About

ABOUT TUWANDA

Tuwanda Chandler is a Costume & Fashion Designer, Cosplay Costume Recreator and Seamstress located in Los Angeles, California. She has over 25 years of experience as a Seamstress, 17 years as a Costume Designer and 10 years as a Cosplay Recreator. Her design work and seamstress skills can also be seen in webisodes, television pilots, on display in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Orlando and at SeaWorld Orlando. Her career goals are to costume design for film, television and music artist.

 

 How She Got Started

Tuwanda L. Chandler first learned how to sew by watching her grandmother make handmade quilts when she visited her in the summer time.  At around age 9 her mother purchased her fashion plates. She instantly fell in love! Right about that same time she became bored with the clothes she had for her Barbie Dolls. So she started altering their clothes to make different out fits along with cutting up old socks and gloves. At age 10 her best friend brought her the scrap fabric left over from the crafts her mom made. That’s when her love for creating things from scratch began. She ended up using her mom’s sewing kit more than she did! With the scraps of materials from her friend and old clothes that belonged to her and her family she would create all sorts of clothing for her Barbie’s. She learned how to make shirts, dresses and pants for her them by studying how her own clothes were made.
At age 14 she learned how to sew on a sewing machine in Home Economics. Needless to say she fell in love with creating things on a sewing machine. At age 15 she bought her first sewing machine from the money she earned while working a summer job. It was a Montgomery Ward floor model. While in high school she took as many Home Economics and Clothing construction classes she could so that she can further her knowledge.  The first garment she made was for a Spanish State Convention and she came in 3rd in the best homemade costume category. To further her skills she chose She chose Alabama A&M University to get her Bachelors of Science degree in Fashion Design. She is currently living in Los Angeles, California in pursuit of her dream of being a Costume Designer for music artist, film, and television.

Cosplayer/ Cosplay Costume Recreator

She was introduced to the world of cosplay in 2007 by a friend that knew someone that was looking for a seamstress to recreate the leather briefs and capes from the movie 300. A whole new world opened up to her. A world where people loved costumes as much as she did and dressed up as their favorite characters to wear in public year round. Over the last 10 years her skills at recreating and designing fabric based costumes has became in high demand. Her clients live in Australia, Canada and all over the United States. Her Cosplay and recreation work can be seen at cons such as Dragon Con, MegaCon, San Diego Comi Con, Morphicon, Celebration and a host of others throughout the year.  She was fortunate to be chosen by George Perez to be a character in his comic book series called, “Sirens” by Boom Comics. She makes a cameo appearance in issue 2 and has a dialog role in issue 4.

Jim Henson Creature Shop

Shortly after moving to L.A. she got a job working at Jim Henson Creature Shop as a contracted Fabricator. Projects that she has worked on are the animatronic walk around costume for Kellogg’s character Tony the Tiger and the iconic walk around characters called Luna and Nova for Parks & Resorts in Dubai.

SeaWorld

While on vacation visiting friends in Orlando she applied for a job with Sea World as a seamstress.  Within 2 years she became one of the costume designers  and later became the Costume Buyer for the park. Her design change in 2008  for the streetmosphere group, Groove Chefs, is still being worn in the park.

Project Runway

Her greatest compliment to her skill set and designing capability came from when she auditioned for Project Runway in 2008. She quilted 620 pieces of fabric into an evening gown that resembled a kaleidoscope. Although she didn’t make it on the show Tim Gunn did tell her that her work was more compelling than the show!

Club Med

After graduating she moved here to Orlando, Florida where she got hired by Club Med to work as a Costume Designer. While at Club Med she got to travel to 5 different villages and further improve her designing and construction techniques.

Alabama A&M University

In her clothing construction classes at Alabama A&M University she was more advanced than the other students so the teachers had her help her fellow classmates with the assignments.  For her senior year fashion show she won a best Avante Garde award