The medium of fabric is incredibly difficult to work with. Actually making clothing at all is difficult and delicate work. Those who can come up with an idea for an outfit, sketch it, and sew it have always been like magical beings to me. I was very lucky to get to interview one such wizard: Kitsune Costuming. Not only does she make amazing costumes, she also makes headpieces! In short: I want one of everything she makes.
Do you have a favorite kind of fabric to work with? Silk taffeta – very specifically Silk Baron’s. It’s delicious.
Do you have a favorite time period to play with? I really love several for different reasons, Elizabethan, the 16th century, because it was the first era of historical costuming I really got into. Many of my costuming mentors I gained from introductions into the Bristol Renaissance Faire. The whole of the 18th Century is just fascinating; such as the heyday of pirating, the 1710s, all the way through the French Revolution. I really adore English Regency/Romantic Era, early 19th Century, for the simpler silhouettes and all the amazing fabric manipulation that manifests later into Victorian.
When did you first realize that you wanted to make costumes? I met one of my best friends, Shelly, in high school and she had made her own costumes. I loved dress up but never really understood you could make your own until she showed me how to use a sewing machine. It was part of what bonded us so closely and we are still very close. So basically, as soon as I realized I COULD make my own costumes, I wanted to.
I love what you create for plus sized bodies. What are some things you would love to see for designers and plus sized models in the future? Attractive and functional. I’ll keep saying it, but women’s clothes of all sizes need more pockets. I often try to find a way to put pockets into my fantasy dresses so designers can put them into everyday wear. My husband accidently put my jean pants on the other day and said to me; “I knew immediately they weren’t right because the pockets were too small”. Other than that – just more of us. More plus sizes, we come in a lot of varieties, and more inclusiveness. Enough to normalize it. I’ll call out Glimmerwood as one of my favorite designers, she isn’t shy about how much she makes clothes for any color or shape. I love that. It isn’t even a question, just is.
You have fantastic sketches. What is your favorite medium and tools to work with for sketching? I’ve tried a couple different mediums – I work with P.H. Martins Hydrus watercolor ink for other art besides costume design, and I’ve dipped into some digital work – but I always seem to settle back into my comfort zone of Prismacolor watercolor pencils and micron pens for design. I have also recently started using Koh-I-Noor Mondeluz Aquarelles Watercolor pencils too.
What is your favorite kind of headpiece to work on? Oooh, So hard to choose. I think if I had to pick a favorite it would be the ones I am currently working on, a dark faery headdresses with lights, but only because it’s my current obsession. I also really adore my hats with cute little animals on them. I have one commission I’m in the middle of for a Victorian hat with a chipmunk on it. If I can create a small world or tell a mini story with it, all the better.
You have a lot of fantasy themed pieces, is that a favorite genre for you to reference in your work? I definitely take inspiration from Brian Froud, Labyrinth, any/all of Guillermo del Toro’s work. But, I don’t know if I have a favorite genre. I tend to use hundreds of references from faeries, mermaids, steampunk, dark gothic/macabre – and then dream on them. Twist them up, and attempt to make them my own while still feeling that excitement of inspiration.
I love the eyes that you work into your pieces, what inspired you to start adding them? I’m an atheist but I’ve always felt that if we did have souls/there was some spiritual aspect to us the eyes are the window to that. I was looking for something that was different, hadn’t been done much, and that spoke to me. Eyes are very expressive, and they are what I eventually communicate for, through visual art. Some people think they are creepy, but I like creepy. I thought it would be fun to take something weird and make it pretty/cute by combining them with flowers. It’s a reflection of who I am as a person, weird but beautiful, and so I try to add it to a lot of my work as a symbol.
Okay silly question. If you could have lunch with anyone, restrictions of time or place, what would you wear? My ideal lunch outfit is pajamas. I’ve done the amazing dinner in Victorian ball gowns and afternoon tea in Georgian – Marie Antoinette styles, it’s pretty but terrifying! The urge to not spill anything on your costume kinda consumes you. Lunch in comfort sounds awesome.
If you didn’t have any restrictions of time or money what would you love to create? My costuming aspirations really are most restricted from my own motivation. Not to say I have all the money in the world or anything, but there just isn’t a lot that I feel I must have that I couldn’t save up for/take the time to make over a span of a year or several. I’m a rather slow worker as it is, so I’m already in that realm. So if I could have no restrictions, I would probably hire a team to help me make a collection. I’m pretty good at punching out single dresses for myself with a theme or idea in mind but I could never gain enough time/money to make several in a short time frame to call it a “collection”.
Do you have any advice for those who want to start costuming or creating art? Do it for fun before you do it for money. If you want to create art/costuming for your work, more power to you, but make sure that you don’t lose sight of why it makes you happy. I have had a few moments in my life were I considered giving it all up because I lost the joy of it. I tried to force the art to come and like any bad art block, that just made it worse. Also, embrace your artistic community. Find your people. Show them respect, tag and credit them as appropriate! My art friends were the ones that pulled me out of every slump I’ve ever had, they inspire me constantly, and art wouldn’t feel as good for me if I didn’t have someone to share it with.
Do you have a favorite cosplay? My favorite is probably the one I’m currently working on. It’s a piece that I intended to make for my best friend/girlfriend Kitt before she passed away in 2020. It is a Raven dress inspired by one of her original characters. Emotions run pretty deep with this one and I’m taking care with all the details. But it will be pretty spectacular.
I love your names on Instagram, how did you choose them? Kitsune Costuming – Kitsune are my favorite type of mythos/folklore, though I also adore selkie too. The word is Japanese for fox, but there is so much more to it that goes into the realm of spirits and shape-shifting. I like to look at costuming as my own artistic way of shape-shifting so the name made sense. Also foxes are one of my favorite animals.
Madcity Madhatter – Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite childhood stories. The city I live in, also goes by “Madtown” or “Madcity” as its a big college town. Merging the two together fit well for a hat business. I’m still pretty proud of that name.
I would highly recommend keeping up with Kitsune Costuming at her socials below:
Kitsune Costuming and Art instagram
ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!!!