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Anime is her game


SHERIA BRATHWAITE

Anime is her game

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FASHION DESIGNER Shannon Williams is proving her craft has no limits: “I did not want to learn how to stitch to make uniforms,” she told EASY magazine. “I wanted to design and construct unconventional pieces.”

Shannon rushed home from Charles F. Broome Memorial School every evening to watch her favourite television series Sailor Moon. Though it was not the norm among her peers to be fascinated with Japanese animation, she became an ultimate anime fan, and her love for reading subtitles and mangas influenced her career choice.

“I always wanted to be a part of the anime world even though children who liked anime were considered nerds and treated like outcasts. But as I got older and Animekon came along, it became a haven for people like me to be ourselves.

“The first time I heard about Animekon I didn’t know you had to wear a costume. I wanted to go as Two Face from Batman and started to make the costume but that didn’t work out. So I got someone to make it for me.

“But going to a seamstress who doesn’t know about animation and asking for a half black and white suit was not worthwhile. The look she gave me was so funny and confusing that I declared from then I had to learn how to make clothes myself.”

Shannon was excited about learning how to construct pieces at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP). She wanted to learn how to use different types of fabric, embroidery and appliqués.

However, her excitement was soon shattered.

Her childhood nightmare of being misunderstood was being replicated by the person whom she least expected it from – her instructor.

Being a “nerd” had made Shannon an introvert and she often kept to herself. She finally thought this was her chance to be expressive and bold in her ideas but each time she tried to showcase her creativity she got knocked down.

“Everyone there was learning how to make clothes for parties and I wanted to learn to make costumes. I knew they were people out there who liked cosplaying just like me and it was difficult for them to get costumes. I wanted to be the go-to person for costumes so people would not get raised eyebrows like I did.

“So when I went to SJPP people called me weirdo all over again. People acted like what I was doing was some sort of taboo and my teacher actually told me she hoped I found Christ. I found it shocking that she was teaching me something and just because I wanted to push it further she shot me down.

“But it was not like when I was younger and people shunned me and I wanted to fit in. As an adult it doesn’t faze me any more if people do not want to be around me.”

Shannon said cosplay was perfect for the local film industry, noting it gave videographers the opportunity to stretch their imagination and production ideas. She said it would be easier for local ilm-makers to create science fiction movies, as creature concepts were becoming more feasible.

“More and more people are getting into the film industry and there is a need for costume designers for sets. Film-makers need to have assurance that if they need a fairy someone can create this magical creature’s outfit with its characteristics in mind.”

Cosplaying is also an avenue for self-expression and boosting self-esteem. Shannon said it was a way for females of all shapes and sizes to embody a character and display a side of them they would otherwise hide from the public. She added it was a form of empowerment and helps you to realise confidence you thought you may not have had.

The 28-year-old is the proud owner of Shasam Cosplay and this year at Animekon her work was on display for all to see during a cosplay fashion show. (SB)

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