Zalora : I'm a huge fan of Gainax works and FLCL had been one of the first anime I watched in full. As I got older I really liked Haruko Haruhara's personality and unpredictable nature.

PiggyNukka : I've been a big FLCL fan for a long time. I think the series is the best fictional work of what coming of age is like. I used to cosplay Haruko when I was younger but I've come to like Mamimi more as a character over the years and connected with her at a point. She has a lot more character development and growth which I really like to see.

Zalora : It was made over the course of a year. Part of why it took so long was the search for the perfect shoe to make the base of the boots. After that I made everything else from scratch, save for the white undershirt which was thrifted.

PiggyNukka : I made the sweater, skirt, and bag from scratch. I patterned out the sweater from one I already had. The skirt I hand painted the plaid design on the fabric by hand and then cut and made a pleated shirt, the bag I made off a pattern from Jo-Anns, wig is from Arda which I cut and styled, and I stripped and re-dyed a pair of leather penny loafers for this costume.

Zalora : Amazing! It was a few years later that I was gifted the Vespa from my best friend. I fixed it to running condition so I was able to ride it around the convention a little. Everyone seemed to like it and took a lot of pictures.

PiggyNukka: Most people had no idea who I was! But the few folks who recognized me were really happy to see a Mamimi cosplayer since it's more uncommon. Everyone who asked why I was getting in the picture when my Haruko pulled me in. So many people had completely forgotten Mamimi was a character in FLCL at all, which I think is sad since she was such a huge part of it.

Zalora : In 2004 I was told about a local anime convention (Anime Expo) and how people dress up for it. It seemed cool so the next year I made a costume with my then boyfriend and had a blast. At Anime Expo 2005, my boyfriend and I were dressed as Kaname Chidori and Sagara Sousuke from Full Metal Panic. The anime had just recently been licensed here in the States and Funimation was advertising it all over Anime Expo that year. Even though it wasn't even that great of a costume a lot of people were excited to see us and took a lot of pictures of us. Because of that I fell in love with the hobby and never looked back.

PiggyNukka : When I went to my first convention, Sakuracon, in 2004. I had never heard or seen cosplay before and I thought it looked like a lot of fun! The first time I cosplayed was in 2005 as Ruby Moon from Card Captor Sakura. I had another instance of no one knowing who I was, but I had so much fun creating the costume that I didn't really care. I got addicted to it via the creation aspect.

Zalora : Cosplay opened up a door to a world of fashion design I had no idea was available to me. I learned I was very good with my hands and coming up with new ways to create something from nothing. I changed my major from Engineering to Fashion Design and I've never been happier. I wouldn't say it's what gave me purpose in life, but it certainly pushed me into a good direction. The biggest reason why cosplay is special to me is all the friends I made through it. Boyfriends, best friends, and friends I'll have for the rest of my life.

PiggyNukka : I feel really proud of myself when I put something on and can say "I made this". I love the trial and error and the feeling when I finally get something right. So far I've learned that I'm not one to give up even though I might get frustrated in the moment, I'm a perfectionist and I'm TERRIBLE at time management. To me cosplay is an artistic hobby I can spend my time on that makes me feel good. After art became my professional job I lost a bit of luster in my life and cosplay was there for me as a creative outlet to do for fun.

Zalora : My favorite of all the many stories would have to be the One Piece gathering at Sakura Con in 2010. The voice actress for Luffy, Mayumi Tanaka, was a guest at the con and wanted to see all the One Piece cosplayers. Of course all of us were ecstatic to see her. This homeless woman had popped up out of no where and started acting nuts in front of Ms. Tanaka and her handlers. My friend, who was dressed as Zoro, quickly jumped down and ready to take out his swords said, “Is there a problem, ma'am?” to the transient. He lead her away from the crowd, saving the day. The rest of the gathering was amazing with pictures and singing “Bink's Sake”.

PiggyNukka : This hobby, while fun, is extremely catty. It's a shame how some people feel the need to drag others down to bring themselves up. Just remember that you're doing cosplay FOR YOU, not for the approval of other people. It doesn't matter how many likes or views you get, because those posts will become obsolete and forgotten with time. You can make what you want of this hobby. I think it's much more important to open your closet, look at your outfits, and have the memories of the blood, sweat, and tears you put in to make it happen and the memories you created with your friends because of it.

Zalora : Friends are a huge part of this hobby for me. Half the reason why I get excited about the next convention is that I can go and see friends and have a good time with them. Making the costume is good for my mind and cosplay friends are good for my spirit in a way.

-- Zalora & PiggyNukka