Traditionally women are overlooked in most aspects of geek culture. There are few strong characters in comics, movies, and games and women in general are usually overlooked as part of fandoms as well. However, there is one area in which women tend to get the spotlight and men are the ones who are overlooked, and that’s costuming. If one were to Google search “costuming” or “cosplay” he or she would find a myriad of sites showcasing women in a wide range of varying costumes. What they probably won’t find are many sites featuring men in costumes. Other than the 501st Legion, there aren’t many sites that feature many male costumers. This doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t serious male costumers out there. One gentleman in particular, Lance Barrett, has created a Facebook community called Men of Costuming to help recognize some of the men in the costuming world who take their craftsmanship seriously. Recently I was able to ask him a few questions about his new community.
Carrie: What inspired you to create Men of Costuming?
Lance: Well, as a costumer myself I have many friends both male and female that costume. I was gliding through the internet one day and I couldn’t help but notice how many female cosplayers and costumers there were. Most had taken very simple PG rated costumes and turned them into something very sexual (not that there is a problem with that). A lot of them where selling prints of themselves in various poses and costumes and it got me to thinking about why any of us, male or female, costume. I feel like it’s become more about who can become more “con-famous” or selling stuff for profit. I wanted to create something for us underdogs in the costuming world, something that could show off our talents as well. Please do not get me wrong and think that this is about female costumer bashing or slander. I love seeing what authentic and amazing costumes our estrogen fueled counterparts can create and display. They are unrivaled in the costuming world and I make no mistake in trying to turn this into a competition. This page is simply for the guy’s who generally don’t post many selfies of their work, something for them to look forward to seeing themselves featured on.
Carrie: How do you feel about the response to the page thus far?
Lance: The first day was amazing as it seemed every second someone was “Liking” the page. I was thrilled to see so many people, male and female, who wanted to participate. Then it tapered off and I was a little sad it didn’t get a million likes but nonetheless happy that we broke a hundred in a couple of hours. So share this page and let everybody get a chance to see these guys show their stuff!
Carrie: How long have you been costuming?
Lance: I’ve been costuming for a few years now. At first I got a lot of grief from a few of my friends and family members. In a small town in rural Mississippi people have a hard time adjusting to the spectacle that is costuming. I soon found my niche’ of friends and slowly they warmed up to the idea.
Carrie: On average how long do you spend creating any one costume?
Lance: I couldn’t put a timeline on a costume per se. Some took weeks and some I have been working on for over a year. I don’t think you ever finish a costume. What I mean by that is I can always look at my costumes and find something I want to change or do better. Also, I have some amazing friends who help with costume building, one in particular is Alan Young who is the Dr. Frankenstein of costume creation.
Carrie: Do you find it easier to fabricate from scratch or to mod existing materials?
Lance: Honestly, a kit that someone has prepared is by far the easiest way to go, it may cost a bit more up front but could save you hundreds in the long run.
Carrie: What’s your personal favorite costume that you’ve made?
Lance: My all time favorite (right now) is Sev from Republic Commando (Star Wars). When I’m in that costume I am Sev, and you can not convince me otherwise!
Carrie: Ok, now for a fun question! Favorite game or game series and why?
Lance: This is such a tough question! As a kid born in 1982, I had the amazing pleasure of growing up in the Atari/Nintendo era (NES, SNES, N64) then transitioning into Playstation 1 and 2 and finally as an older 31 year old kid I mainly play PC games. So, as game or game series goes I couldn’t say which one made me the happiest. Warcraft definitely took the majority of my life away as far as a game goes but I have a Love/Hate relationship with it now.
Carrie: Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?
Lance: Please like our page and support it with your pictures of Men in Costumes! Thank You!
Men of Costuming takes submissions not only on their Facebook page, but also on their Twitter @MenOfCostuming or their email email@example.com.