Behind the costumes at the Brooklyn Cosplay Fashion Show

Echo Chronum, 17, is a quiet and reserved Brooklyn high school student who often buries herself in her homework.

But there is another side to the shy teen that her classmates might be surprised to learn about.

This Sunday, Chronum will walk down a runway in front of media cameras and a crowd of thousands at the 5th annual Cosplay Fashion Show at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG). Cosplay is short for “costume play” or dressing up as a fictional character, especially those from Japanese Manga or anime.

“Before cosplay, I didn’t have a life besides schoolwork and just going to bed,” said Chronum, who provided a pseudonym for privacy reasons. “After cosplay, I had more friends, I got out of my house more and my parents actually saw me smiling.”

Chronum will be cosplaying as Princess Sakura from the manga series Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles in a handcrafted outfit that took more than 100 hours to create.

Some 40 cosplayers will be in Sunday’s show, which is part of the 33rd annual Sakura Matsuri Festival.

“We have an application process that is quite selective,” said Anita Jacobs, director of public programs at BBG. “We are only looking at outfits that are hand-sewn and hand-designed.”

This is Chronum’s second time participating in the fashion show at BBG. She began cosplaying two years ago when she attended New York Comic Con dressed as Lena Lee from D. Gray-Man.

Her life has changed since then, Chronum said, adding that she met her close friend and future college roommate through cosplay.

“It’s a really supportive community, so part of this is about people finding other friends with similar interests,” Jacobs said.

For 27-year-old Anna Nakhodkina, the craftsmanship of cosplay is one of the biggest draws. Her father, a Ukrainian immigrant, taught her how to sew when she was younger, and he still plays a big role in the creation of her costumes.

“Back then, we had nothing. My father basically sewed a lot of my clothing,” Nakhodkina said. “Growing up, I watched him with our giant, clunky old sewing machine.”

She eventually began helping her father and even sewed clothes for her Barbie dolls.

“My father taught me everything I know. This is a family affair,” she said, adding that her father will be in the audience on Sunday.

The Brooklyn college student, who plans to pursue a career in business, will be cosplaying as Yoko Kurama, a demon fox, from the manga series YuYu Hakusho.

While Chronum and Nakhodkina have been cosplaying for a few years, other participants have been practicing the art for decades.

Charles Battersby, a 43-year-old actor from Brooklyn, said he began cosplaying 20 years ago.

Dressed in a blue, Victorian gown worn by Elizabeth in the video game BioShock, Battersby said he enjoys seeing people’s reactions to his costumes.

“People will run to you from across the convention floor just to shake your hand or take a picture of you, because you like the thing that they like,” said Battersby, who is well known for cosplaying as Princess Peach of the Super Mario series.

Standing next to Battersby, Chronum recalled when she dressed in all pink as Taiwan from the series Hetalia for last year’s fashion show.

“I made a lot of little girls smile. I made their day. I stopped kids from crying,” she said. “It was a great experience.”

 

Before you go: 

Sakura Matsuri: A Celebration of Japanese Culture

April 26 and 27: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

$25 for adults, $20 for seniors (65 and older) and students (ages 12-17)

Children 12 and under are free

Full schedule of events is available at bbg.org/visit/event/sakura_matsuri_2014

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

And then there were six. It was a big night on stage as the Top 6 got to dance with each other, All-star partners and perform a solo routine.

Going Out

5 things to do in NYC this weekend…

FILM Lebowski Fest Aug. 22-23, 8 p.m. Various locations, Manhattan $20-$30, www.lebowskifest.com The Dude abides — for 48 hours to celebrate the 1998 Coen brothers classic.…

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…