Thursday, August 2, 2012

Otakon 2012 & the Lolita Fashion Show: The Perilous Entry 1a.

I know a few of you are curious about my first ever Otakon 2012 convention experience, so I've been mulling over the past few days what I thought would be the most interesting to write! I know what you're thinking: it looks so effortless! That cute girlie designer just twirled down the runway after her sugary sweet models and everything must have gone just swimmingly, because the show was awesome! And a fairy god princess came out and made everything perfect, and sparkly! Right, right?

...Why yes, dear reader, you are so.... wait a minute, that's not how it happened it all! : o

A Step Back in Time...

When I first found out that I had been accepted into my first ever all lolita fashion show, I was over the moon with excitement! (Before I even applied, I remember being so nervous and messaging one of my best friend's being like, "Should I even apply to this?! Am I good enough?!" And of course that person was like, ">.< Yes, yes, yes! GO FOR IT, silly girl!!!" Thanks, Emi!) Up until now, my education had led me to believe that ready to wear was the only way to go in life even though despite their best efforts, my over the top frilly cuteness ended up taking over my graduating senior collection this past spring. This was my time to let all that reigned in cuteness just explode into a shower of decadence and sweetness on my designs!

Luckily, I had been working on 2 designs (now known as Strawberry Kitty OP/Pink Bunny Tea Party) while I had been on a little vacation... who takes a vacation to keep sewing?... me. But neither were done, they were still in pieces... literally. And I had already made 2 other designs, the skirt and Pony OP, that I wanted to use for the show. I had 4 weeks to complete.

So I knew I had one heck of a to do list! It went something like this:

*Strawberry Kitty:
-finish construction, chiffon neckline, top stitch, zipper, lining, make casings, insert elastic, sew, hem, finish insides, decorate
-waist bow: pattern, cut out, construction, top stitch, button holes, buttons
-make matching head bow: pattern, construction, interfacing, stitching, put together, attach to head bow, bead

*Pink Bunny Tea Party: 
-finish construction, chiffon ruffle, top stitch, zipper, lining, make casings, insert elastic, sew, hem, finish insides, bead, decorate
-Creme Ruffle Blouse: pattern, cut out, ruffle, french all seams, top stitch, insert ruffle, collar, interfacing, bow, button hole, buttons, hem
-matching bonnet
-matching head bow: pattern, construction, interfacing, stitching, put together, attach to head bow, bead

 *Black Bunny Tea Party:
-pattern, cut out, start construction, finish construction, chiffon ruffle, top stitch, zipper, lining, make casings, insert elastic, sew, hem, finish insides, bead, ribbon bows, bow patterns/cut chiffon/sew/attach/bead
-Black Ruffle Blouse: pattern, cut out, ruffle, french all seams, top stitch, insert ruffle, make collar pattern/cut/sew/interface/insert ruffle, interfacing, bow, button hole, buttons, hem

*Creme Knit Blouse for Rose Garden Skirt 
-drape bodice pattern, make puff sleeve pattern, french all seams, construction, ruffle, insert, top stitch, bias bind neckline, hem, top stitch, insert sleeve elastic, add ribbon bows
-make Victorian sugary spoon necklace: fuwa fuwa whip cream, deco sauce, decorate, make chain

*Make my own dress??? D : 

Everything was going swimmingly for the show, with a few ups and downs and panicking in between, and the occasional not believing in myself and being super stressed. I was making good progress, and really pushing myself. Until I got down to week before the last week.... I got super super sick---I mean couldn't get out of bed for a week, down with a really nasty flu kind of sick, the kind where you sleep for basically the entire time. I had a yucky fever that just wouldn't quit. When I finally felt better, I tried sewing and working hard, but I actually made myself worse and had to stop. 

(Sac le bleu! you gasp. What will happen?!)

By the time I finally was okay, I got back to it with literally only 10 days to do: with a good chunk left on Pink Bunny Tea Party, Black Ruffle Blouse, Creme Ruffle Blouse, Creme Knit Blouse, 2 head bows, AND make myself a dress. (They turned out okay, huh?) AND SOMEHOW IT ALL HAPPENED! Seriously, I don't know how I made it... but I did. D :

Traveling Day, Thursday 26th: One Day Before the Show...

I had somehow managed to survive the week, sickness pending, and had headed off the airport with my sweet little kitty, Cookie, in tow. She was staying at my mom's while I was away for the weekend as I had two suitcases already: one full of runway clothing/accessories and one just for me. I was feeling pretty good.... right about until it started into a torrential downpour. My 7:55 pm flight from the airport to Baltimore was delayed until 10:00 pm, and the weather didn't seem to be letting up. I went at around 9 to be appropriately on time and be able to check bags, etc, saying good bye to my sad eyed kitty but hello to what was sure to be a fun weekend. The flight got delayed AGAIN, this time due to a mechanical error. This time until 11:10... when they finally did let us on the plane, we sat on the tarmac for 45 minutes. After waiting for my bags in BWI, I got home around 2 am and I eventually went to sleep with a bright an early wake up call for the morning.....

