Is costume design your full-time profession?
In short: no. I create costumes mostly as a hobby, or for contests, shows, fundraisers, and individual commissions or contracted projects.

• How can I purchase a dress?
Many of the dresses are one of a kind and take weeks to create. Beginning in 2018 all commissions are limited to contracted works and collaborations at the discretion of AvantGeek. However, a selection of ready-made works may be sold at future dates. To be notified of this, consider subscribing on Instagram, Facebook, or Patreon for earliest access.

• How much time does it take to make one of these dresses?
It takes me anywhere from 10 – 30 hours on average over the course of a week or more. It really depends on the material and size of the dress.

• Why the name AvantGeek?
I came up with the name originally as part of graphic design project in school, where students made their own [fake] magazine. My magazine was for cosplay culture and virtual fashion, I thought the play on Avant-Garde was perfect. It wasn’t until later I decided to post my own costume work online under that same name. 

When did you start making costumes?
I was 11 years old and wanted to be Link (The Legend of Zelda) for Halloween. I took two green pillowcases from the closet (sorry, mom) to be my tunic. I started sewing costumes consistently and with a machine while in college.

• How much time does it take to make one of these dresses?
It takes me anywhere from 10 – 30 hours on average over the course of a week or more. It really depends on the material and size of the dress.

Where does the inspiration for using recycled materials come from?
While in school, I had to get creative in finding inexpensive materials. Nice fabric right off the bolt wasn’t something I could often afford. Instead I tested what I already had or could find at thrift shops: tablecloths, curtains, plastic bags. Eventually I was sculpting dresses from papier-mâché or cutting up aluminum cans for armor. 

Where did your inspiration for food-themed dresses come from?
While in school I spent my summers singing at children’s birthday parties as various princesses. Beauty (well, Belle) was a popular character and I ended up going to Taco Bell after one of these parties while in costume. My friend took a photo, it went viral, and I decided the pun needed its own dress. Two years later the Taco Belle dress was made and went viral as well. It was a ridiculous design and I loved it, so I’ve kept finding odd things to style dresses after/out of.

• Any advice for others looking to get into costume design or cosplay?
Invest in a sewing machine. Lots of basic machines go on sale online all the time for under $80, like the SINGER Tradition (one of my first machines I used for years).

Look up tutorials for making a dressform using duct-tape and/or foam if you can’t buy a mannequin. Coming from experience: be sure to have someone around who can cut you out of the tape if you choose to make your own.

There are thousands of patterns out there, so if you've got an unusual design in mind, just keep searching and consider "franken-patterns" (mixing parts of multiple patterns) to get what you need.

• How old are you?

Hobbies other than costume design?
Reading, playing open world RPGs, karaoke, and oil painting. I enjoy cooking and attempting to keep a smallgarden alive. Other favorites include whisky, black metal, and cynical web-comics to distract from existential dread, y'know, just girly things.

• What was your major in college?
Started as a theatre major, then graphic design, then art education. I graduated with a BSEd and BFA with a focus in oil painting.

• Who is that fabulous black cat in your photos?
That is Edgar, aka: Eddie, Edard, The Gar, GarBear, GarGar, Bearbear, Little bear, and many other names he has not approved of.

• Will you make __________ or a video about making ______?
Maybe! While I do not cosplay much anymore for preference of creating original, unique pieces, I am always open to suggestions.

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