Crimson is a cosplayer, blogger, event organizer, and all around cool guy living in Singapore. He writes for The Neo Tokyo Project (which was how we met thanks to Animax Asia) as well as organizes International Cosplay Day Singapore (ICDS). Crimson takes a breather from running events to delve into his love for cosplay and the good vibes he’s been sharing with fellow cosplay fans.
When and how did you get into cosplay?
My first real brush with cosplay was in December 2000, during an internship at AXN. AXN was a sponsor for one of Singapore’s earliest costume conventions, and I have to admit that while I was pretty big on games and anime, the very notion of dressing up as a pop-culture character was arcane at that time.
I was blown away by the attention to detail, creativity and passion cosplayers put into their costumes, and sold when I witnessed a group of Angel Sanctuary cosplayers, in stunning gothic finery with elaborate home-made wings and all, take the stage.
I was inspired to craft my own pair of wings (it was a spectacular failure, but a great learning experience), and I never looked back.
As a cosplayer, you seem to specialize in armour-based cosplay — is there any particular reason for that?
I’ve always enjoyed high fantasy. I grew up with Dungeons & Dragons, read Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms, and played tons of PC and console RPGs, so I guess you could say that the image of heroic knights in shining armor and dark, brooding antagonists clad in a more sinister version of the same kinda stuck.
World of Warcraft was a font of inspiration when I returned from my cosplay hiatus in 2010. It’s a title replete with some of the most iconic costume and weapon designs, and as a long-time World of Warcraft player, a resource I was intimately familiar with. That’s sorta why most of my costumes are World of Warcraft inspired, or drawn from other Blizzard titles like Diablo.
Very few cosplayers get the opportunity to work with the companies they admire. You and your team, however, managed to work with not one but two of your favorite gaming-related companies — Blizzard and Razer. What was that like?
Cosplay is an homage to the characters we revere and aspire to be. Being given the opportunity to work with, and to be recognized by the very companies we’ve fanboyed (and fangirled) over is the highest honor. We’re grateful for the opportunity, and glad that both Blizzard and Razer were willing to invest their faith in our cosplay.
We hope to open more doors for collaboration in the future. Bridging the gap between cosplayers and companies we admire is the way forward.
Aside from cosplay, you have channeled your passion for games and anime into organizing events for fellow fans. What spurred you to do this?
Cosplay’s a hobby that’s undergone several paradigm shifts. It’s a hobby that redefines itself with each successive generation of hobbyists and enthusiasts – whether in what’s defined as trending cosplay, the cosplayers they look up to and hope to emulate, or opportunities for them to brave the spotlight.
In a sense, organizing cosplay events is my way of giving back to a community that I’ve come to embrace and love. I’ve experienced firsthand the transformative power of cosplay – cosplay’s a catalyst for positive change; it heightens confidence, and teaches some very real social and practical skills.
I got my first break on stage, and have always been attracted to the kinetic and theatrical aspects of the hobby. Creating a stage for cosplayers, especially novices and first-time performers, just seemed natural to me. It’s exactly why I took the plunge with International Cosplay Day Singapore (ICDS), and I’ve got my amazing team, some very awesome friends, and very supportive fans to thank for helping to make it a success.
Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to follow in your footsteps and create avenues for fellow cosplayers to explore and expand the hobby?
I’ll be frank. Running an event’s a whole different ball game from scratch-building a costume or putting up a cosplay performance.
Even if you’re pretty popular in cosplay, it’s hard for sponsors to take you seriously unless you’re also able to demonstrate that you don’t just know cosplay or pop-culture;you’re fully capable of operating in the boardroom too.
In the end, that’s kinda what event management’s about. It’s a constant balancing act between budgets, human resource, logistics and programming. The challenge is always about giving both your audiences and benefactors value, and creating content they’d want to come back to next year.
What I’m trying to say is, don’t just dive into events just because you think it’s a great idea or think that it’s the fun thing to do. It’s really a lot of hard work and a pretty hefty commitment. I wouldn’t have been able to kick start ICDS if I hadn’t already learnt the ropes as a media professional, or if I didn’t have some seed money set aside just for the con.
There’s really no better teacher than experience, and that’s something you’ll have to pick up crewing for other organizers, or actually working the industry. That’s when you lay the ground work, meet like-minded people, and figure out how to make your event dreams a reality.
Just keep at it! With perseverance and a real solid plan, anything is possible!
Crimson’s photos are courtesy of Brian Lim, Darkon Lore, Elpheus and Vaxzone. Thanks very much to Crimson of The Neo Tokyo Project — drop by his blog to check out the latest in Singapore’s gaming and cosplay scene.