I have always admired the heck out of Calssara from Germany. With an insane eye for detail and immaculate seamstress work, she does not shy away from cosplay armorsmithing either. Having her over in 2017 for a local convention was just mind blowing. I caught up with her in an interview below – do enjoy!
Rachel Alucard from BlazBlue photographed by VW
KomboKitten: I don’t want to ask too many of the typical questions you get, so maybe we can cover this topic in one go. Please tell us how you started cosplaying, why, and how long it has been?
Calssara: I started to cosplay in 2004 and my first costume was Eclair from Kiddy Grade. Before I even knew cosplay, I also dressed up as a kid with my friends as Sailor Moon or some Stargate characters xD.
I attended my first convention as a normal visitor in casual clothes. There I saw cosplay and thought it would be super cool! Next year at the same con, I wore my first handmade costume. It was so much fun that I continued. Now together with many friends and my boyfriend, cosplay became a passion.
Perona from One Piece photographed by Pugoffka (Side note: The ghosts are real props!)
KomboKitten: One of your favourite cosplay shoots was to feature a beautiful horse alongside your work. Describe to us the process of accomplishing that as well as the feeling of merging the two passions?
Calssara: I always loved horses as a kid and I’ve been riding horses since I was 6 years old. I was really happy to finally have a character I could shoot with a horse. I asked my friend Delany who had two pretty white horses if I could shoot with them and he said yes. Shooting with animals can be tricky. We cannot use flashes. We still used some reflector and happily the horse responded well. I am super happy to have these photos.
Sumia from Fire Emblem photographed by Midgard Photography
KomboKitten: You are one of those back breaking creators who still make most of their costumes by themselves. Please explain the joy as well as the pain of doing this.
Calssara: It does not matter how simple or difficult a costume is, it is always a lot of work to make them, especially if you have a full time job! Sometimes the tiniest parts can turn out to be very hard to make and take you hours or days. But the rewarding feeling of finishing a costume is just amazing :).
Deedlit from Record of Lodoss War photographed by Snowgrimm
KomboKitten: This leads me to Health & Safety in cosplay. What are some of the dangerous things you have done during crafting but also during wearing your cosplay which were big safety lessons for you?
Calssara: When I was younger I totally underestimated breathing in fumes from spray cans or other toxic stuff that can happen when you work with certain materials. I got much more careful with these things now! Also I got very careful with contact lenses. If they feel “odd” in your eyes, better take them out! Some costumes can be painful to wear (even simple looking ones). Sometimes you have a day where a certain wigs gives you a massive headache, the other day you feel no pain. It can be a mystery XD! I started to always take a change of clothes to cons, so I can just take the costume off when I start to feel bad.
Saber from Fate/Stay Night photographed by Midgard Photography
KomboKitten: You have the great Elffi in your camp! How has this changed the crafting process for both of you? Besides him helping with armour and you helping with sewing, what are the other ways in which you help each other through crafting processes?
Calssara: I actually like to make my armors myself. Just in cases when I struggle or have very limited time, he jumps in to help me out. He can also sew and usually makes his own costumes himself. Only if there is a part he really struggles with or a tight schedule I make things for him XD. We are both very stubborn lol.
Kougyoku Ren feat. Elffi as Sinbad from Magi photographed by Midgard Photography
KomboKitten: The people who employ you for your day job are very lucky! What are the awesome new things you have started doing at your job?
Calssara: I work as a librarian in a big city library, but it is not a normal library. We have an area that is dedicated to learn new things. There is a big workshop room with many tools (3D printer, sewing machines, plotter, cameras, filming equipment, tools and much more). We do courses and workshops to teach how to use these tools and make your own projects. We also have a big gaming room where you can play all sorts of video games, also VR Gaming :).
Lucy Heartfilia photographed by Butterfly Dreams
KomboKitten: How does your workplace support your hometown community?
Calssara: We offer everyone a space where they can work and learn new things. Not everyone can afford a sewing machine just to try it out or even a 3D printer. Here they can use all tools and only need to pay their own materials they wanna work with (fabrics, papers, filament). Also everyone can rent our rooms for free for their group works. If you f.e. have a knitting group, you are more than welcome to use our library as your meeting point.
Nozomi Tojo from Love Live! photographed by Meermiau
KomboKitten: We can’t wait to have you back in Cape Town, together with Elffi next time! How was the experience in South Africa for you?
Calssara: Fancon in 2017 was one of my most favorite cons of the year! Especially because of the very very kind community! I usually enjoy every con, but sometimes it can be hard to actually really get into the community and get new friends. But in South Africa it was super easy and I felt so at home and welcome <3.
Zelda from The Legend of Zelda : Skyward Sword photographed by Snowgrimm Photography
KomboKitten: Have you ever been physically or even sexually harassed in cosplay? If yes, what mechanisms have you put in place now in order to handle this kind of thing?
Calssara: Yes, sadly it can happen to everyone. To all ages, body shapes and genders. Sometimes it happens so fast that you can barely react to it. I usually do not go alone to cons. I always have people with me. Outside of the con location I try not to walk around too long in costume, have a jacket on or a couple of friends with me. When I have photo shoots at out of town locations, usually nothing happens and people react very friendly. It happens most in town or at the convention. If i notice someone with a bad behavior at a convention I will report to the con organizers. They are there to ensure that everyone is safe. The biggest problem became online harassment. Sadly online many people are anonymous and can get away with their $h!t. I try to block and delete everyone who tries to insult me on my own profiles, because my profiles belong to me and I can decide who I let write on there ;D.
Saber Nero from Fate/Extra photographed by Snowgrimm Photography
KomboKitten: Your cosplaying style is growing from younger cute characters to the more womanly strong characters. What are some of these women that you have in mind to cosplay in the future & what may their crafting challenges be?
Calssara: Yeah of course everyone becomes older *laugh* it is something you cannot avoid. At some point it gets harder and harder to portray young characters and you just feel OFF in your role. So I started to cosplay a bit more mature looking characters (no loli XD). I found out that I enjoy this a lot more. I also would love to make more elaborate outfits. I actually really LOVE simple costumes, like uniforms and stuff… just because they are pretty and comfortable! I always get sad when I make a bigger outfit and put a lot of effort in it and then it is so painful to wear that it ends up in my closet forever after 1 convention. So I still try to look for outfits that will have at least some sort of comfort. I am a very sensible person xD hehe.
Weiss Schnee from RWBY photographed by Butterfly Dreams
What a pleasure guys! I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did! Thanks so much to Calssara for taking the time out of her super busy schedule to catch-up with us here!
Follow Calssara online via the links below: