Well, I'll chime in here as I've been working on a Loki costume - though to be fair my client has requested it to be as screen accurate as possible so it really can vary from this commission (the one I'm working on) to another. I am making the undershirt, the armor, the coat, the pants and whatever else I may not be listing atm - but it's everything so long as it's not King Loki.
The armor and helmet costs can vary on Etsy/DA and can be a good chunk of the OP's current budget after material costs and labor. Most of them are sculpted, cast in resin and or made from fiberglass and there are other alternative ways of making it. I chose Worbla, so the extra time of sculpting and what not isn't in the labor costs.
As for the zipper trim, depending on if you want legitimate trim made from zipper stops - there's the painstaking way of making it yourself or buying it from another person or Loki cosplayer who makes it.
I will say that a Loki costume to be of high quality and accurate as possible takes time, A LOT more time than I had originally anticipated and planned out. There are many, many fine details and pattern pieces to be drafted not to mention materials to find and match up to.
Artificial leather costs almost as much as real leather. Real leather, depending on how you buy it would have to be dyed/processed by yourself which would be added onto labor hours.
Here is a rough, incomplete lists of materials (because I don't have the receipts next to me):
-Textured vinyl for the coat and shoulder parts = $27 + shipping
-1 jumbo sheet of Worbla - $80
-black stretch fabric for the undershirt - $17.97
-Vinyl for the coat and pants - $100 + shipping
-Green fabric for the lining - $35.96
-Gold spray paint - $5
-Zipper - $4
-Zipper trim - $125 + shipping
-Silver leg panels - $120 + shipping
-gold metal trim
-rub 'n buff or whatever to be used for the aging of the armor
-some form of glue or bonding agent
Costs: $514.93 + tax + shipping
That doesn't include labor or shipping and depending on how detailed labor can take anywhere from two weeks to two month if not more. I originally estimated two months of solid work with little to nothing else booked along side with it, but things have come up for me so my time is taking longer than originally thought out to be and I have my other commissions to keep up with as well.
And I think what bothered everyone was:
"Only had one positive response to help but they wanted $600 and not a chance I would even consider that amount for one costume. Cheap materials are fine with me as long as the costume still looks good. eg use artificial leather rather than real leather etc."
Cheap material is tricky, sometimes you luck out and get a good bolt or whatever and sometimes, you'll get what you pay for. I never try to skimp out on the quality or costs of materials because it does, in the end reflect a commissioner's work and the costume. That being said, the average cost of fabric is $10/yard. I'm not saying that I go out of my way to pick the most expensive materials on the market either.
As far as labor costs go, I think what most commissioners charge is fair and it's usually between minimum wage - $10/hour and it should go without saying that these costumes aren't an overnight task (unless maybe it's our own, personal costumes in which a lot of quality is often sacrificed and we have to go back and revisit it anyway) and even the most simple costumes can take roughly 20 hours (from pattern drafting/correcting, cutting out fabric, sewing, detailing, etc) but everyone also works at a different pace. We are artists - skilled laborers (it took us time to get our skills to be serviceable to others and to build our portfolios to a presentable point and we're always learning), as that was mentioned, and most of us DO, do this as our main source of income, if not the only source of income. I usually put it in the way as, you may have a normal part/full time job for your main source of income to pay rent and bills and you clock in and record every hour you work and get paid for every hour you work. You pay taxes and so do we. You buy groceries, so do we - etc. So charging a little more than minimum wage isn't unreasonable by any means as we aren't just greeting guests, taking orders, stocking shelves, whatever. How some commissioners charge less for their time, than that of a minimum wage job is beyond me though but that's their choice.
The real insult (this doesn't go towards you) from what I've seen lately is people expecting commissioners to charge equal to or less than the amount of ebay/China/online/Halloween store prices. Most of these items are made in sweatshops or factories and sometimes a lot of costumes on Ebay will be shipped from China but the actual seller is located elsewhere. When it comes to commissioners, we're lucky if that price even covers the material costs for the costume in question. I've noticed that usually, when people resort to these options, they often unsatisfied with the sizing, quality or accuracy. It's the same with commissioning - some people will go with a cheaper commissioner and unfortunately there are some bad apples who are looking to make a quick buck and will disappear and a person ends up getting scammed. Though it happens for larger ticketed items too, but more often with the lower prices. So really you have to be careful all around.
As for rude comments, I've seen them as well. I try to be as blunt, straight to the truth and as polite as possible but I will never say that you will get rags or a piece of shit for your budget. I'll just simply explain the costs and the work involved, the best I can.
Last edited by Mykaios : 05-09-2013 at 04:17 PM.