Modeling your KaraWearable Costume - by Abylene Chalmers


Modeling your KaraWearable Costume
by Abylene Chalmers

Whether you are modeling your own creation or have been asked to model someone else's, you might have a mix of emotions about the up-and-coming Karawearable catwalk show, which is being held on the 1st June right here in little ol’ Karamea. You may be feeling excitement, joy and elation one minute, before having thoughts of “what have I signed up for?” the next, which quickly get replaced by pure fear. Rest easy, because this is all totally normal, and I have put together some words of reassurance and helpful tips so that on the big night you can sashay down the catwalk with ease and shine like the star you truly are. 

Modeling tips...

Modeling a wearable art costume is not just about walking down a catwalk, turning and walking back up again. You are modeling an art piece, and you have just one minute to affirm what it represents and showcase to the judges and audience the full potential of what it can do and how it can be worn. You may want to develop a character in your mind to help with this and interact with the audience as that character through movement and facial expressions. Or you might want to channel a monotonous catwalk model, in which case you will still be taking on a character, even if it is an expressionless one! The audience are there to be entertained - and you are their entertainment - so give them a show! Here are some things to think about...

  • What was the inspiration for the costume, and what does it represent? Try to portray what defines the piece through the way you move with it on. If it wasn’t made by you, ask the creator about this.
  • How do you feel when wearing it? Do you feel like you walked straight out of a Mad Max movie, or do you feel wise and wizardly? Perhaps you feel otherworldly, or a bit flirtatious and naughty... With these factors in mind, how might you move and change your facial expressions?
  • What is the costume made from and how it will flow/move once you are wearing it? Is it feminine and silky with trails of long wispy silk, or is it made from cardboard boxes and rigid? Play with how the materials might influence your movements and experiment with how you can utilise them to create a spectacle.  
  • How will you navigate any parts of the costume that may restrict your range of motion, and how could you use this to your advantage by moving differently to show off the rest of it? 
  • Is there a specific part of the costume that needs presenting to the audience and judges, such as a secret or surprise element? If so, think about how you could play around with your timing, movements, actions and even facial expressions to add drama and flair to the full reveal.
  • If you are modeling more than one costume, you will need to practice getting in and out of each piece as quickly as you can - after the dress rehearsal you will know which order the pieces are to be presented in...
  • When you get to the judges table, WORK IT (even more than you already will be)! Show off the costume in all its glory and point out any bells and whistles through your movements. If there is an amazing thing that your costume does, make sure you direct the revealing of this to the judges. You will know where they are before you get on stage - this will all be discussed at the dress rehearsal - so you won’t need to search the room for them.
  • If it is appropriate for your costume and you feel confident, interact with the audience. This could be a cheeky wink, a high five with a child, or a prim curtsy directed at a front row patron. Use the costume to depict what you might do.
  • Finally, the most important thing is to have fun, be playful and enjoy yourself ;)


A word on nerves... 

Feeling nervous is usually the biggest barrior to overcome when preparing to get up on stage, but it is a completely normal part of the process that you can learn to trust. Nerves are created when adrenaline is released into the body, and even though it may not feel like it, this is pretty helpful, because it is this shot of adrenaline that gives us focus, keeps us agile and alert, and assists with the all-important muscle memory, which is always helpful if there are any specific movements or timings you need to remember. This all means that when performance time arises, your body kind of just takes over, leaving your mind to enjoy the unique experience you are about to undertake. However, tips are always helpful, so two things I find useful when on stage are to..

  • Develop a character in your mind, so instead of feeling like your normal self, you can imagine you are a completely different person. This is a well-known technique that many performers undertake to find that confidence to get out there. Get into character BEFORE you head onto the catwalk.
  • If you find the audience off-putting, use a point ahead (such as the back wall) to direct your gaze, and look past them, rather than at them. If you want to interact with the audience but are nervous about that, find a safe space to direct your interaction to – maybe someone you know, or a group of young children who are guaranteed to encourage and egg you along!

As well as being incredibly gratifying to be a part of a unique event like the Karawearable show, even just a few minutes on stage can help to give you confidence and poise in your everyday life for some time to come.  And trust me when I say no one regrets giving things like this a go, but most regret it when they don’t. For a lot of us being on stage doesn’t happen often so make the most of it and strut your stuff - after all, how often do you get to wear a piece of art and parade it in front of cheering admirers down a catwalk?