There’s serious about something and then there’s SERIOUS. When I encountered the Costume College run by Costumer’s Guild West, it was time to go all caps. This is a costuming event that earns it’s capital letters for SERIOUS, and one that I profiled. Fortunately the Dean, Natalie, was kind enough to let me interview her.
Frankly, the convention is a case study in taking an interest and treating it in a very serious, organized manner.
Now the Costuming College isn’t focused on professional costumers. That’s not their goal. Their goal is to focus on costuming period, professional aspect about making money at it are at best a tertiary concern. I think that actually makes it more of an interest to professionals as the laser-like focus means serious skill development.
Because this is about education.
If you’re new to the convention, there’s a “Freshman orientation” to help newcomers. I think this is a fantastic idea, and a lot of “profan” and “pro geek” events could learn from this concept – we need on boarding, especially in skill-intense conventions. It also is part of making the event inclusive.
Once you’re attending the classes at the event, you’re going to find ones that are extremely detailed and specialized, such as specific designs, history, and more. This shows an incredibly well-researched event, and builds on the focus of teaching people things directly. It’s a good example that “generalizing” doesn’t always work – people may want and need specifics.
The various classes also show that there’s really no shame in overspecializing – someone will be interested. Some people may just be curious. Either way, they know what they’re getting.
To help facilitate learning, there are cooperative “Meet Ups” where people learn together. This is an idea you can see here and there, but one that is well worth encouraging. People getting spoken too or off on their own project don’t always learn as well as a cooperative effort.
Finally, there may even be an exhibit or two, which makes sense in a Costuming context – because you want to SEE stuff. This could be built on by many conventions and events, beyond things of historical interest – let’s see things that are examples, built on, recent, educational.
The Costuming College is something a lot of us doing events can learn from, in supporting the interests of our fellow fans, geeks, and creatives. I know, and I say this sincerely that I plan to pass some of these ideas on to cons I’m working with . . .
Steal from the best!
Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach. He blogs on careers at http://www.fantopro.com/, nerd and geek culture at http://www.nerdcaliber.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at https://www.stevensavage.com/.