Every year, we have amazing costumers come through our halls, performing on stage, and wowing the audience and the judges with their creations. They convention wouldn’t be the same without the Masquerade, and it’s not possible to run an event of this calibre without many talented people, both behind the scenes and highly visible. Some of those highly visible people are the judges: costumers and cosplayers themselves from the Toronto area, with special Cosplay Guests of Honour added to the mix. Many of these people you may pass in the halls and not recognize them.
In 2011, the Anime North Masquerade was granted International Costumer’s Guild status, meaning our Masquerade would be considered on par with the Masquerades at Costume Con or World Con. We have talent in the Canadian Cosplay community, and it should be showcased. To help promote our home-grown costuming talent, the Cosplay Department at Anime North would like to start by showcasing our Masquerade judges. They come from a variety of costuming backgrounds to create one heck of a team.
Barb Schofield started out making costumes for skating carnivals and parades. In 1978 she discovered SF and Star Trek con masquerades and enthusiastically dived in. Barb has made costumes That range from Historical to SF/Fantasy, including wearable art, doll costumes and mascot style costumes.
Over the years Barb has won numerous awards both locally and internationally. In 2006 she was awarded the International Costumers' Guild Lifetime Achievement Award. Barb also helped Derwin Mak start the Anime North masquerades.
Barb is currently involved in detailed research of 19th century fashion with a has plans for future publication.
Better known as Kaijugal, Dawn has been cosplaying since 1985 and competing since 1988. Like her cosplay name hints – Kaiju comes from the Japanese word for a strange beast or monster – she specializes in monster and mascot costumes, her favourite being her now-retired Godzilla costume. Although she still competes, for the last decade or so Dawn has been running masquerades in the Toronto area and hosting costume-related panels and workshops, while currently being the President of the Fibre Fantasy Artists of Canada, (the Canadian Chapter of the International Costumer’s Guild (ICG). Dawn has judged Phoenix Comicon, Anime Next, Fan Expo, Costume Con, World Con, and of course, Anime North, among others. In her ‘real life’, she also acts as a cast member at Castle Blood, and is chairing Costume-Con 32 (2014) to be held here in Toronto.
Julie started cosplaying in 2002, when she and her frequent partner-in-crime Ruth (also one of our judges this year) performed the dance scene from "Robin Hood: Men In Tights" in a masquerade. Not only did that skit demonstrate just how little regard Julie holds for pants, it received the only encore a local convention has ever had in more than 20 years of masquerade history. Given a start like that, how could she resist coming back for more? Julie's costume inspiration has run the range from anime to movies to video games and even, lately, some ventures into original design. While she considers fabric her medium of choice, her true speciality lies in stage presentations, as evidenced by Best in Show awards not only at Anime North (2004) but also numerous times at other local cons (Ad Astra, Polaris, and Con-G). While she still occasionally competes at Anime North, Julie has been one of our judges for several years now. She considers it both an honour and a pleasure to be able to see some of AN's amazing costumes up close, and speak with their creators.
A Toronto native, Mark's been in and out of the cosplay scene for over a decade. His primary interest has been in comedic skits, ranging from short sketches to longer-form ensemble performances. Winning his first award in 2002 as a member of Boxed Rice Productions, he would later go on to co-found the Ontario Anime Society in 2007, winning a Judge's Choice and Best in Show double award for the skit "Time Warp 2.0" and becoming a Master-level performer.
He spends much of his time running ConBravo! or working as a graphic designer and illustrator in the GTA.
Martin, known online as Wookiemart, combines over 20 years of professional set construction and his love of crafting and sewing to produce complex props and costume pieces. His costuming repertoire includes The Phantom of the Opera, Wolverine, Hellboy, and a Dalek.
No stranger to the masquerade as a participant winning awards for workmanship and two best in shows, and as staff with roles such as a stage ninja, helping in the greenroom, and judging. Martin's most memorable moment was when he had a great audience response during his stage presentation of the Dalek as he 'danced' inside it.
Sabrina is an art teacher who has been costuming since 1999 and attending or working at Anime North since 1998.
Anime North is her first and favorite convention and she has been honored to judge both workmanship and presentation here several times in the past. She enjoys the opportunity to meet fellow costumers and talk about sewing and crafting, especially props.
She blames anime for getting her into costuming, blames Anime North for giving her a place to wear those costumes and also for introducing her to so many wonderful for allow costumers.
Her all time favorite costume is Lulu from FF X which she loved to wear until it met an unfortunate end in transport to Costume Con.
She is continually amazed and impressed by the dedication, hard work and spirit shown by those who share her love of the costuming art. She is no less amazed (and slightly jealous) of all the "cool stuff*" that is available the newer generation that she never got to play with when she was their age.
She would like to share the following piece of advice: "Measure twice, cut once but buy twice the fabric you think you'll need anyway".
*LEDs, wonder flex, worbla, cheap poly dyes, the quality and selection of fabrics and wigs and the fact that everything can be ordered on the internet now instead of being at the mercy of what you could get on Spadina.