Before I started working for Mission Start, I signed up for a Dead or Alive cosplay group happening at Anime Los Angeles 2013. Being that I had no sewing skill of my own and my own favorite commissioner at Eccentric Tortoise was busy through January of 2013, I asked a couple of people for a referral, they referred me to EZ Cosplay. I decided to try them out...
I gave them the below pictures to work with.
They said they could do the vest, the pants, gloves, shirt, belts, and even the do-rag. Well, it’s a pretty simple design. What could go wrong?
Ha! Ask a silly question…
First, I mentioned a video to get a better 360-degree view. I forgot to add the link, but no one followed up to mention that they needed it. That should have been a red flag to me. As you can see, at the 4:25 mark of the video, there’s a great view of the graphic on the back of the vest. This was the final piece of the puzzle I needed to get a great costume.
The EZ Cosplay e-mail person was initially very responsive in late September. Over a couple of days, we discussed materials, references, and a general price point. Suddenly, there was a drop-off in communication. After a week with no response, I sent another message asking if I was accidently overlooked. The response was that they were very busy with Halloween and they wanted me to resubmit my request after the end of October. Well… that wasn’t an unreasonable request. I contacted them again at the beginning of November, and they picked up quickly. We agreed to a price point, I sent the money, and they gave me a custom link to confirm my order and a due date of December 20, 2012. A day after I sent payment, I received another e-mail stating they under-quoted me by $30.00. Not the best start, but it was still a decent price, so I made arrangements to send it at the first opportunity.
Well, on December 10, 2012, a package arrived at my workplace addressed to my office. Our receptionist opened it. She found a couple of odds and ends no one claimed knowledge of requesting. Then, when she pulled out one of the gloves and a headpiece, I recognized it and claimed it. Now, when I open a costume commission, it’s a lot like a Christmas present. There’s always initial joy either replaced by happiness or disappointment. In this case, there was just… confusion.
Let me break this down:
This is what EZ Cosplay offered to do. I didn't ask them about the parts. They said of their own volition they could do this:
Sizing: I ordered an “XL” size, which was my mistake. The problem is, though, I’m no XXL, but this package came from China, and their definition of “XL” is different than the one in the United States. That falls on me, but suffice it to say, things barely fit… if at all.
Pants: This was without a doubt the best part of the order. While the sizing is not in a usable range, the colors were right with the black pants and grey stripe down the legs. The problem was pointed out by my wife in that they used the absolute cheapest material possible. It is so cheap, it goes beyond getting a reasonable profit from the product to the point of laughable materials. And, these pants of this hard fighting American are… pleated?
Gloves: Simple fingerless gloves turned into a mess. I can BARELY fit my hand into them, but that leaves the entry stretched out and my thumbs can’t move. It was pointed out that the fingers are irregular lengths, too. Terrible.
Shirt: The shape of the shirt is livable, and it’s the right color of material, but the stitching at the collar isn’t consistent, with the collar’s lip at varying lengths beyond the stitching. Add into that an attorney I work with pointed out there is an odd stain on the back of a white shirt that I haven’t worn yet. That’s fun.
Belts: Please look at that picture. That is a pretty tough studded belt to do, especially with the eagle’s head at the buckle. There’s room for compromise, obviously. I’m not unreasonable. What I received was a pretty cheap item by comparison. It’s a piece of vinyl studded with small buttons, but the most intriguing part is the buckle/head.
What is this? My daughter thinks it’s a fish. It looks like a grade school art project of the X-Men's Legion character stitched on. I’ve seen more impressive belts at Wal-Mart.
And, they added this green belt. It is part of the costume, but the bag on the back was ignored and it is something that can be replicated with more quality from a $10 canvas belt.
Scarf(?): What the hell is this? Since when is Bass Armstrong hanging out with “The Model” Rick Martel and Alberto Del Rio? I don’t see what this is about and it’s not in any picture I gave them.
Vest: This… is just plain insulting. The vest I received from Eccentric Tortoise for my last Bass costume was made from vinyl, lined, made of multiple parts, had a zipper, buttons, and the details were paid attention to. What I received from EZ Cosplay had NONE of that save a strip of vinyl… for the cheap red stripes. If you’ve seen the video or looked at the details in the picture, you can see that several things are missing.
There is no leather-like substance save the stripe. The grey stripe is missing entirely. The quilted pattern on the shoulders isn’t present. The graphic on the back isn’t there.
To their credit, they added the button holes for the lacing on the sides, but they decided that the right way to go was to lace it with some kind of ribbon I wouldn’t use to adorn the Christmas gifts I wrap.
There was a vest I commissioned for a costume from Dead or Alive 2 from almost ten years ago that is just a vest with an iron cross on the back I would wear before this mess.
Do-Rag: This is the best part, and by that, I mean if you can tell me how any business person thought this was acceptable, I owe you a box of Pocky. Check this out. First, there’s no blue. That’s right. An American flag do-rag is red, white, and BLACK.
Next, the red striping on the sides is so haphazardly sewn on, the stripes are nowhere near straight. Also, you must have noticed, it’s not a do-rag at all! It’s a shower cap! Not only that, for an XL costume, it’s a shower cap sized for a diminutive woman! And finally, you’re not blind. The stars on the “Stars and Stripes” have been replaced by… flowers. I spent a while at my desk staring at this and eventually, I just laughed.
OVERALL: So, to sum it up, Bass Armstrong, the bruiser of the Dead or Alive series of games, a redneck biker of a base stereotype of American culture, dresses like a cross between a cheap dancer and a housewife.
I can’t recommend EZ Cosplay to anyone. You could try to commission a custom costume and send it to your worst enemy, but they’re likely to be too smart to even try it on. In all fairness, it could be that it was the “custom” part of my order that threw off their fabricators. I’ve heard people that ordered from standard parts of their catalog received what they asked for, but I can’t see giving any more money to them if such a simple costume gives their seamstresses fits and this is their idea of acceptable.
I e-mailed EZ Cosplay and demanded a full refund. Their contact person responded by saying that their designers aren't very good and that no one's satisfaction is at all guaranteed. That's a great way to do business, right? I said to them I would write a review, and they accused me of being unfair and wanting both the money and the costume. I told them it was unfair to think this work was acceptable.
To date, I still have not received all of my refund, and I returned the costume in December.
Avoid EZ Cosplay like the plague.