San Diego Comic-Con is less than two weeks away. If you’re into cosplay, you’re likely in crunch mode. If you just love checking out other people’s costumes like I do, you’re going to love to read what Castle Corsetry founder Lauren Bregman has to say. We chatted with Lauren about the company, how she got started, her amazing creations, what she’s got planned for SDCC and the best way to approach cosplayers for a picture. Check out our interview below and keep an eye out for Lauren at the con!
Legion of Leia: How did you get started creating costumes?
Lauren Bregman: My mom taught me how to sew when I was 6 by making a quilt out of my little girl’s dresses, which I still have to this day. From there, I graduated to making outfits for my Beanie Babies and American Girl Dolls, then Halloween costumes. I always knew that I wanted to do fashion design in some sense, but it wasn’t until high school when I started doing theatre that it really evolved into wanting to do costume design specifically. From that point, I decided that I wanted to go to fashion school in LA, so a scared 18-year-old me moved off to the big city. I worked at a bunch of costume houses all over town, including Universal Studios, J&M Costumers, and Western Costume Company, which were all amazing learning experiences. It wasn’t until I landed the design job for a few years at Trashy Lingerie that I really got to exercise my creative talents.
Legion of Leia: How did you get interested in cosplay?
Lauren Bregman: I really started doing cosplay after attending San Diego Comic Con in my first Star Wars corset. After having so much fun dressing up in that, I decided for the next year I would make a costume to wear. With my friends and I in costumes that I made, we kept getting asked where to get them, which is how my costume making business erupted.
Legion of Leia: Tell us about creating Castle Corsetry.
Lauren Bregman: When I graduated from fashion school (FIDM in downtown LA), I immediately got into corset making after taking a workshop at Fathingale’s Corsets. I always thought that in making corsets I would end up more in the Renaissance Faire scene, but Comic Con really inspired me to take it in a more Geek direction. It started just by making things for myself and my friends. When we would pass out cards at events it grew exponentially, through word of mouth and social media.
Legion of Leia: What do you get the most requests for in terms of costumes?
Lauren Bregman: The Dark Phoenix costume that I made for Amanda of Birds of ‘Play is probably my most requested piece. Though, ever since the Playboy bunny mash-up craze started, I have been inundated with bunny costumes of various themes and styles.
Legion of Leia: What are some of your favorite pieces?
My all time favorite costume that I have created was Winifred Sanderson from Hocus Pocus. It was a crazy costume to make, and by far one of the hardest, but also the one that I am most proud of. It took me two months of nearly non stop work to complete it. But I learned so many new skills and techniques that it’s truly is my pride and joy. It doesn’t hurt that I also enjoy snarling at small children while I wear it.
Legion of Leia: Is there a character you want to cosplay as and haven’t done yet?
Lauren Bregman: One of my dream costumes is to do a female version of Abe Sapien From Hellboy with full prosthetics and artificial breathing apparatus. But I don’t know when I will have the time and money to accomplish that one. As a hobby scuba diver, I love all things aquatic, and I think that his character is so cool. It also doesn’t hurt that Doug Jones is the nicest person on the planet.
Legion of Leia: You always have a great group cosplay at cons. What do you have planned for SDCC?
Lauren Bregman: I plan on reviving the Star Wars Playboy bunny group for Friday of Comic Con. I am also planning a top secret Avengers mash-up group for Saturday that I am not quite able to announce. But you won’t want to miss it!
Legion of Leia: Can you talk a bit about the popularity spike in cosplay over the past few years?
Lauren Bregman: I think with the box office being the way it is, nerd culture has been on a steady increase the last couple years, just due to what are the most popular movies out every year. Everyone at Halloween always wants to do costumes of their favorite movie of the year. So, now it’s cool to be Spider-Man or The Avengers, when it used to be taboo. I think it just means that we have more content for our fandoms and more general acceptance, which is always a good thing.
Legion of Leia: The Cosplay is Not Consent movement is really important. I’d love to hear what you have to say about the right way to approach a cosplayer at a con for pictures or to talk about costumes.
Lauren Bregman: I think Cosplay is Not Consent is a tricky subject because you should be able to wear whatever you want without giving “consent” for other people to act inappropriately toward you. It’s not just about cosplay, it’s about a general attitude that we are trying to move away from. That being said, it’s always polite to ask a cosplayer if you can take a picture rather than just taking one, which is generally seen as annoying or rude by the cosplayer. The general public needs to realize that cosplayers are also people, not just pieces of meat in a costume. If we all just treated each other like human beings, we wouldn’t have to continually have this debate.
Legion of Leia: What new projects do you have in the pipeline?
Lauren Bregman: Like I said, I have big group plan for SDCC that I can’t quite talk about yet but that I’m super stoked about. I did just finish working with YouTube Space LA on a series of super hero shorts that should be coming out throughout the rest of the year. It was pretty exciting to be a part of so many well-known YouTubers’ awesome content. I got to create over ten original super hero/villain costumes and it was a very rewarding experience.