AUSTRALIAN Champion Cosplayer Kirilee Lennerts has been sewing since she was three but only began designing costumes in 2014.
Sharing her knowledge alongside other well-known cosplay costumiers at a panel organised by the City of Armadale last month, Mrs Lennerts thrilled audiences with her designs, and the amount of effort put into creating her costumes.
Cosplay, a portmanteau of costume and play, is the practise of dressing up in a costume inspired by popular culture, particularly from TV shows, books, Japanese Manga and other forms of creative content.
Mrs Lennerts said her interest in cosplay came from a performance background.
Her first costume, a 1950s style dress representing the TARDIS from the long running UK TV show Doctor Who, was for the Perth Oz Comic Con in 2014.
Addicted, Mrs Lennerts entered and won the Perth round of the 2014 Madman National Cosplay Championship and was flown to Queensland for the final.
She was crowned Australian Champion in 2015.
“I won a holiday to Japan; it was a belated honeymoon for my husband and I,” she said.
Her winning costume was an interpretation of a character called Jennifer from Japanese manga Cloth Road.
“It cost over $1000 dollars to make,” Mrs Lennerts said.
Using materials like silk, beading, crystal and linen it took 400 hours to make.
She admitted her dream career would be something related to creative costuming but said it was just an “expensive hobby”.
Mrs Lennerts said her husband was her biggest supporter.
“He is my number one go to person, my inspiration, he helps me out and feeds me because I forget to eat; suddenly this plate of food will slide in front of me and he’s like, ‘you haven’t eaten in six hours’.”
Payments comes from having her work admired – and sharing her knowledge.
“It’s very uplifting for me to have someone I’ve never met before, coming up to me and asking ‘how did you this [costume]?’ And I can go you need this, this, and this – do you have a pen? Write it down.”
Mrs Lennerts will be at Oz Comic Con on March 25 at 10am, under her stage name Kirilee Cosplay, will host a session showing time poor cosplay fans how to make their own outfit in one hour.