Get to Know the Cosplayer Behind the Pizza Dress of Our Dreams

There are those who cosplay, then there are those who do not.

Of those who do partake in this sort of costume making, there are a select few whose creations continually leave us in awe by their beauty and ingenuity.

Allow us to introduce you to one of the best cosplayers around, Avant-Geek's Olivia Mears.

You've definitely seen her incredible Taco Belle and pizza prom dress masterpieces, but it's time you got to know this cosplayer on a more personal level.

Scroll below to discover which of her designs she's most proud of, where she comes up with her ideas and more!

Sweety High: How did you get involved in costume design? What do you love most about it?

Olivia Mears: I've been drawing and painting since I can remember, when I was 11 I decided to make my own Halloween costume. I went as Link from Legend of Zelda, and though most people assumed I was Peter Pan, I was ecstatic with my creation. Fast forward to college and I'm crafting costumes from paper, foam and recycled aluminum cans in an effort to save money and cut back on waste. Unconventional costumes quickly became a hobby of mine, and while I use slightly more traditional materials now, I still like to push limits on design and see what is possible.


SH: How difficult was it to learn how to design costumes?

OM: While not difficult, it definitely took time to learn. I'd sketch crazy designs that did not translate into 3D pieces, or I'd pick materials that couldn't be sewn and would need a different way of attaching. I am self-taught and am still learning new things about sewing, dyeing and embroidery. I aim to always be improving and learning. Aesthetics, I believe, have everything to do with our personalities and experiences rather than something that can be taught outside of basic color theory and the history of fashion.

SH: What inspires the costumes you create?

OM: My favorite part of costuming is when I am in the middle of making a new piece, especially when it involves sculpting or paper mâché. Seeing snapshots of progress up to the finished design is what fuels me, and I always have new ideas for a costume or dress. Food themes are incredibly fun to create, from sketch to finish. The positive reception online is just the cherry on top.


SH: Do you have a costume you're most proud of creating?

OM: Years ago I entered my first fashion show with a floor-length gown made entirely from paper and paper mâché. It had hundreds of handmade flowers from crepe paper flowing down the skirt in teal and purple layers. When I started it, I had no idea it would turn out so well. It was one of those moments that all of the time spent and hard-work paid off. Plus, it was also the first fashion show in which I was a winning designer!


SH: How long does it usually take for a costume to be fully completed?

OM: The paper dress I just mentioned took around 36 hours total. I work on pieces a few hours each evening, over the course of weeks or months. Some costumes take just a few days, but a full gown would require much longer.


SH: Where do you get your supplies needed to create your garments?

OM: Where I live is fairly secluded, so I do not have many options aside from ordering online. That is, if I cannot find the materials with help from the community. Friends and family save recyclables for my projects, such as wrapping paper, curtains, fabrics, bottle caps, bags, you name it! It is amazing to see how many people want to help.


SH: Have any celebrities or notable figures reacted to your designs?

OM: My work has been featured and shared by Ryan Seacrest, Seth Myers, The Chew and Good Morning America. I have personally starred in Taco Bell commercials—"Fanspiration" and "Meet Taco Belle"—for my work, and Taco Bell's own representatives wore my designs to MTV's 2015 VMAs.


SH: What's your advice for girls who are looking to go into costume designing?

OM: Never think that it is too early (or too late) to learn new skills or improve on something. Failure is okay, in fact, be prepared for it! Understand the difference between constructive and bad criticism. Bad criticism doesn't deserve a moment of your time, period. It's impossible to impress everyone, so focus on the words of those who do enjoy your work and want to see you succeed.


If you think Olivia's cosplay creations are out of this world, wait until you see the Disney costumes created by THIS mother-daughter duo.