Monday, February 10, 2014

Significant Other Approves - +10!

By Keelah Monster Cosplay

Valentine’s Day is coming up and whether you are celebrating with your cosplayer in a home you share or meeting them somewhere, or even celebrating at Katsucon as I wish Robert (my boyfriend) and I were (we’re having a belated Valentine’s Day due to his senior year being a large workload this year), you want to get them the perfect gift possible, maybe a nice little figurine or keychain if you’re just starting out, perhaps a collar or cuff that matches one of the their cosplays or fandoms if you’re serious (Or a piece of jewelry if you’re super serious).

But keep in mind, above all most geeks and cosplayers want something cool, fun, and unique that fits their interest, DeBeers and the like will tell you diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but the fact of the matter is that diamonds are cold, hard, impersonal, and come from a bevy of disgusting practices including child slavery and modern colonialism not to mention are severely up charged, misrepresented, and overrated simply because some fat cat company says so at the expense of thousands of African children.

 Social justice indignation aside, you can read more about the massive problems with the diamond industry here at Amnesty International, I’m here to help you pick out a gift for your cosplay SO, so here’s a few suggestions that are a bit more wallet friendly (and most of them are more human rights friendly too!) than diamonds.

8 Bit Flower Bouquet from ThinkGeek - $10

For this post, I’m not going to suggest things specifically, I’m going to suggest places to go and ways to figure out what your SO would like. I don’t know your love interest, so I’m not sure entirely what you should get them, this is using examples from my experience on what to do. For the sake of avoiding hypocrisy and also making sure you find the most unique and amazing gift possible, I’m going to avoid most mainstream stores and tell you flat out that Etsy or making something yourself or commissioning a crafty friend is point blank the best way to go, but if you don’t mind some potential sweatshop labor, Thinkgeek is a tried and true surefire shop for any geek to give gifts, they are a great company, but again, shop at your own risk as far as sweatshop items because they’re more a geek department store than a place that makes their own items, granted not every mass produced item is sweatshop fodder, you may find some that are in a place so big and diverse.

From The Hobbit Collection by Shiro Cosmetics
So, here are some basic ideas for things your cosplayer may like that can be bought from known reputable companies: Does your cosplayer have their makeup pallet yet? It doesn’t matter what gender they are, every cosplayer worth their salt (barring skin allergies of course) usually likes to have a pallet for their character even if it’s just some concealer or bronzer. Well don’t worry, because Shiro Cosmetics has you covered. It’s owned by a lovely person named Caitlin (not to be confused with IFD’s Caitlin, who while wonderful, isn’t the same Caitlin!) and I have personally received assistance from her in selecting pallets for many of my cosplays. Is your SO cosplaying a character with a non-human skin color like gray or purple or green? Well if you email her with the character’s name and a pic in case she isn’t familiar with them, she can help you put together a lovely three color pallet for toning and blending AND she’ll sell you the colors at an increased size so they can be used as foundation. Also, most of her colors can be made into high pigment lip glosses.

Arcane Magic: Dark Fantasy by Fyrinnae Cosmetics
Shiro doesn’t have exactly the color you need or you don’t need that much, just an eye shadow? Or maybe you need some epoxy or some shimmer? Well head on over to Fyrinnae cosmetics. All their products are vegan, long lasting, and I can personally attest to their variety and vibrance. They have wonderful customer service, though they don’t offer the same size customization and personalization that Shiro Cosmetics does. Also, their lip products may look like glosses, but they aren’t! They’re actually long lasting opaque lipsticks; they are simply applied like gloss. Both shops are reasonably priced and a good alternative to the sham of a business that is Lime Crime (As with my above rant, feel free to look up their years of poor business practices, shoddy formulas, and upcharges on basic micas, not to mention borderline racist advertising for their China Doll set).

Makeup not for your SO or they’re very picky about it? Not a problem, consider browsing Etsy or asking a crafty acquaintance to sell you a small prop or accessory piece, you can find almost anything for any fandom there, from ribbons to jewelry to prop weapons to masks and latex pieces, commissioning some small finishing touch can be the most thoughtful gesture imaginable to a cosplayer since so much of our expendable income goes towards costumes.

