A beautiful and elaborate Queen Elizabeth gown sat amidst the piles of fabrics, needles and sewing machines. The room wasn’t dusty but had a very cluttered feel and yet nothing felt out of place. The buzz of sewing machines filled the room as fashion students worked on individual garments. The Queen Elizabeth costume was created by fashion design and historical costume making major Lauren Ward and recently won first place and “Best in Show” at the 2014 L.A. County Fair.
Ward created the costume for her Spring 2014 Historical Costume Making class and constructed the dress mostly by hand. The piece is “complete with under garments, a corset with a hand-carved busk, starched and tea stained linen and lace ruff, and basket weave sleeves,” said Professor Sunny R. Cannon in an e-mail.
Ward’s passion is in creating cosplay costumes, mostly in World of Warcraft fashion and for Blizzcon, a gaming convention for the video game studio Blizzard Entertainment.
She loves the swords and big and elaborate pieces that go with those kind of costumes.
“World of Warcraft cosplay,” Ward said. “That’s what I do. The whole Blizzcon. That’s what I do. That’s what got me started. That’s what I love. Cause that’s when you get to play with everything that you don’t get to do otherwise. That’s when you get the big armor, shields, swords; all that fun stuff.”
With a background that includes a bachelor’s in history from UC Santa Cruz and a love of working with thermo-plastics, it’s easy to connect the dots between Queen Elizabeth and Blood Elves and Warlocks. If Ward was going to pursue costume making as a career, she’d have to learn to sew.
“I actually really like working with thermo-plastics.” Ward said. “I like making suits of armor. I make the big video game sets of armor. The big shoulders, crazy, all that stuff, I make that. So that’s what I love doing. So this was sort of a natural progression if I wanted to do it for a career: I’d have to sew. And I love making things, so it was just, ‘You have to go do this Lauren’. I have to sew.”
Ward wasn’t always certain about her future in costume making. Eventually deciding on getting her bachelor’s in history, and seeing how helpful that would be in costume making, she found herself realizing that she needed to pick up sewing. That’s when she decided to come to PCC.
“I started out unsure, but I pursued something that was my passion and I love history and I think that it’s kind of fueled my love for costumes because I love period costumes and I love making them,” said Ward. “It was kind of like ‘Oh, I know what was going on during that time period and how it affected and shaped all these garments.’ It’s fun! It’s really helpful.”
She still isn’t 100 percent sure what she’d like to do in the costume field. Film is intriguing but there’s so much about everything involved that she’s interested in and learning about.
“I want to do costumes,” Ward said. “I think ideally I’d like to do film but I’m still on the beginning path, so I’ll see where I wind up. I’ve done a little bit of theater. Theater’s interesting. I think it would be fun to try film. I want to find my niche.”
Currently, Ward is finishing up classes at PCC as well as tutoring the night beginning classes and sees herself working in costumes for the film industry after leaving PCC. She is currently applying for internships for the fall but really doesn’t know for certain yet where her exact path or niche is.
“I would like to work for a costume production company for a couple of years,” Ward said. “I don’t know if I want to design. Right now I feel like I want to create. So, I’d like to hopefully work under someone that has a decent sized costume house. And I want to learn all the tricks of the trade. I want to learn everything, which is terrible because there’s specific people for every division, but I feel like I just want to learn everything.”