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Competitive Cosplay: The Story of Two Women, a Machine and a Dream.

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Photo Courtesy: Marlie and Allison

The art of cosplay is a growing medium as media fans learn about the concept of attending conventions and meeting their favorite characters.

 OSU students Allison Breckon and Marlie McLaughin aren’t new to the game, but their popularity is only growing. 

Breckon is finishing her senior year here at OSU, soon to be a graduate holding a degree in design housing and merchandising with a concentration in apparel planning and production, and a minor in merchandising with an emphasis on costume design. She chose her major because of her love of cosplay and sewing and is grateful to have been able to pursue something she loves. Breckon said that being able to make her patterns from scratch has been the most helpful aspect of her education. 

McLaughlin just graduated with a major in geology and a minor in theatre as well as geophysics. For her, college encouraged and introduced her to cosplay. She was took sewing courses and made her first costume in the summer of 2017. This costume, Elsa from Frozen, was created within a week and done last minute for her first convention.

Breckon and McLaughlin began to create duos together after their friendship grew and made cosplays such as Elsa and Anna, Link and Zelda, Aphrodite and Athena, as well as a few others. These cosplays grew in popularity as they traveled to new conventions and entered into competitions. Most notably are their Frozen cosplays, which were featured in the Tulsa World in 2020. 

Breckon won her first award at Glitchcon 2016 in a Queen Amidala cosplay where she received first place, while McLaughlin was at Pryor Con as Anna in her coronation gown. Their first joint first place award was as Anna and Elsa at Vision Con in Branson, Missouri. 

Overall they have 27 placements. They’ve judged contests at conventions 15 times and been asked to guest 13 times. Guesting at a convention typically includes paid travel and food, occasionally a gifted hotel room, and usually, the two will table their booth where they can sell trinkets they’ve made. They’ve given a few panels about cosplay creation such as Cosplay on a Budget at Tulsa World Comic Con in 2019. Before the cancellations of conventions due to COVID-19, they were due to guest another three conventions in 2020. 

The arrival of COVID-19 has caused a change in every aspect of everyone’s lives, and for these two it’s no different. While in a normal year they’d be making extra money at conventions through their booth sales and the cosplay commissions they do where they make custom cosplays for buyers. 

Due to the hardships, everyone is facing, there have been fewer commissions available as people don’t have the extra money to spend. In addition, their motivation to create content has taken a downfall. Breckon has only cosplayed once throughout the pandemic, and she finds it difficult to work on her projects without the upcoming prospect of a convention. 

McLaughlin has a similar issue but is also utilizing her free time to work on a Ball Gown Princess Peach. She’s been building and sewing the gown from scratch and posts updates on their joint Instagram account. She said she hopes to debut the gown at a convention when they reopen. 

While the cosplay community has surely taken a hit, this pair is still marching on. 

Along with her Princess Peach cosplay, McLaughlin is working on a Guardian Link. Breckon has a new Zelda cosplay coming and hopes to have Isabelle from Animal Crossing done in the future. 

For more information on the two, you can find them on Instagram and Facebook under ‘Divine Creations Cosplay.’