Friday 27th: Day of The Show/Photo Shoot... The Ordeal, aka. Dante's 5th Circle of Hell

I had a lot to do the day of the show. I had about 8 garments/pieces to garments that needed to be completely steamed, ironed, and re-starched before 4:30 that day when I had planned on picking up all my models for a photo shoot in our studio before the show. I even cleaned, tidied up, and my boyfriend drove out to buy them cute macaroons and tarts, and cupcakes for treats! But we still had one problem: badges. I had made sure to pre-register, as I had done at many a con before, and normally I've always just walked in, waited in a short line, picked up, and walked out. How hard could that be? I would be out an hour, tops, and back to iron and starch in no time. Right??

Wrong. How wrong? More incorrect then I have ever been in my life.

Otakon was so disorganized and unprepared that when we got their a little after noon, there was line of both registration and pre-registration all packed in to one. A line that wrapped around 5 times, at least 2 or so miles long, that went all the way back to a completely different hotel. That's not so bad right? No, no... it was worse. They had everyone standing outside. On a 96+ degree day, in the sun, with humidity. All entrances are blocked off with security.

I didn't want to panic. I knew I had a very limited window of time to prepare for both the photo shoot and show. I hadn't learned my speech yet, or prepared my dress/hair/make up/outfit, but I knew as long as we got back by 3 pm I could still do it. It would be a rush. But it was doable.

Hour one passed. Still trying to keep in good spirits. Hour and half passed, starting to get sun burnt and dehydrated, plus there was kid behind us with a bike horn. He had been squeaking it for that entire time. We've moved maybe 20 yards. Find out the registration machines have gone down. I was so hungry and dehydrated, sweating and  not even in full costume. Staff members walk by. They promise to split the lines from pre reg/and reg and bring us water. They never return. I'm starting not to feel well.

Hour two. We've gotten to a corner of a building but can still see the Hyatt Hotel behind us. At this point the kid with the bike horn is still going, except now they are singing at the top their lungs as a group, off key and as loud as possible.... this continues for 30 minutes. They start quoting anime verbatim in unison, as loud as possible. Tensions are high. People are getting irritated. I've really started to turn red at this point. Street vendors have finally come, pushing shopping carts full of water bottles for a dollar.

Hour 2 1/2. We made into a little shady part at least, next to part of the convention center. We're in the last stretch. A girl ahead of us in line starts vomiting on the sidewalk. She passes out. It takes Otakon staff 15 minutes to come to her aide, and help her inside. She kept saying she didn't want to go, she would lose her spot in line, and she had waited all that time. They take her in. At this point, I am very mad, and I have a very, very good patience. People are getting sick from the sun/heat and staff isn't helping.The line has stopped. No one wants to walk near the vomit. I cross the street, and just move up to where the end of the other line is, while the others linger behind.

Hour 3 1/2. People are getting hostile. We finally make it to where we can see the convention entrance. The man at the door is only letting in a certain amount of people inside at a time. He counts them, one by one, and says stop. We finally get in. No line. Nothing. We walk up the stairs, get into pre-reg. A few people in front of us are cursing and swearing. 5 minutes. Tops. We get our badges and are out in a matter of minutes.

4:30 pm : When we finally got back to the house, I was burnt red and felt physically ill. I canceled the photo shoot with my girls. Drank a lot of water, finally ate, lay down for 30 minutes.

I spent until 6:15 ironing, pressing, starching, preparing, dressing, etc, to meet my models at 7:00. Due to traffic (an Orioles game) I ended up walking back a mile to the convention center, with all my garments. I was late, and we had to rush to get changed and dressed in the convention center. We had to be there at 8 pm, show started at 8:30.

....Read more at The Happy Entry 1b!


  1. I stumbled upon this kinda at random, and I realize it's older, but I wanted to warn you in case you come back to Otakon again this year... Otakon badge lines are always insane (though, this does sound worse than average; I think I got there closer to 9AM, and it was still over an hour outside). Otakon brings in 30,000 attendees, and they literally have no space indoors that they can put those people all in at once. Lines that lap the building are common, and happen every year. I think the only time I actually got in without standing outside of over an hour was the one year I picked up my badge mid-afternoon on a Sat. I highly recommend bringing water, a small snack, a parasol and sunblock... And the 96+ humid weather, is, unfortunately, the norm. If at all possible, you want to get in an evening line, or an earlier morning line. Nood-midafternoon is not a good time to be outside around here in August. D= I'm sorry this happened to you, and if you do come back again I hope it's not so bad!

    By the way, your designs were all lovely, and from the audience, none of the stress or hustle and bustle showed. ^_^

    1. Thank you so much for all the advice and letting me know! <3 I really appreciate the help and tips. ^-^ <3 I was so mad at the airline for being delayed so late into the night, otherwise I would have gotten my badge that night and it was just so awful. I do hope to come back to Otakon, though probably not this year since I'll be at Frill! :)

      Thank you so much for the compliment! ^-^ I think the girls did a wonderful job, and I'm happy you enjoyed the show and designs! xoxo


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