Students thrift for budget-friendly costumes

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Students thrift for budget-friendly costumes

Mari Graci

Mari Graci

Mari Graci

Mary Graci

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There was one thing Gabby Johnson learned when she started costuming almost five years ago: “You can use anything.”

Johnson, mass communication freshman, found a passion in costume and cosplay in high school, and with Halloween sneaking up, she said she’s ready to start creating her next persona.

“The best thing about costume is if you have a crazy idea, just do it. People should just go for whatever crazy dream or idea they have,” Johnson said.

Students and locals all around the city are gearing up for one of the biggest costuming seasons of the year, and as Oct. 31 creeps ever closer, how to put together a DIY costume becomes a hot topic.

The city’s active and boisterous costuming culture has inspired handfuls of shops around the city to specialize in a collection of thrift items ideal for a creative costume.

Karin Curley, A’12 and social media coordinator for GinaWare, said she considers costuming to be an integral part of New Orleans culture.

“Costuming and partying in New Orleans is about fun, obviously, but it’s also about building a community and a support group.  It’s something to belong to: all the crews, groups and marching clubs.  It’s human nature to want to be a part of something like that,” Curley said.  “And places like Gina’s — where people come together and get creative — they are at the center of it all.”

GinaWare, located down Bienville St. in an old warehouse renovated after Katrina, is a studio filled to the brim with thrift items collected and owned by costume-enthusiast Gina Cristina.

“After Katrina, a lot of people had lost all of their clothing, so I started doing recycled clothing and at the same time, I was finding a lot of vintage stuff.  And I’ve been costuming for years, so I decided let’s put the three together,” Cristina said.  “My love of costuming started because you can be anything you want to be.  You can wear anything on a costume.”

Though the idea of putting together a costume from scratch may be a bit overwhelming, beginning costumers can find inspiration in the many isles of vintage clothing and thrifted items.

As Johnson discovered, DIY costuming doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive.

“It’s cheaper than you think to make your own costume, rather than buying one,” Johnson said.

Curley said that sometimes all she needs is a single piece to put together an entire costume.

“I either find one amazing piece and build around it, or I see something and it just captures my imagination and I use it as inspiration,” Curley said.

That inspiration, Cristina said, is what she aims to deliver to customers.

“I like to have the pieces and parts for people, so when they come in, they’ll see one item that just strikes your fancy.  You can just find clothing that inspires you to be someone other than yourself and throw it together and just look good and have fun,” Cristina said.  “I like to think that I’m helping people be creative.”


Mari Graci

Mari Graci

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