Introducing Ichigo Black
Hi everyone! Today we’re celebrating the launch of two spectacular patterns from Ichigo Black. We love how versatile these patterns are; each package has several pieces that you can use together or mix and match to customize your look. Belle Noir includes a wrap top, layered skirt, overskirt, detached sleeves, and fascinator. Belle Rogue has a corset top, tulle skirt with drape, detachable ruffled train, hair accessory, and ruffled cuffs.
Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, designer Ichigo Black offers bold, innovative, and daring looks for the bride with a dark side. With designs that all tell a strong story, Ichigo invites you to join her on a unique adventure built for each individual. Don’t settle for what’s accepted, but have fun rewriting the rules to fit your style!
To help you get to know this designer, we asked her a few questions about her background, inspiration, and favorite creations.
When did you first get interested in cosplay? What was the first cosplay you made?
I started sewing Japanese street fashion my first year in college. I was instantly drawn to it because I had never seen anything like it here in the states. I finally visited Japan, where I was first introduced to cosplay, in 2008. The following year I attended my first anime/comic convention in New York: NYAF/NYCC.
The very first cosplay I made was the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. It was a special request from a customer who wanted a cosplay that was different from what was already out there. Avant garde with hints of the macabre.
What was your favorite cosplay?
I’d say the Alice group are my favorite if I had to choose. I work best when I know a little bit about the person wearing the cosplay, and those designs fit the models to the letter. Anyone that saw our Alice in Wonderland first night fashion show at the Hynes Convention Center knows just how well each of those girls fit the characters they were portraying. It was a magical night!
How did you learn to sew?
My mom taught me how to sew during my senior year in high school. Looking back, I can see what a clueless student I was. “Why do you have to place the pattern like that, why not like this?” Or “why can’t you just extend the cut here instead to make it bigger?” The first few weeks of sewing, most of what I made looked awful! I still remember the first thing I made that fit perfectly: I ran to my mom and said “It actually looks like a real skirt!” She just laughed and said “that’s because it is.” I broke 3 needles and must have poked myself a million times with stray pins, but I managed to make something that I could be proud of and I don’t think there was any stopping me after that. When I transferred into the fashion design program at Massachusetts College of Art after two years studying psychology, I was definitely more prepared than I would have been had I not had my mom to teach me the fundamentals of sewing. They surprisingly didn’t offer any basic sewing courses.
What was your favorite commission?
My favorite commission was a zombie bride wedding dress. She wanted to keep the creepy and tattered feel of the character, but wanted something a bit more unique and elaborate. Any self respecting alternative designer would jump at the opportunity to design something with a Tim Burton feel. That man is a genius!
What inspires you?
Fabric stores! Walking into a fabric store filled with endless possibilities is all I need; I walk away with millions of ideas about what to create next. Nothing beats feeling the fabrics and matching them up before you can get too settled on an idea that would never happen because the fabric doesn’t exist. My bachelorette girls’ night in turned into a ‘let’s go to a fabric store instead’ kind of deal, and later all the ladies at the store we went to enjoyed seeing fabrics they helped us with in the photos of the wedding.
Tell us about your creative process!
Personal process: Fabric store > sketch > pattern work > sew
Custom requests: sketch > pattern work > fabric store > sew > huge sigh of relief when customer is happy with the end result
What was the most labor-intensive project you have made?
My evil queen gown. We nicknamed it the Behemoth. Creating the caged look in the back was a lot more difficult than I anticipated, but totally worth the extra effort!
What else have you worked on?
One of my favorite projects was designing a post-apocalyptic line for Boston Fashion Week. I got to write my own original story and create the costumes for each character. It was the biggest multi-piece project I’ve ever taken on, but definitely the most rewarding.
Why do you think cosplay is so popular?
To me, the cosplay scene is so unlike anything else there is out there. You can be whoever you want to be no matter who you actually are, meet a ton of strangers who welcome you with open arms, and random people ask to take your picture. For the most part, everyone is super friendly, helpful, and accepting. What’s not to love?
Fun fact: cats make the best sewing buddies, even if their shenanigans sometimes make things take twice as long!