four day event focusing on historic costume: from the ancient world, up to 1960. Events include costumed social gatherings, museum tours, and of course numerous classes on the art of costuming.” From what I hear, it was small but successful, so hopefully this will become an annual event and I can one day make it there.

Moving away from costumer’s conventions, the Labyrinth of Jareth Fantasy Masquerade Ball is “a weekend of costumes and magic in Los Angeles. Inspiration and creativity meld under mask and cloak where nobles dance in the Faerie Court and legends take precious breath.” Basically, a costumed party that lasts a whole week-end! I would love to go for the fun of wearing fabulous fantasy fairy gowns and be surrounded by similarly clad people.

I have talked about it before, but going to Venice in February would be a dream come true. I look every year at all the pictures taken, the costumes, and I hope to one day join these people. Of course, I would bring my own garb! Right now, I am aiming to go for my 40th birthday – 10 years from now.

These are the 5 events I would attend every year, if only my bank account would allow it. One day, perhaps, I can at least say that I have been once to each one of them.  


  1. I can personally recommend several of these :-)

    I've attended several Costume-Cons -- I was on staff for 2 that were in my area, most recently CC26 (where I also was part of the Best in Show Historical Masquerade group). CC skews towards sci-fi/fantasy costuming, & the genre focus changes a bit every year since the ppl running it changes each year. The stage competitions are big part of the event for those who attend frequently.

    I've attended Costume College for the past 8 years & taught most every time too. It does trend towards historical costuming, but not exclusively. Many classes focus on techniques that can be applied to whatever project a person is doing, such as patterning or embellishing shoes. There are no staged competitions at CoCo; instead, there are several big social events in costume.

    And then Carnivale! Oh, such a treat! I went for my 40th bday a few years ago, & my husband filmed it -- a preview vid is here: You really only need a costume to attend one of the balls, tho' it's certainly fun to wander the streets in costume. Mostly, it's just grand to be in Piazza San Marco & see the semi/pro fully masked costumers. And, of course, Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world!

    1. Thank you for clarifying the Costume-Con vs Costume College difference Trystan. As for Venice, yes I know, I have featured you in my original post about the carnival (

    2. Oh, I didn't realize you'd included our Venice video on your blog! Thank you. When you do get around to planning your trip, feel free to ask me any questions -- I'd be happy to help ;-)

  2. I'm the president of Costumer's Guild West this year. I've been on the board for several years, and I'm a past Dean (chair) of Costume College.

    I agree with Trystan, we do tend to have more classes in historical costuming than science fiction/fantasy, but we have many classes that teach sf/f topics, such as making a light saber from items at Home Depot, making an Iron Man costume from foam, and how to make fairy wings.

    It's always fun to see someone in a bustle dancing with a Klingon to the timewarp at our Saturday Time Traveler's Gala ball!

    I hope you do make it out to Costume College at some point. We offer scholarships, as well!

    Colleen Crosby

  3. Thank you for the added information about Costume College Colleen. And I did not know about the scholarships, but I will definitely look into it.