Cosplay takes the road for Carnival 2018
This Carnival is about to be a game changer as Josette James launches the first ever Cosplay band to take the road in the history of Trinidad and Tobago.
Cosplay is a contraction of the words ‘costume’ and ‘play’. Participants (cosplayers) portray characters from film and television, particularly Japanese anime.
Since the 90s there has been a steady increase in global popularity of the form. Josette herself has been a part of the cosplay scene for 13 years now. She first fell in love with the form at the now-defunct Anime City event where she saw persons dressed as characters from Samurai X, her favourite anime at the time.
When Anime City closed in 2009, Josette saw a chance to fill the very apparent void create with an event specifically for cosplay called Alias Cosplay Party. Since this first venture, Josette has expanded her Alias brand to focus on four core areas - Anime, Cosplay, Gaming and Comics. They now produce an annual Alias Entertainment Expo, the largest cosplay competition in the Anglophone Caribbean and the Project Alias television program shown on TV6. Alias also keeps a social responsibility mandate by going to schools with workshops from animation to robotics to voice acting and there are plans to host sewing and costume workshops.
“I built this brand for the ground up,” she proudly states.
Now, Josette adds Alias Mas to her portfolio with the release of the band the Mystical Realm. Mythical Realm comprises four sections Dragon (inspired by Game of Thrones), Camelot, The Dark Horde (World of Warcraft), the Council of Magic and the Fae (fairies).
Josette is also the lead designer on all sections except Camelot which is being designed by her business associate Natalia Henry.
“Over the years we’ve gotten many requests to bring cosplay into Carnival. Cosplay means ‘costume play’ so it’s the perfect season. For many of the players, this will be their first time playing mas," she told Loop.
While their online costumes and prices reflect the front-line offerings, Josette assures that she and her team are willing to work with players to craft their costumes in ways that don’t bust their pockets.
As always, sponsorship has been an issue for the young entrepreneur. FLOW has faithfully been her only corporate sponsor however due to the economic climate even they had to pull out in 2017. Nonetheless, her major event was sold out with an audience of 2500 to 3000. This fact alone should say a lot to corporate entities about the gains potential of the brand, however, this is not the case.
“The language of Comic-con is not usually understood by corporate entities in Trinidad. There are a lot of events that cannot happen without sponsorship and this one can. There is a market for this sort of event. That should tell sponsors it’s worthwhile, but it seems like it’s about who you know," she said.
With or without financial backing, Josette and her team press on. Most of our base fabrics are found locally – Jimmy Aboud, Samaroos, Tulips etc., although they do have to order a thermoplastic material, Worbla from Germany, to create the armoured pieces.
Josette is also the regional distributor for Worbla.
For more information on Josette and Alias visit their website, www.alias-expo.com for more details.