I'm Elias Dennis, a trans masc non-binary person, my pronouns are they/them/he/him, and I create costumes. I received my bachelor's degree in Theater at Southern Illinois University in spring 2015. Since then, I have built cosplay costumes, worked in bridal as a stitcher, completed a number of commissions for theater productions, and assisted small theater productions with costuming.
The inherent nature of costume and clothing in general, is to conceal. They conceal and obscure the body at least partially. They hide and they protect from the natural elements and from social elements. At the same time clothing and costume can be revealing. They inform the viewer of space, time, status, and interests - at least when they’re honest. As a trans non-binary person, I am intimately familiar with this duality of clothing and costume being physically revealing or veiling and being socially vulnerable and the decisions that go into choosing how you wish to be perceived on a daily basis. Are you wearing a costume now or was the perceived costume you wore yesterday more accurate? These decisions not only inform stories, they tell stories. From elaborately funded and fully built productions to small productions pulling costumes from an actor’s pre existing wardrobe, these decisions have impact informing the performer, the space, the message, and the audience.
My personal aesthetic is inspired by the fantastic. In the world of the fantastic, it’s easier to explore designs, themes, and topics that are harder to approach otherwise. It’s within the relative safe spaces of theater, cosplay, and the fantasy genre where I and many others are able to explore our identities. In these fantastical spaces, rules governing how we dress and present may be lifted. The realm of personal possibility becomes limitless.