The Netherlands 🇳🇱 & U.K. 🇬🇧

Dishycrafts (solo): My name is Evan, known as Dishycrafts. I’m 34 years old, and I’m so excited to be allowed to participate in the International Cosplay League this year! I had already considered signing up last year, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend JapanWeekend that weekend. In my freetime I work for de Foamtastische Huiskamer, a craftstore in the Netherlands who also specializes in cosplay. I manage their social media content and I teach workshops and lectures at conventions about cosplay and foam crafting. 

Clockwork (duo): Hello, I am Clockwork Dandy Noodles aka Becca! I have been cosplaying for nearly 16 years now. I have represented the UK twice, this will be my third time. I am known for using mixed media on my costumes 🙂 love to dabble in all areas foam/fabric/worbla/resin, you name it! I mainly cosplay from Anime/Musical theatre and sometimes movies.  I am a huge lover of insanely detailed projects and love being able to turn something 2d into a wearable version. 

Tanuki (duo): I’m Tanuki Cosplay, but my name is Helen. I’m 31 and have been cosplaying since 2006. In the real world I work as Deputy Head of LX on Les Misérables in London. I love sci-fi, murder mystery and fantasy books and playing Pokémon and Assassin’s Creed. I only started competing last year and am excited to represent the UK at ICL!

How did you discover cosplay and what made you start in this hobby? How long ago?

DishyCrafts: I was very young when I already started crafting and making things from movies. I just didn’t know what cosplay was, and that it was a hobby. I made a Nimbus 2000 when I was 12 (with help of my mother), and at 14 I made my own Lightsaber (once again, with help of my mother). It wasn’t until 2011 that I discovered cosplay through Tumblr and made new friends who also did cosplay. I was also struggling with my gender, and cosplay was a great way to have an excuse at a later age to 

Clockwork: I started cosplaying when Tanuki and friends invited me to MCM over 15 years back. Not wanting to miss out, I dressed as Yuna from FFX-2.  The rest, as they say, is history. I started buying cosplays, but the quality was never to my standards. Very slowly the drive to make cosplays last more than 1 convention, drove me to improve and make my own. It has been a while now since a project only made 1 appearance or broke! 🙂 Success!

Tanuki: I blame a school friend for getting me hooked on the manga Negima! My first cosplay was from that series in 2006 and it just grew from there. I loved the first Assassin’s Creed so Altaïr was my first big build. One Piece is my big cosplay obsession – I have cosplayed as 5 different Namis, Bonney, Smoothie, Alvida, Kalifa and most recently as Zala (Miss Doublefinger). 

Why did you choose that project for the ICL online selection? Is this your first time joining an international cosplay competition?

DishyCrafts: This is my first time joining an international competition, because I never had a chance before to do so. I didn’t make Eivor for ICL, but I felt he would be the right cosplay to enter with as he is my most detailed cosplay I’ve most recently made.

Clockwork: I chose to make Doll from Black Butler Book of Circus, 4 years ago! The circus arc was one of my favourites. It’s emotional and all the members of Noah’s ark have their own stories to tell. Nothing is black and white. I have always loved the detailed designs from the show. Dolls character and design really stood out in a sea of Victorian designs. I really wanted to try my hand at making her skirt! 

This will be my 3rd time representing the UK on the international stage! I am very excited to also be entering the Duo category for the first time at International level.

Tanuki: Clockwork reached out to me August 2022 to ask if I would like to assist her as part of a performance at Insomnia 69. Of course I said yes! Then she asked if I’d like to team up with her for ECG Qualifiers. Of course I said yes again! I like an interesting project to work on, something different to develop and create. She gave me a couple of options of characters that work with Doll’s character for good skits, and I chose Joker because he looked cool and the outfit looked like it would be both comfy and technically interesting to make. I also immediately saw his jacket as being made from a beautiful velvet, a fabric I like to sew with!

I have never joined an international competition before, but I’m looking forward to it!

What does cosplay mean for you? And what is your favourite part of the hobby?

DishyCrafts: I enjoy the making of the costume more than wearing it, I have to admit. I enjoy the process of creating something from *nothing* and finding solutions to problems. Seeing an object from a screen come to something you can hold yourself just has something so magical to me! 

Clockwork: For me Cosplay is an outlet for my creativity. I took very academic subjects at University, despite my heart being really into art and creation. Eventually making cosplays became more than a hobby. It was something to help me stay focused and lift my mood if my non creative world gets too much. My favourite part of Cosplay has recently become meeting others from across the world. People who love the shows I do! People who also enjoy making costumes. There are so many amazingly talented people out there. There is something special about making a more unknown cosplay and having someone recognise it!

Tanuki: For me it’s a creative way to escape. I like to have something to work on, to scheme about during quite moments at work. I like to be able to take bought patterns and turn them into something different; to merge them with others to create the look or the practicality I want. One of my favourite parts is when part of a project requires hand-sewing, so I can bring it to work to finish it. I like answering colleague’s questions and sometimes seeing the confusion on their faces trying to work out what it is I’m doing! But I like being recognized at conventions – especially when my character is more obscure or hasn’t been seen in the series for a while.

How did the pandemic affect your motivation and project for the selections? 

