Ray Park & Daniel Logan Both Quit the 501st Legion Costume Club

Only hours ago late yesterday (Oct. 5, 2018), #StarWars actor Ray Park (who played #DarthMaul) announced on his #Instagram account that he has quit being a member of the #501stLegion. (The “501st Legion” is the largest & oldest “Star Wars” #CostumeClub and Ray Park has been an active member for many years, as has actor Daniel Logan.)

On his Instagram, Mr. Park wrote the following:

“iamraypark #announcement I AM NO LONGER A 501st legion member. Reason: Disappointed!! However, A certain or a certain member spoiled it for me in Edmontont, 501 legion. I AM A STAR WARS FAN. I AM A FAN BUT NOT A FAN OF THIS! #sithlife #raypark #cancelled

Ray Park's Announcement Quitting the "501st Legion"

This same message is also posted on Mr. Park’s Twitter account:

Ray Park's Announcement to Quit the 501st Legion on Twitter

In response, the “501st Legion” on its #Facebook page issued the following apology:

“Ray Park, please accept our most sincere apology, from the almost 14,000 members of the 501st Legion. You deserve the utmost respect and courtesy, always. We hope that you and Daniel Logan can help us make this right. Thank you.”

"501st Legion" Apology to Ray Park

After learning about this, “Star Wars” actor Daniel Logan (who played the young Boba Fett and is also a member of the “501st Legion”) announced his solidarity with Ray Park Instagram and that he, too, was quitting the “501st Legion”:

Daniel Logan's Announcement Quitting the "501st Legion" on Instagram in Response to Ray Park

While not all of the facts have been publicly presented (but there’s a lot of hearsay), a recent article on Yahoo that was published only in September, 2018 may shed light as to the nature of what may have caused Ray Park to decide to quit:

“Ray Park, the British actor who first played Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, has defended his appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story after receiving “a few fatty comments” about his return to the role.

Maul made a surprise cameo in Solo where it was revealed that he had survived his “death” in The Phantom Menace, and was behind the shadowy Crimson Dawn crime syndicate that looms over the spin-off film.

On Instagram Park says that, although he doesn’t care about the comments and he doesn’t need to justify his appearance in the film, he “worked his butt off” to play Maul once again. He’s also shared photos of himself looking absolutely ripped to silence the haters.

Unfortunately, Mr. Park removed that Instagram post to which the article referred, but we are definitely appalled that anyone would “fat-shame” Ray Park.

One individual wrote the following on Instagram. While we cannot verify it’s accuracy, it’s description is aligns with some our and others own experiences:

Unverified Statement

Since we first created our Facebook page and, later, this WordPress blog, we’ve posted numerous times about toxicity and bullying that occurs “behind closed doors” within costume clubs, and that includes the “501st Legion”. This situation with Ray Park and Daniel Logan is the most public display of just how toxic some superfans within these clubs can be. Poor & weak costume leadership is clearly a factor, which is something else that we have discussed in the past:

As we posted on our Facebook page on January 22, 2016 (also linked above):

“Being part of a costume club can be an enormously rewarding experience, but it can also turn into one of your worst nightmares in the blink of an eye. As long as things go smoothly and morale is high, you can be an active member for potentially years. But if things go awry with conflict & drama, regardless of how much time and effort you have invested into being an active member of the club, you have to know when it’s time to quit. This can be an extremely difficult reality to accept, especially for anyone who has been a member for years and invested considerable time and effort into the club. The key to remember is this: if the conflict & drama is causing a significant amount of stress for yourself, what impact is it also having on your family? We have witnessed several marriages end due in large part to unremitting costume club drama that one spouse is unwilling to step away from. Is a costume club filled with drama more important than your family? Probably not. Try to keep that in mind that sometimes the only realistic solution for yourself and the well being of your family is to walk away from the club. Not being a club member isn’t going to inhibit you from continuing to be an active costumer or cosplayer; but it will very likely restore it into being a fun an rewarding experience again.”

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Sexy “Handmaid’s Tale” Costume Pulled After Sparking Outrage

Outrage over a sexy #HandmaidsTale #costume produced by Yandy.com has forced the company to pull the costume from further sales. In the tale, #handmaids are used as sex slaves to repopulate society in the Hulu series and book. Critics claimed that the costume made light of the characters’ plight.

