Many individuals who attend a Cosplay convention for the first time have a fair amount of questions swirling in their minds as they wander the halls of a hotel or convention center that is hosting said event. There can be no doubt that a primary question is “where can I get those clothes similar to what that person has on?” At the recent SacAnime convention in Sacramento, California, that question and others were investigated by glowbass.com’s Oscar Benjamin who took the opportunity to intervew Carly Michelle Breslin, business owner, seamstress, artist and “Gothic Lolita” advocate.
Upon meeting Ms. Breslin, one is initially caught slightly off-gurard by her height and her very elegant model-like appearance. Beyond her good looks, Carly is an outspoken, opinionated and wonderfully friendly who is quick with her wit followed by a refreshingly sincere smile. It is these qualities and her extraordinary talent as a seamstress that has contributed to her prominent position within the Cosplay and Hollywood communities.
She begain the conversation by stating that “I started my Gothic Lolita and Steampunk clothing line in the year 2000 when it really started to go big. Gothic Lolita is(in my opinion) a personal backlash against the conformity and the modernization of our society. Everything is so streamlined. You get all your clothes cheaply made in China and you get it shipped over quickly. In my opinion, Gothic Lolita originally started with cooking, house decoration and sewing your own clothes. It is a way to get back to being empowered and not sending away to order things. You take time to make things and have the quality of life our ancestors had.” Breslin delves further into her origin story, “I have always been a seamstress. I love to sew and when I was in college to make ends meet, I did wedding gowns for very famous design houses in San Francisco. Let’s face it, people don’t make things themselves-they pay other people to do it for them! That’s how I got my start professionally, but I have been selling since age 6.”
On the subject of Cosplay, Breslin offers a most intriguing take on the subject, ” I can see something and make it. Taking an imaginary something and pulling it out of someone’s head and turning it into something physical. I really love the challenge of making something imaginary and making it real and feasible!” She is also an active cosplayer who shares her thoughts on what would be some of her favorite characters’ clothing to make, “I would love to see more Blade of the Immortal and more historical characters. I am so sick of seeing the modern brightly colored computer animation. I really love the old hand drawn comics and their characters”. I really would like to Princess Ribbon and the like.” She continues on specific character she cosplays, “I usualy go under Gothic Lolita because I hate to be a specific person. I like people to take a look at me and wonder. They have given me all these different things they think I am! They will say you are the White Queen from Alice in Wonderland and I say NOOO. That’s great because if that’s what they want to see-that’s awesome!”
Carly Michelle Breslin currently works and resides in southern California which places her in the heart of the entertainment capital of the world, Hollywood. “Comic book movies are so big right now in Hollywood. I have been picked up by a few design houses to do set design, but mostly I get a lot of work from Hollywood. People show me comics and state that we would like this turned into the lead heroine’s outfit. I can do that and I have had so much practice!” During the course of our conversation, Carly touched upon a dark aspect that is little known outside of the film and fashion industries. “In Hollywood, man I hate to say this, the biggest thing is that people say they design this jewelry, but they have me do it and then take credit for it. If you don’t get the credit then you won’t get the word-of-mouth.”
Breslin designs and hand makes all the outfits that can be seen on her website. She goes into detail by discussing the outfit she wore during the interview. “This one was curtains hanging in my house! I cut them down, so it took me one day to call all the patterns. This skirt probaby took me eight hours because of so much ruffling and this probably took me twelve. I would altogether say sixteen hours from the time was in the windows as curtains to on my body. It is a lot of work, a lot of small tedious work”.
Are Carly Michelle Breslin’s wondrous results the norm in the world of cosplay design and costume construction? The answer is sadly no. Clothing that can be purchased at the majority of cosplay outlets exhibit the same syptoms that mainstream clothing suffer from-lowest common denominator mass production. Breslin makes this final plea, “I would love to see more people feel empowered and sew! I would love to see more people make their Cosplay outfits. If you are going to make clothes-this is the best audience to do it for because everyone is so supportive. Everyone is so accepting and quick to help. I this is geat training wheels for someone that wants to learn to sew and and do it professionally. This is the best and most supportive arena to do it in!”
For more information about Carly’s designs and possible commissioned work, please follow the link below. Carly is a also a frequent guest and panelist at Anime and Cosplay conventions and her latest appearance will be in Bakersfield, California at the Bak-Anime convention. That link is also below.