If you saw this post, I am sure it brought up a lot of questions about how I can possibly reuse a costume and have a whole new act.
It’s actually one of my favorite ways to save time and money when I am feeling the urge to create, but am strapped for funds.
Here’s a whole list of ways to save money when inspiration strikes, and you might not even have to leave your house!
Avoid Theme Shows
I don’t have anything against theme shows, several of my current “favorites” were created for theme shows. But unless you have a whole closet full of all the trappings of a proper costume wardrobe with monkey suits included, it’s not a great place to start.
Most of my theme acts are just that, theme acts, and I won’t be able to repurpose those costumes for any other act. I mean, Seaside and Funny Face are so specifically created, how could I possibly improve or create new acts from them?!?
Buy extra stones when making other costumes
Very recently, one of my friends asked me if I just have a whole stockpile of stones lying around. And the truth is, I do. I had over purchased stones mostly accidentally, and ended up having a nice little stash that I was able to turn to when I got the crazy impulse to create a new act. I’m sure that has never happened to you.
Since I began purchasing my Swarovski in 10 packs, I have been able to create more frequently, and without dropping additional money for shipping or the inflated non-bulk prices for stones. To me it’s a win-win. It may hurt a little at first to spend $100 on a ten pack but when it comes down to less than $10 a gross, why wouldn’t you save that money if you would have to order that color again anyway?
Create acts that coordinate
Which brings me to my next tip. Coordinating my costumes has saved me tons of money! I have strategically built a collection of costumes that can work with each other if I get a request for something different just for a specific event. The time I pulled out my coral ostrich boa from Shimmy and paired it with my deep purple Hands costume everyone was like, “WTF?!? I never would have thought of that!”
I was getting bored of my acts, again I’m sure that never happens to you, and wanted to create a new act, but money was tight. So I went through my seasonal collection and found my gorgeous deep purple panel skirt and bra and figured it was time to put that costume to good use. My vision included a huge fluffy ostrich boa, but again, no money. So I held up my coral one against the fabric. The colors from the volcano stones I had selected for that costume worked together perfectly!
And it was a lesson to me to dig deeper when creating new acts that may work with my other costumes for even more options!!
Again, when you have costumes that coordinate with each other, the possibilities become endless for “new acts!” My favorite recent example of repurposing is my Red costume.
I spent over 30 hours constructing my red corset specifically for my next Halloween act, and was annoyed that that was the only reason I had created it. So I came up with a new reason to use it. Three more reasons, actually. I just debuted Red 4.0 last week, and I am in love with it. Same costume, no extra money spent. And I have a brand new act!
My favorite part is that I received the best feedback from Larry Wenger, our pianist for our weekly Thursday show, who was impressed with the “new act,” even though he has seen me do 3 other acts with that exact same costume. I mean it is the exact same costume. Just a different song. Amazing what different music can do!
Maintenance and Quality Construction
The thing about repurposing costumes is that there is more chance for damage to occur to your costumes. I made that red corset in the beginning of 2016. It stayed nicely rolled up from February til September when I pulled it out to begin rehearsals to refresh my Vampire act. And then stored it for another six months, used and then six months in storage again. I have recently began using it weekly for the past three months. So it’s starting to show a bit of wear and tear. I’ve already replaced the laces once, and they are begging to be replaced again, but overall it is in immaculate condition.
I can’t say the same for the super cheap corset I purchased from eBay for my creepy doll act in 2014. The outer fabric is fraying and really showing it’s age. And I have performed that act maybe 15 times in the past 4 years. Not a lot when you spend that much time and energy and money on an act.
I could literally do a whole post about constructing for sustainability and longevity. (I actually already have it planned. Lol) But this is just a tip to tell you to really take care of those costumes. And if you build them correctly the first time, you will be spending less time and money on maintenance. To me that’s worth it. Because I absolutely loathe the maintenance part of act creation. But it is necessary to keep those costumes in great condition so they don’t fail you onstage!
How do you save money when creating acts? What are your go to strategies? Share in the comments below!
Athena, aka Gazella