We're back from Otakon 2009! Yeah, we only went one day - we don't have a booth this year, so we were just looking around. We'll have a booth at NYAF in September, and we'll probably have a booth at Otakon next year. It's a long trek from New York, but not impossible. And for those of you who live in Baltimore, we were surprised by how beautiful the city is!
To be honest, we're obviously not a cosplay or a replica store, so conventions like Otakon are kind of a mixed bag for us. We sell real Japanese street fashion, which is why you don't see a million different brands on our site yet. We're going after the real stuff, and only the real stuff. It's not that easy, especially for a new store, which is why so many cosplay and replica stores exist here and so few stores selling the real thing.
We saw a lot of great costumes today and also some bad costumes - but that's not really why we were there. We also saw a lot of people wearing Harajuku street styles, including punk, gothic and Lolita. Some of it was really cute and we wanted to give those people a thumbs up whenever we saw them. But some of it was so bad that we wanted to grab those people, shake them and scream "you're doing it wrong!"
We're hoping that the more "brand" clothing we carry, the more you'll see the difference between the real thing and the cheap replicas, knockoffs and costume-level clothing. It's both quality (fabric, stitching, fit) and design. When you put it all together, there really is a difference in the look and feel of the outfit. Do you remember when you were a kid and you used to wear costumes on Halloween that your parents bought for you at the drug store, and they were always made out of this plastic-like material that looked really cheap and fell apart after you wore it once? Yeah, that's something you don't want from your actual clothes.
We also took a look at some of the booths in the dealer area to get some ideas for our own NYAF booth, and we think we've got a sense now of what we can and can't do there, and maybe more importantly what we should and shouldn't do. Not every booth at Otakon was full of great ideas, and some of the worst belonged to some of the biggest companies. (Not naming names!) But, NYAF's definitely going to be exciting! And we've got some announcements related to that that will have to wait a little while. But I think you guys are going to be pretty happy, including fans of all genres that we carry.