I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the conventions I've been to over the last 12 years. =) My first convention was Animazement in 2000. I had just started the Anime Club at UNC-A. My aunt, who lives in the Raleigh, NC area, called me and asked if I'd heard of Animazement. I hadn't; the only conventions I had heard about were Trekkie cons, and most of what I'd heard there was hearsay. I passed the information on to the rest of Anime Club and we all signed up--all three of us. XD This was back when you really did have to walk over miles of broken glass to find even a pirated VHS tape with anime on it, let alone anything licensed. This was back when Anime Club met in a back room of the Student Center, and we watched whatever we had in our small personal collections and could borrow--this was not before DVDs but before they became mainstream, and was way before internet streaming became decently functional. We watched bits and pieces of Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, Ranma 1/2, Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Kenshin, Tenchi, Slayers, and many more titles. Most we only got to see a few episodes of--anime was hard to come by then. The internet was not as prolific then as it is now, and it was tough to afford the $25 price tag on a VHS tape with only 2 episodes on it.
Anyways, back on topic... We preregistered in the fall of 1999. I got married in February of 2000, and decided that my new husband--not a die-hard anime fan like the rest of us, but he likes movies of all kinds so he was fairly tolerant of my obsession (I supposed he'd have to be though to have married me, right?)--would be coming with us. Also, not only would he be coming with us, but he would also be cosplaying. Yes, I was planning on cosplaying at my very first convention ever. When I first looked up Animazement's website, I saw the people in costume in the photos from AZ 1999, and I was hooked. I remember brainstorming with one of my best friends all the different characters I'd love to dress up as. I was in heaven... almost. The one problem with all my cosplay plans and dreams: I did not have a sewing machine and had absolutely no clue how to sew clothes (I'd done cross stitch for years, but I don't count that). XD
So mid-February 2000, I decided my husband and I were going to cosplay something... it wasn't until 2 weeks before the convention (then in March to align with most people's spring breaks) that I decided what we'd cosplay. One of my favorite series at the time was Ranma 1/2. My favorite characters were Ukyo and Mousse. I could have pulled off Ukyo easily; I had long, straight brown hair, so it wouldn't have been too hard to put her costume together. However, I thought it would be more fun to do a couple cosplay, since we were newlyweds and all that, and Ukyo never had a counterpart really. So, we went with Mousse for my husband (who also happened to have long dark hair back then and even wore glasses too) and Shampoo for me. I tried dying my hair purple--that didn't work so well; I have since discovered that my hair doesn't dye anything except black even with the help of bleach. I also cheated on my costume. I just wore a chinese dress my Mom got for me from China town on a trip she had gone on to China town the year before (it was blue too; should have been red for Shampoo XD), and I put my hair up to match Shampoo's.
My husband's Mousse costume was a different story. We bought blue jogging pants from a store, but the rest of the costume was something else. =P Thankfully, my mother-in-law was willing to help a little. We spent the Spring Break week (the week before the con) at her house. I took a reference picture, and we went shopping for fabric and patterns. Thankfully, Mousse's costume is fairly simple; we just got a pattern for a Christmas pageant wiseman robe. We found fabric. She helped show me how to read the pattern and a basic intro to how to use the sewing machine. I was still handsewing the details on the front of the robe Friday night after the first day at the convention. XD That last-minute costume work pattern hasn't really changed in all the years since then. Still, I was happy with the result. =) Here's a pic of that first cosplay--not very good quality and I've never been very good at posing for pictures (you'll notice how very few there are around here... in fact I think this is the first).