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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Pros and Cons of an Individual Masquerader

You would think having the option to be an Individual masquerader, especially one with a costume of your own design that it is a dream come true for a veteran masquerader. In theory the idea of being able to parade in your ultimate dream costume, limited only by your imagination, materials and budget , is the perfect situation for someone like me; the Carnival obsessed Frontline masquerader who always wants “extras” on her costume. The worst thing for me is having to pay premium for what is labeled as an "Individual" costume and have nine other people show up wearing the exact same thing or playing in an Individual costume that looks like nothing more than a Frontline. 

Caprica Individual in Bliss Carnival 2011

Well, at this stage I wish there WAS a Frontline costume I could have easily chosen and wait until February to collect with very little stress of having to design and build my own costume from scratch because there are many pros and cons to being an Individual masquerader, the biggest con right now is having to change my costume design less than three months before Carnival!

Up until very recently my biggest headache with doing my own Individual costume (meaning that it is designed and produced by myself with assistance from a costume designer/producer as opposed to being made by the band) was sourcing feathers, beads and all the other materials needed. Since I am basically building something totally different to the rest of the costumes in the section I will be leading I need all new materials with the exception of the feathers; I am using matching colours and type to the section. This means sourcing the exact shades and length I need plus pricing them and having it shipped to Trinidad.

Now what happens when the idea you had in your head and on paper suddenly appears on another costume that has debuted before yours hits the road? Well it means back to the drawing board and start all over again and this is where we are at! Everything on my costume has to be redesigned, reworked and the stress is now on to create something that will not look like it was borrowed or copied from some other costume that already exists for Carnival 2012. Headache!

Blue Tanager Individual - TRIBE 2009


The pros for being able to do your own Individual costume:
*Freedom to design a creation to your own likeness and specifications
*The ability to change design elements if you do not like the initial costume sketch
*Shopping for materials and accessories
*Knowing that your costume is a one of a kind original, no one else will be wearing anything similar on the road come Carnival.
* Having a custom made costume built for and to complement you
*Working with designers who you have a rapport with and who understand your tastes and style who can create a spectacular piece
* Being able to add your own creativity to the costume

And the Cons
*Costume may not turn out how you visualized
*Cost of materials is more since you are not buying wholesale
*Final budget is not known until after ALL expenses are accounted for
*Full responsibility is on you to ensure that the costume is completed on time
*Working with designers who have to tie in your vision with their aesthetic
*Having to source and buy materials
*Fighting the urge to change your costume every time a new idea pops into your head
*Trusting the designer and producer of your costume to construct a costume of a certain standard and quality.

So, as of today my old costume design is basically scrapped, it is forward with something totally different with not even a HINT of similarity to any costume already out there. Setting the bar pretty high and a monumental task because at the end of the day it is still bikini, beads and feathers and trying to create something unique is much harder than having fabric and other materials to work with. I have to admit that sometimes I wish I could just easily have no worries where my costume is concerned and just be able to pre select a Frontline/Premium Frontline or even an Individual that already exists in a band but then I look at this as a chance to harness all the years of being a Carnival and costume junkie and make it work! Look for me come Carnival 2012, it’s going to be special (I hope)
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