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Meet Nina Martin and K Thorsen


Today we’d like to introduce you to Nina Martin and K Thorsen.

Nina and K, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Nina—I’ve always been interested in costumes, but I didn’t get into cosplay until I was in my twenties. My friends and I had talked about attending WonderCon 2014, and K suggested that we make Avengers costumes.

Between that endeavor and a Supernatural photoshoot that we did for K’s birthday around the same time, I quickly realized that this was an activity I really enjoyed. I dabbled in it for about a year before creating a cosplay-centric Instagram account, which connected me with an amazing community. Over the last three or so years, I feel as though I have grown as an artist and seamstress. Honestly, my life wouldn’t be the same without cosplay.

K—I took a sewing class in high school. I was absolutely rubbish at it, and after participating in the mandatory fashion show at the end of the year, I abandoned sewing machines. Aside from sewing on buttons, I didn’t sew or craft again until I was in my twenties. For my first cosplay in 2014, I only crafted a few items and purchased the rest, but in the past five years, I have challenged myself to improve my skills and I’m happy to say that I have been reconciled with sewing machines. We’re now best friends.

Has it been a smooth road?
Nina—As with any art form, there’s a certain amount of pressure on you as a creator…especially in the age of social media. Even if you don’t mean to, you subconsciously compare yourself to other people who are creating similar things. That was challenging for me at first because I felt like I wasn’t good enough or thin enough or experienced enough. But everything takes practice, and if you can’t make a suit of armor or a ballgown right off the bat, that’s okay! I was my own worst enemy. I sometimes still am.

K—Time. Money. Cosplay and costuming have always been a hobby for me, so it’s always been difficult to balance the demands of work/school/family/social life with such a time-consuming pastime….and it’s quite expensive. Any other cosplayer will probably say the same. I’d also say that there’s a steep learning curve because there’s not a Cosplay 101 course to teach you the ins & outs of costume creation, and even of the cosplay community in general. It’s a tight-knit culture that can be kind of difficult to break into when you first start out, especially on social media.

Please tell us more about your work. What do you guys do? What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from competition?
We branded ourselves as The Collected Cosplayers because of The Collective, a pop-culture blog that we run. We highlight nerdy stuff, including cosplay, and often attend press functions in full getup. It’s a great conversation starter! We also recently started an Etsy shop, and are hoping to expand into cosplay commissions in the future.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Nina—I hate driving in LA, but I love the arts and culture scene. And the food. The food is always good.

K—Is it cliche to say the weather? I feel like every time that I attend a convention in LA, the weather is perfect.

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