It’s time for another cosplay interview, this time with Jez Roth! He’s a crazy talented cosplayer currently in Nevada, who has made some amazing costumes!
What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
So I first started going by Jezeroth around 2002. Due to the fact my first “official” cosplay I made was Sephiroth and I combined that with my name, Jesse + Sephiroth = Jezeroth. After a couple of years, to make it sound a little more realistic, I started using Jez Roth as well, to sound more formal.
How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I’ve been cosplaying for about nineteen years. I started back in high school when a friend of mine who was regularly going to anime conventions insisted that I had to check out this “anime festival” called Katsucon in 1999. Well, it blew my mind, to say the least. I made a hilariously awful costume for the convention that I ended up not even wearing since I was so overwhelmed by everything.
What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
Oh, man. I love vinyl. You can get some incredible dimensions and angles out of it that you really can’t get out of other fabrics. You can distress, melt it, manipulate it into such crazy shapes as well. Stitching, paint, and surface decorations really pop on it. And it forces you to really take your time stitching as well since it’s such an unforgiving fabric.
What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
More “monster” type costumes such as my Irwin costume and some cyberpunk work.
What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
I love seeing costumes that are either alternate art versions or “unique” takes on characters that fit within a theme i.e. Halloween Town Riku, or cosplays of rarely or never done characters in a series. And really, everyone does well with them, from newbies to experienced cosplayers! You stand out, your work has the opportunity to be appreciated from a different angle, and there’s less of a worry of seeing the same character done twenty other times at the same convention.
What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
The cosplay scene here in the US has changed so much over the last ten years or so. Back around 1999 there was very little glamour to it, very few cosplayers who really promoted themselves. It was very “nerd” and very few people made it look good. Now the scene has changed so much thanks to a wave of cosplayers around 2001 who did dramatic, well-choreographed skits, sexy costumes, and looked really neat doing it. Since then, it’s become a lot closer to being mainstream. It’s definitely a younger crowd and the level of costume quality has skyrocketed since then. Costumes and skits that would have won Best in Show ten years ago in masquerades are now considered average.
What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
I would love to see more over-the-top skits. For a while, there were a lot of performances and amazing skits going on at the masquerades, but now at conventions there are two or three really good skits and the rest are entertaining at best. A lot of costumes are doing hall costume contests and not bothering with skits at all. I wish the focus was still on the masquerade.
What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
Purchase a bolt of muslin when it’s on sale at either JoAnns or Hancock, buy a sewing 101 book or take a basic course, and practice general stitching and hems. Learn the basics and above all else: Take your time preparing and working on your costume but do not procrastinate. Also, start a year early. Never plan a costume around what your body will look, like with “ten pounds lost” or with “five more pounds muscle.” Always plan your costume for the here and now.
What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
I currently enjoy AnimeUSA, Katsucon (it was my first con so it has that special place in my heart), and Animazement. I have so many good memories at many of them, it’s hard to name favorites.
Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
I designed and crafted Black Widow in about a week and a half. The whole spider web hoopskirt frame is made out of hula hoops that screw together, so I can unscrew it and break it down for transportation. The whole costume fits into one suitcase.