In “The Handmaid’s Tale” TV series and Margaret Atwood book, the outfit worn by the handmaids is a very conservative looking red dress and cloak with a white hat.

handmaids-tale

Yandy, which branded the costume as “‘Yandy Brave Red Maiden Costume”, altered the outfit to be far more revealing:

Yandy’s “Brave Red Maiden Costume”

After images of the costume went viral on Thursday (Sept. 20, 2018), many people expressed their concerns that the costume was both inappropriate and degrading. In response, Yandy decided to remove the item from sale and issued the following statement on their Twitter account:

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While Yandy’s costume did not violate any laws (as we have discussed in an earlier post regarding the rules of cosplay), by being deemed inappropriate, it falls into a class of inappropriate & unacceptable costumes & cosplays that we have also previously posted about.

References

Carpet Based Cosplays

#Cosplayers’ creations are inspired by many things, usually characters from science fiction, fantasy. superheroes, super-villains, anime, etc. But, now you can add carpeting to the mix. Carpeting? Yes! Some attendees of #DragonCon have been inspired to create #cosplays based upon the carpeting that used to be used in the Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel:

Atlanta Marriott Marquis Carpeting

Former Atlanta Marriott Marquis Carpeting

The pattern of concentric circles and segments in different shades of blues and reds is reminiscent of a camouflage pattern, which is how some cosplayers have incorporated the carpet design into their own works.

The first known use of the carpet design was on military-style uniforms created by Volpin Props in 2014:

Volpin Props, June 25, 2014

But, after that, many more cosplayers incorporated the now iconic carpet into their own cosplays, including Spider-Man; Deadpool; a “Star Wars” stormtrooper & Slave Leia; quidditch players from “Harry Potter”; a coke bottle; Wonder Woman; a truck; and there’s a lot more out there. The pics below are primarily from 2017 and 2018.

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Never underestimate the creativity of cosplayers!

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Sewing Terms

As sewing is an essential skill in making your own #costumes & #cosplays, there are terms used specifically for sewing that novices may not be familiar with. Here are some of them.

We have broken up the terms into 3 categories:

  • Fabric terms.
  • Stitching terms.
  • Garment terms.

Fabric Terms

  • Grain: this a reference to an orientation with respect to the warp and weft threads. Hence, only woven fabrics has grains. Fabrics such as leather, felt and interfacing don’t have grains because they’re not woven. There are three named grains:
    • Bias (or Bias Grain): this is the orientation on a woven fabric that is 45 degrees to both the warp and weft threads. Thus, every woven fabric has two bias directions that are perpendicular to each other. Woven fabric is more elastic as well as more fluid in the bias direction, compared to the straight grain and crossgrain.bias_28textile29
    • Crossgrain: this is the orientation that runs perpendicular to the selvage and parallel to the weft threads. The crossgrain generally has more stretch than the straight grain since the weft threads are generally looser than the warp during weaving.
    • Straight Grain: the orientation that is parallel with the warp threads and the selvage. The straight grain typically has less stretch than the crossgrain since the warp threads will be pulled tighter than the weft during weaving. Most garments are cut with the straight grain oriented top to bottom.
  • Grain Line: an imaginary line running lengthwise on the fabric, always parallel to the selvage. The grain line is marked on pattern pieces with a straight line, usually with arrows at either end, and marked as “grain line” or “straight grain.”
  • Nap: the raised (fuzzy) surface on certain kinds of fabric, such as velvet or moleskin. Nap can refer additionally to other surfaces that look like the surface of a napped cloth, such as the surface of a felt or beaver hat.
  • Right Side: side of the fabric designed to be on the outside of the garment. Sewing directions usually instruct to put right sides together and stitch, resulting in fabric seamed together with the seam allowances on the inside of the garment.
  • Selvage: this is a “self-finished” edge of a fabric. “Self-finished” means that the edge does not require additional finishing work (such as a hem or bias tape) to prevent fraying.
    • In woven fabric, selvages are the edges that run parallel to the warp that are created by the weft thread looping back at the end of each row.
    • In knitted fabric, selvages are the unfinished yet structurally sound edges that were neither cast on nor bound off.
  • Warp and Weft: these are the two types of threads (or yarns) used to weave fabric. Warp threads are held stationary in tension on a frame or loom, while weft is the transverse thread that is drawn through and inserted under-and-over the warp. A single thread of the weft crossing the warp is called a pick, while an individual warp thread is called a warp end or end.warp_and_weft
  • Wrong Side: side of the fabric intended to be on the inside of the garment. On some fabrics it is apparent which is the wrong or right side, such as on prints, but on other fabrics both sides can look the same.
  • Yardage: a length of fabric. Patterns will indicate required yardage needed for a garment in a specific size, detailing how much yardage is needed.

