So, tell us a little about yourself?
My name’s Aaron Crouch, I’m currently twenty one years old. I reside in East Tennessee, and I have been cosplaying since 2009. Although it seems like I have been cosplaying since forever, I still consider myself a trainee in the cosplay community, as I’m always learning new tips and tricks to help improve my costumes.
What is your current cosplay you are working on?
The most current cosplay I’ve been hammering down progress for would have to be Team Mystic’s Team Leader Blanche from Pokemon Go! My inspiration for this cosplay was all the headcannons and fanart that blew up after the team leader designs were released. The most challenging part is definitely the trench coat, I’ve never done anything like it before, and there’s so much detail to consider. I’m also using a pattern for the first time ever—which I’ve come to realize I definitely prefer draping, and although it can be tricky, it’s definitely giving me some experience in sewing with a guide!
How did you get into cosplay?
Like most people who started out back then, I discovered cosplay through Deviantart. I recall googling ‘Death Note’ one day, and discovering that people could dress up as these characters! I thought “How cool is that??”. After I clicked on the photo, it led me to Deviantart, where I found it wasn’t just ‘Death Note’, but SO many anime shows from my childhood. I decided right then and there that I wanted to be a part of that world, to bask in the creativity and illusion that I was representing my favorite character(s). I haven’t regretted that decision since!
What was your first cosplay?
My very first cosplay was actually L Lawliet from Death Note. He was my favorite character from the show due to the fact that he was so incredibly smart, and he didn’t always have a whole lot of friends due to how often he had traveled, which was a comfort to me since I was introduced to that show when I just moved three states away from my birthplace. He was something I wanted to be; smart and unattached. Of course I learned throughout the show that it’s nice to have some company—just be absolutely sure it’s not someone trying to become God and murder you in the process.
Have you had a particularly difficult cosplay that you’ve overcome and are proud of?
The most difficult cosplay I’ve ever made, was probably a recent one—Jasper from Steven Universe. I don’t have experience making jumpsuits, especially form-fitting ones, and I’m not a huge cosplayer of female characters, but I am extremely proud of the results! Everything hugs just right, and my first go at arm socks went amazingly! It’s hard to believe the cosplay was completed in only two days.
Which cosplay of yours is your favorite?
Choosing a favorite cosplay is always hard, because each one has a different experience while being worn, each has a moment that will never be forgotten about their debut. Although I can think of so many cosplays that deserve their spotlight, I’d have to say that my Tony Stark cosplay takes the cake. He’s just such a charismatic ladies man—and I can relate heavily.
Do you have any role models in cosplay, any inspirations?
To be honest, everyone in the cosplay community inspires me. I don’t have any ‘role models’, per say, but I do have a lot of people I greatly respect, and love to speak to about cosplay tips. Most of these people are dear friends of mine, but even those I just meet influence me in one way or another. That’s the great thing about the community—so many people can offer so much to learn, whether you’re a senior cosplayer, or a newbie.
If money or time was not an issue, what would be your dream cosplay?
I actually got asked this same question by a friend of mine—and honestly, I wouldn’t know which to do. There’s always a cosplay I’m willing or wanting to do, and some are extravagant, while others have more of a fun personality to perform. If I had to choose, though, it would probably be my design for a Mewtwo cosplay. Lots of armor and tiny details! Or Princess Aurora, since I dream of cosplaying that blue/pink splashed dress of hers.
Is there a certain way or ritual you have to choosing your next cosplay?
Often enough, I choose male characters with an extravagant ego and astounding social skills who boast with such positive energy. Tony Stark, Chat Noir, Nick Wilde—they all have the charms and charisma that my friends say I display.
The more showmanship in the character, the better. I adore a characters that love themselves!
What is your favorite convention you’ve been to so far and why?
If I were asked this question a month ago, I wouldn’t know what to tell you! However, after experiencing AkaiCon: Akashi 2016 at the end of August, I’d have to say that is my most favorite convention as of right now. It was a very peaceful experience, and I got a chance to see some friends who I don’t see too often nowadays. The atmosphere was delightful, the vendors an absolute joy, and the staff was just as kind and polite as I hoped. I recommend this convention to anyone!
What convention would you like to go to that you haven’t been?
All of them. Nah, hah, just kidding! A few of my friends spoke about some conventions I’d be interested in, one of them being HamaCon, another being Anamazement, and there’s always the favored YaoiCon!
Do you have any inspiring words for cosplayers that are new and want to enjoy cosplay too?
Try everything, as long as you’re within the legal limits, that is. Crossplay, do an otp, a single character, a group! Experience a little bit of everything to test the waters and see what you’re most comfortable with. Be friendly, stay hydrated. Always have a buddy, and even if you’re experiencing a convention alone, make friends who you can hang out with during the con. Stay safe, and always thank your con staff. As for trying out the construction part of cosplay—don’t be afraid of mistakes. It happens so often in everyone else’s lives, it is an inevitable thing, unfortunately. If you happen to sew the wrong layer backwards, don’t get upset! I have done that more times that I can count. Never be ashamed if you buy your cosplay/closet cosplay. Everyone has their own talent, and if sewing isn’t yours, that’s fine!
Cosplay is supposed to be a fun, safe, and accepting environment.
Don’t be afraid to ask your senpai or help or tips, communicating is the best way to improve your skills! (Youtube is your friend as well). The most important piece of advice anyone can give you is to enjoy yourself!
Our interview is coming to a close, and I like to end with a happy note. What was the time you were happiest in cosplay?
I’m always happy in cosplay! There’s so many moments that it fills my heart with joy and puts one of those cheesy smiles on my face! One particular moment I can think of, is the convention where I met all the wonderful people I call my friends. It was Anime SouthEast (I honestly cannot recall the year at the moment), and I was alone at this convention, this was the con I was supposed to meet these cool cosplayers I had been talking to on the internet—and my first time on a panel. Imagine my stress beforehand. Within the first day, I had met everyone—and then some! There were so many cute and kind people, all greeting me with hugs and making sure I was absolutely comfortable the whole time. The panel was a blast, the photoshoot I was taken to was hilarious, and each person who I spoke to was literally the kindest souls I have ever met. I’m still so glad we are friends today, and I have never been happier than in that moment where I was accepted by all these awesome cosplayers even though I wasn’t in full cosplay, and my wig looked like someone look a pair of rusty sheers to it.