It’s costume month on LARP Guide, so we couldn’t pass up an excuse to chat to people who are making gorgeous costume for their jobs. First up is Sara Hible from Citadel Costumes, chatting about her new venture into LARP costuming!
When did you start costuming and what first got you into costuming for LARP? Were you already working in the industry prior to this?
I’ve only just started professionally! I was managing a bar in London after leaving university, and working with an amateur theatre group in my spare time. I had studied fashion, but didn’t find it worthwhile, which is why I looked for a theatre group, hoping I could utilise my pattern cutting skills in costume making and maybe get a foot in the door! I worked on a couple of productions and created some garments for them, one lilac morning gown comes to mind, made from curtain voile, Yuck! But it still didn’t feel like the right career for me.
Around the same time, I met my partner and through him I found out about LARP. Alongside this, my interest in historical costume grew, and I took some short courses in costume making and design and did a little work experience creating some period garments. Looking back, everything that’s happening now has stemmed from there!
Do you have a preferred style, time period, or genre of costume to create?
Personally, if I were creating any costume with free reign, I think I would probably err on the side of fantasy. I enjoy a challenge, and I like to push myself out of my comfort zone. I find fantasy costumes can be very complex, detailed, and fantastical, I find translating this into fabric very challenging.
What is the biggest reward for you working as a costumer?
For me there are the little rewards, like compliments, happy customers and unexpected sales which give me a little boost, but I think its the whole process from concept to final costume which is most rewarding for me. Getting the brief or idea, hashing out the design on paper, pulling my hair out over the pattern, cursing myself when I’ve sewn it the wrong way round, thinking I must be crazy to have thought I could pull this off! It’s only when the costume is finished and I can take a step back that I realise how rewarding the challenge was, it really confirms how much I love my job.
What have your biggest challenges been?
Ah, I’d say that they’re still to come!, I’ve only just set up really, so that’s been somewhat of a challenge in it’s self. There was a long period where it felt like nothing was happening and I was getting impatient. But things are on the up, I’ve made some sales, have some commissions and my first trading event is coming soon.
What’s your favourite costume you’ve created?
My partners Mind Flayer costume for LT was pretty epic! I made both our costumes for the gathering, unfortunately, I’ve yet to find a picture of us together!
What is you best tip for someone putting together a LARP costume, who doesn’t know much about costuming?
Layers are your best friend! Oh and dyeing with tea is good for ageing white garments!
Do you take custom orders and if so what kind of ideas should people have in mind before they contact you?
Yes, we’re happy to take custom orders and the more information you have the better! I usually like to work from either a Pinterest board or a stack of images initially, it helps me get a feel for silhouette, colour and layers. Character information is important too, a description of their personality and traits can help to add those details which really help the clothes become part of the character. Preferred weaponry is also useful, after all, no one wants their sleeves getting tangled in their bowstring at a crucial moment!
Do you LARP Yourself? Do you have favourite systems, favourite types of character to play?
I’m still quite new to the hobby but attended LT’s the gathering last year, which was my first event, and I really enjoyed it. Initially it was intended as a bit of market research; I wanted to see what LARP was all about, who was trading and what people were wearing, but we ended up having a really good time.
I have another event booked in April, being run by Macifaria Games called Age of Aether. It’s steampunk themed and I’ve booked purely just to play the game! I’ll be playing a rogue type character, which should be good fun.
Where can people find you?
https://www.facebook.com/citadelcostumes is our Facebook page, you can contact me direct through there.
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CitadelCostumes* is our online store. However not everything is listed on here, so if you see something you’re interested in on our Facebook page which is not listed in the store, you can get in touch and we’ll see what we can do!