Wednesday 19 April 2017

Cosplay and Convention 101 by Jolly Holly

Bags Packed and ready for MCM 2016
My name is Jolly Holly and I am a cosplayer from the Hampshire area. I am a new contributor for Appleton Pin Up Girl so you can expect to see lots of blog posts coming from me in the future. To give you a brief overview about me I have been attending comic conventions in the UK and abroad since 2013. I am best known for my viral video of my Cinderella transformation dress. I sing, sew and live life to the fullest! You will learn more about me in an upcoming post however for now I wanted to share some of my cosplay wisdom. As cosplay season is upon us I thought this would be a good time to share a cosplay and convention 101 with you all. 
When I think back to my first year of cosplaying and attending conventions I realise just how unprepared I was. From costume emergencies to blistered and bleeding feet, I have experienced many of the ups and downs of convention going. I have learned over the years the things I really need to pack, and the things I’ll never use, whether it’s a one day con, a long weekend, or a week-long stay at an international con.

Traveling to cons is never easy, even if it’s a local one. I'm an incredibly forgetful person. I’ve forgotten essential bits of costume before and have now learnt to write a list of every single thing I will need to be wearing with each outfit and to lay it out the night before so I know there’s no chance I will forget a glove, or a shoe, or a strap.

When my dad say my packing list and the two massive suitcases that I was taking to MCM London last year he incredulously asked if I really need to take ‘all that stuff’.’ Um…yes!’ I was doing three Disney princesses; each one has different shoes, different accessories, different undergarments, different make up and different wigs. I was essentially packing three of everything!

It’s taken a few years to perfect, but here is the essential packing list for attending a convention.

Everyday essentials

  • ·         Street clothes – for traveling, to change into after the con.
  • ·         Toiletries – I cannot stress the importance of remembering to pack deodorant and a toothbrush!!!
  • ·         Towel
  • ·         Underwear
  • ·         PJ’s – particularly if you're sharing a room with friends!!
  • ·         Electronic chargers – no one wants their phone or camera to run out of power
  • ·         Purse and spending money
  • ·         Shoes
  • ·         Slippers – for your poor tired feet after a day of wondering the con
  • ·         Brushes and combes

Cosplay essentials

  • ·         Costume – sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget a part of it!
  • ·         Sewing kit
  • ·         Duct tape
  • ·         Safety pins
  • ·         Glue
  • ·         String
  • ·         Wigs
  • ·         Props
  • ·         Accessories
  • ·         Undergarments

Miscellaneous essentials

  • ·         Travel cards
  • ·         Con tickets
  • ·         Snacks and drinks!!!!! Con food is so expensive!

When it comes to getting all this in a suitcase? Always roll whatever clothes you can. It compacts things down and will prevent too much wrinkling. Vacuum bags are always a big space saver too, but make sure to get the ones you can roll the air out of; you might not have access to a hoover!

Traveling to cons can be a nightmare, especially if you're going by public transport. I once went by train with two large suitcases and 3 big dress bags! Getting that lot on the underground was HELL!

When it comes to foreign travel, I always have a fear that a suitcase will be lost or put on the wrong flight, or that security will search my bag and something won’t be put back in. I try to make my suitcases distinctive, ribbons, lots of stickers, bright colours. Not only will this help you spot your suitcase on the baggage carrousel, but it’ll also help airport staff in tracking it down if it does get misplaced.

I once travelled with a hoop skirt that was folded in a way that would not bend the hoops…when I unpacked my suitcase at the other end I found the hoop skirt had been unravelled then squashed back into my suitcase so haphazardly that the hoops were snapped in two places. It always seems that my bags get searched by TSA. The padlock will be broken and there’s that tell-tale sticker or note attached to the case. So I have taken to leaving a little note to the security people inside my suitcase, for example;

I hope that these tips and tricks help. As you get more and more seasoned at attending cons and cosplaying you’ll pin down your own essential lists.

Happy cosplaying!

Jolly Holly 


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