Stitching Terms

  • Basting: this refers to temporary, long-running stitches (made by machine or by hand) that holds fabric together before final, permanent stitching is used.
  • Clipping: snips made in the seam allowance, up to but not through the stitching, to allow the fabric to open around curves or to lay flat.
  • Edge Stitch: a line of stitching very close to a seam or garment edge.
  • French Seam: a finished seam in which the seam is initially stitched with wrong sides together, then flipped inside and stitched right sides together. This encloses the seam allowance, creating a clean finish on the inside of the garment.
  • Gathering: a process of taking up a length of fabric in order to seam it to a shorter piece of fabric.
  • Grading: there are 2 definitions:
    • After a seam is stitched, the two layers are trimmed to a different width in order to prevent a ridge showing on the outside of the garment seam.
    • It may also refer to the process of converting a pattern size to a larger or smaller size.
  • Seam:  the join where two or more layers of fabric, leather, or other materials are held together with stitches.
  • Seam Allowance: the distance from the edge of the cut fabric piece to the stitching, which can vary according to the pattern and fabric.
  • Stay Stitch: a line of machine stitches on or near the seam, stitched on a single layer of fabric, used to stabilize a cut edge.
  • Stitch Length: the length of a single stitch, which affects the amount of fabric moved through the machine per stitch. Fewer stitches per inch means each stitch is longer, up to and including basting stitches.
  • Topstitch: a row of stitches seen on the outside of a garment that can be decorative and also add strength and wearability to an item.
  • Under Stitch: a row of stitching that attaches the facing to the seam allowance on the inside of the garment.

Garment Terms

  • Dart: a fold (a tuck coming to a point) and sewn into fabric to take in ease and provide shape to a garment, especially for a woman’s bust. Darts are used in all sorts of clothing to tailor the garment to the wearer’s shape, or to make an innovative shape in the garment.
  • Ease: the amount of room a garment allows the wearer beyond the measurements of their body.
  • Facing: a small piece of fabric, separate or a part of the fabric itself, used to finish the fabric edges. Facing makes a garment look professionally finished with the seams well hidden inside the folds of the facing. It’s mostly used to finish the edges in necklines, armholes, hems and openings. They’re also used in other sewn items, such as quilts and curtain hems.
  • Hem: a garment finishing method in which the edge of a piece of fabric is folded narrowly and sewn to prevent fraying.
  • Interfacing: a layer of of fabric used to stabilize the fashion fabric in a garment. Interfacing can be woven or non-woven, fusible or sew in.

References

Why Some People Fear Seeing Other People in Masks

While most #costumers & #cosplayers wear #costumes to bring joy to others, some people (especially children) may become frightened when approached by someone in #costume. Two not-so-uncommon fears related to #costuming are #maskaphobia and #coulrophobia.

  • Maskaphobia is (as the name implies) a fear masks.
  • Coulrophobia is a persistent fear of clowns, where individuals may feel “shaken or traumatized” at the thought of them.

While neither term is currently listed in the World Health Organization’s ICD-10 or in the American Psychiatric Association’s categorization of disorders, both are very real for those who suffer from them.

Why Masks Can Frighten

While a precise cause explaining why someone might develop maskaphobia or coulrophobia isn’t yet known, both may be rooted in people’s general expectations of seeing others with human appearance and behavior. In a Sun article published a few weeks ago, Dr. Melanie Phelps (a British psychologist) said that as children, we are familiar with the appearance of our caregivers and family members and we see them as having a “safe and friendly human face”.  In terms of clowns, she said,

“Clown have unnatural, large, exaggerated and distorted features and therefore don’t match the ‘safe, friendly human’ pattern we have created in our minds.”