A Brony's dream

On that note, another thoughtful gift is something completely unrelated to cosplay that your SO could otherwise not afford because of the combination of bills and cosplay costs. I am an avid tea drinker and while not my SO, one of my best friends frequently buys me tea or accessories for making a better cup of tea since she knows I could never afford those things on my own. Be it cute casual clothes, alt fashions they like, snacks or drinks they enjoy, even a bottle of their favorite alcohol, one less extra thing they no longer need to debate setting cosplay money aside for is a gift in and of itself. Hell, I also collect figurines particularly Mass Effect and My Little Pony, my BF got me Soarin’ and Spitfire as well as a few other blind bags last year for my MLP collection, and then this year he got me Garrus and Grunt Funko POP! Figures to go with my Tali and Mordin figures. Books also never go amiss.

The Ferrari Wig by Arda Wigs
Another big cosplay piece you could offer help with is a wig. While there are other places, I recommend Arda Wigs or The Five Wits. Arda has a larger selection that comes in a bigger variety of colors and are better for styling, but Five Wits has many great pre-styled wigs for those who can’t style for themselves or don’t have the time. Their prices are close enough that neither will break your bank and both are subject to multiple sales a year AND Arda now has a punch tab discount program.

Don’t buy wigs on Etsy. Buying a custom styling job is different, but don’t buy pre-styled wigs on Etsy as a rule as many of the MLP wigs that are sold there are actually either two cheap wigs sewn together or one cheap, unstyled wig with ears attached. Buy your ears from Yaya Han or have them commissioned and clip or strap them onto your head or wig, it’s not worth a $60 upcharge for a shoddy pair of ears to be sewn into a $15 wig as some wig sellers on Etsy have been known to do. Arda has many tutorials, Five Wits has many pre-styled wigs that are inexpensive, and Etsy has many talented stylists who you can commission to style a wig that you bought or picked out. Don’t fall for a scam.

Now this last suggestion is likely out of most price ranges, but if it isn’t and your cosplayer doesn’t make their own costumes, having a full costume commissioned for them that they’ve been wanting is a very, very thoughtful and kind gesture. The problem is the inexpensive ones you see online are generally from sweatshops or worse, Milanoo, which buys at random from different sweatshops so not only are you getting poor quality and slave labor work, but also you don’t even know just how poor the quality.

 The reason this will break your bank is that you HAVE TO go to a reputable commissioner and the average seamstress wage (at least in most cities I’ve looked into) is $25 an hour, costume work can take days, in my first article you may recall I broke down how long Tali and Jaina each took me? And the thing is, those weren’t even the final drafts. Think long and hard about this one unless you bring in a six figure income yearly, but it IS a nice, thoughtful gesture.

Mana and Health Necklace Set - $24 by ZooZim on Etsy

Apart from the aspects of finances and picking between many wonderful options, the act of buying a gift for your cosplayer should be a snap if you know them well enough. And if you’ve only just started dating? Play it safe and get them something small and simple.

Price and size shouldn’t matter for a gift, these are only loose suggestions based on what a cosplay requires to be completed, in the end all that matters is that you thought of your loved one on Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air, so grab your love interest of choice and hit Silver sun Strip for some DLC style dating!...But don’t go for sushi...Trust me…You Mass Effect fans know what I’m saying.

Keelah Monster (formerly Tali'Belle) is a fashion and costume design student with twelve years of cosplay experience. She operates Fleet and Flotilla: Dextro Couture and Salvage on Etsy. Her main cosplay is Tali'Zorah Vas Normandy and her current preferred convention is Dragon Con. You can keep up with her on DeviantArt  or Twitter. And of course, you can find her posts here on I Feel Delicious!

1 comment:

  1. One thing I forgot to mention on the note of teas: Adagio sells fandom based teas designed by customers, they have Sherlock, Mass Effect, Nights into Dreams, Firefly, and many others.


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