I started out this cosplay with extensive research about Japanese Buddhist monks and their lifestyles...including, of course, their garments. All my fabrics are natural, as per Buddhist tradition, and I used silk wherever I could afford to. Most of the rest is rayon, which is close enough to silk for the purpose of this cosplay. The green fabric that I used for the main kimono was produced specifically for making Buddhist monk kimono. All the rest of the fabric is from small fabric stores. The kesa, the togalike garment, is made of dragon-patterned silk brocade and irridescent purple and gold rayon from Britex fabrics in San Francisco. The Hakama is made of a beautiful green cotton that wrinkles like something out of a nightmare. I hate having to press this thing out every time I have to wear it. Seems like it gets wrinkled just as fast as I press them out!
The prayer beads are a special kind known as juzu. It has 108 sandalwood beads, as per tradition, and a tassel in the center. I think they are very pretty, though at conventions I've had a problem with leaving them places because I am a failure at keeping track of stuff.
I've had some trouble with this cosplay because the kimono fabric has a large weave that is not very strong. I keep having to repair the sleeve seams due to wear. At some point I will go ahead and take them apart complete and add in some fusible interfacing. With a little luck that should fix the problem permanently.
When I finished this cosplay in December 2011, I did not yet have experience to pose well in photoshoots OR choose good wigs. Soon I hope to buy a new wig for Eisen and take new photos. Arda Wigs' mohagany wig fiber should work very well for this cosplay. For now, however, here is what I have!
|Detail of the kesa: I used tassels and did some knotwork to decorate the closure. These cords ties through a loop on the opposite side of the kesa and hold it on over my shoulder.|
|Detail of the juzu as well as a reference image|