“We know that clown faces are brightly colored, with stark contrasts – for example wide bright red lips, against a very white background, with exaggerated smiles or expressions which are fixed and do not change with interaction. This triggers an ‘unsafe / does not match’ alert in our primal brains which indicates this type of face is unknown, not recognized, possibly unsafe, possibly a threat and we cannot read the facial expression correctly as it doesn’t match the actions or words.”

This inability to interact with clowns or mask wearers could potentially make someone feel fearful, panicky and threatened.

Like clown makeup, masks distort or completely hide the wearer’s appearance. Thus, a mask replaces the wearer’s human appearance with something that is both strange and unusual. If the wearer speaks, the sound may appear to come from out of nowhere since most masks don’t feature moving mouths. Thus, like clown makeup, masks can lead to that primal alert as described by Dr. Phelps.

Similar to clowns, it’s common practice that when someone wears a mask, they alter their own behavior and replace it with behaviors associated with the character that the mask represents. While many people love the freedom that a mask’s anonymity provides, a wearer could behave in socially unacceptable ways while hidden behind the mask.

In some cultures, masks may be worn as part of religious ceremonies. While members of that culture may see the masks as symbols worthy of respect, those of differing religious beliefs might view those same masks as being evil or dangerous.

Various forms of entertainment (TV shows, movies, plays, etc.) may deliberately exploit the fear that masks and clowns can generate. By doing so, such forms of entertainment may inadvertently contribute to someone developing maskaphobia or coulrophobia. After being exposed to images of stalking serial killers or disfigured anti-heroes lurking behind masks or heavy clown makeup, it shouldn’t be surprising that some people may begin to naturally wonder what is behind any mask or clown that they encounter, as well as their intentions.

Real world crimes committed by masked perpetrators can also make people uneasy, especially in the days, weeks and months immediately after a violent crime has occurred and the criminal(s) was masked.

Physical Symptoms

Maskaphobia and coulrophobia can lead to potentially serious physical symptoms for the sufferer. They may include:

  • Sweating.
  • Shaking.
  • Crying.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Panic attack.
  • The sufferer might try to run away or even hide from the person in the mask or clown makeup.

Treatment

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) enables phobia sufferers to manage their fears by helping them gradually change the way that they think. It’s based on the interconnectedness of thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors. In some cases, anti-anxiety medication may be prescribed to help relieve the stressful symptoms.

What Can Cosplayers & Costumers Do?

If your mask or makeup inadvertently frightens someone, there may be some things that you can do to alleviate their fears:

  • Come out of character: show the person that you’re just a normal person wearing a mask or makeup.
  • If you’re wearing a mask, temporarily take it off to show that you’re not a threat.
  • Keep your distance: don’t continue to approach the frightened person as that will only intensify their fear.
  • If your costume permits and the scared person is a child, kneel down to their level. You’ll seem less intimidating that way.
  • Also, don’t wear your costume in an inappropriate place as you could find yourself getting arrested.

masks

References

Shortage of “Star Wars” Cosplayers for Wedding Appearances

According to the #WallStreetJournal, there’s a shortage of #cosplayers for couples having #StarWars themed weddings. Since the typically most popular #cosplayed characters are #DarthVader & #stormtroopers, the requests for appearances often go to the #501stLegion, the #CostumeClub that specializes in “dark side” & Imperial characters.

With the enormous popularity of the recent “Star Wars” movies, a lot more couples are wanting “Star Wars” themed weddings. This has placed a strain on local chapters of the “501st Legion”, whose members make costumed appearances purely on a voluntary basis and who typically request that a donation be made to a charity for the appearance.

Some local chapters (referred to as garrisons within the 501st Legion) have adopted policies of no longer accepting requests to appear at weddings due to the growing number of such requests, though internal communication regarding these locally-adopted policies does not appear to always be disseminated to all members.

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Some Cutting-Edge Fursuits

Just like any other form of #costuming & #cosplay, some #fursuiters are looking for ways to be on the cutting edge of the hobby by using electronics and details that require enormous amounts of hours to create. #Fursuiter Pocari Roo shared some of the #fursuits that she regards as being “insane” for how much effort these makers put into their amazing creations:

Here are fuller versions of those same fursuits:

“Beauty of the Bass” dancing at #Confuzzled:

“LED Dragon” at the 2017 #Antrocon:

“Gem Raptor” and mBlade at MCC in 2017:

Jex:

King Hyena:

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