DishyCrafts: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was announced during the pandemic, and as a lover of Norse Mythology, I jumped on it right away. I never work on one costume at a time, so it took me quite a few years to fully finish the costume. It was wearable at stages, but I still took the time to improve or add details when I felt like it. But I didn’t make this costume just for ICL – I decided to enter ICL with a finished costume which I still wanted to improve aspects of that I otherwise would not be bothered with. 

Clockwork: I had two cosplays affected by the pandemic. Doll and Morigesh. Both of which I had plans to enter into competitions the first year the pandemic affected. It was tough, to stay motivated to finish both, not knowing if I would ever get to wear them again. Both have since entered some competitions and both have done well. But both were sadly a few years old by the time they did. My skills change every year, so I saw them both as cosplays not up to my current skill level. I am over the moon Doll has a chance to be displayed on the international stage! Something good came out of all the stress of the pandemic.

Tanuki: I had the time to be able to work with foam (a medium I hadn’t had time to use before) to create my husband’s first cosplay Ezio from AC2. The theatre industry ground to a halt, and we suddenly had so much time to learn new things! Joker was made post-pandemic but I think my skills improved over the pandemic to where I was able to do him justice.

Do you think cosplay is changing since the pandemic? Why and how?

DishyCrafts: A lot of young people have joined and there is a rise in ‘fast fashion’ trends among these cosplayers who think they need a new cosplay every convention or to stay relevant on social media. I’m not a fan of this change at all, and wish people would see spending more time or money on a costume will make it more durable and sturdy so it can last you longer. Not all materials are accessible for everyone, especially if you’re on a budget; but thrifting materials can help you go a long way! I hope many of these new cosplayers will make the jump to creating their own costumes and not support ‘fast content’ approaches. 

Clockwork: I feel in the UK the cosplay scene is changing and maybe not for the best. A few of the bigger cons just feel like businesses now, more about numbers then heart. Some competitions have vanished from the UK entirely. And some cons have come and gone. Right now I feel disconnected from the scene, but I am hopeful it will pass. The UK is extremely talented and we have slowly started showing the world we can perform! And we can cosplay! I really look forward to seeing what the Cosplay scene evolves into in the years to come!

Tanuki: Post-pandemic, some of the UK conventions have become so mainstream and business-like that it makes cosplayers not want to go to them. Or if they do, it’s so crowded by lunchtime that they leave and don’t hang around to see the competitions or support those competing. Cosplay itself is becoming more mainstream too. The pandemic allowed so many creators to showcase their work on social media platforms that it’s becoming more and more popular. The talent pool has widened and it’s great to see UK cosplayers competing internationally and winning!!

What do you expect from your visit to Spain? Is this your first time visiting the country? 

DishyCrafts: Only to drive across the border from France to Spain to go to the beach there when I was 6, so that doesn’t really count! 

Clockwork: This will be my second time visiting Spain! I visited Madeira for my birthday the year the pandemic hit! It was my last trip abroad before the Pandemic. Madeira was truly stunning and we took part in some cultural food/history tours. The people were friendly and the food was great. I am really looking forward to seeing the Capital! and experiencing mainland Spain. I am expecting more good food and to make some amazing memories!

Tanuki: I have never been to Spain. I look forward to trying authentic food and seeing the culture. 

How was the experience of joining the online selections? Did you have the costume ready or did you make a new one?

DishyCrafts: This was my first time entering an international competition, and while I have entered national competitions before, it was a lot more work and I wanted to make sure I followed all the rules to make sure I didn’t miss any of the requirements. I also had my own holiday coming up, so I decided to book an extra suitcase to bring parts of the costume with me so I could work on it while away, even before knowing I was accepted! I didn’t want to end up with only 5 days to finish my costume after coming home, so I prepared for the good news!

Clockwork: The Online applications were a great idea for the UK who doesn’t have a physical qualifier. I am very happy to have had the chance to apply and enter! We had the costumes already made as we used them for another convention the month prior. 

Tanuki: It was nice to be able to rehearse and record several times before being happy with the performance. The costumes were all ready to go – just a few touch ups and additions. 

Describe the cosplay community in your country using five words.

DishyCrafts: Very diverse. There’s the clout chasers, the meme’ers, the competitives, the cozy/for fun cossers, the crafters, the party-gooers, the drama llamas, the -where do I buy this dress for 50?-, a bit like every country has . I don’t mix with all of them, but the circles I’m in are all very talented, lovely and supportive. I’ve met most of my best friends through cosplay and I feel most at ease with them. I enjoy going to fantasy events more than conventions, and what I love most is spending the day in the sun with friends, having a laugh, but still being in a costume that fits the event. 

Clockwork: Talented/ Inspirational/ Diverse/ Growing/ Unique

Tanuki: Diverse/Expansive/Immersive/Talented/Inspiring

Link to your Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter (add other social media if relevant):

DishyCrafts:

https://www.instagram.com/dishycrafts/ 

https://www.facebook.com/dishycrafts 

https://twitter.com/dishycrafts 

Clockwork: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Clockworkdandynoodles

                     Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/clockworkdandynoodles2007

                     Website : https://www.clockworkdandynoodles.com

Tanuki: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61550842894097

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tanuki_cosplay

Team Netherlands and U.K. was selected during the online selections.

U.K. image by Valentin Pictures.