• Is costume design your full-time profession?
In short: no. While Patreon has made it possible to devote more time to costuming, it is only part-time. I create costumes as a hobby and for contests, shows, fundraisers, and contracted projects.
• Why the name AvantGeek?
It's a play on Avant-Garde, fashion characterized by experimental and innovative approaches. My own work is made of unconventional materials and often inspired by popular fiction, so I thought Avant-Geek would be the perfect mashup.
• How can I purchase a dress?
Commissions are currently limited to commercial works only. To be notified of future sales of ready-made pieces, consider subscribing on Instagram, Facebook, or Patreon for earliest access.
• When did you start making costumes?
I was 11 years old and took two green pillowcases from the closet (sorry, mom) to become Link from The Legend of Zelda. I started sewing costumes consistently while in college.
• How much time does it take to make one of these dresses?
Depending on the materials and size of the garment, it takes anywhere from 15 – 50 hours over the course of several weeks.
• Where does the inspiration for using recycled materials come from?
New fabric right off the bolt wasn’t something I could often afford when starting out. Instead I tested what I already had or could find at thrift shops: tablecloths, curtains, plastic bags. Turns out it's a lot of fun!
• Where did your inspiration for food-themed dresses begin?
While in school I spent my summers singing at children’s birthday parties as various princesses. My friend took a photo as we stopped by Taco Bell, 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.
• 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.
• What was your major in college?
Theatre for a time, then graphic design, then art education. I graduated with a BSEd and BFA.
• 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 still has not approved of. @Edgar_the_voidcat on Instagram.
• Will you make __________ or a video about making ______?
Maybe! While I prefer creating original, unique pieces, I am always open to suggestions.