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The 21st Shear Madness costuming challenge was all about Arms and Armor! We received a huge variety of skillful entries for that challenge and we are so excited to see what you folks have in store for our next group costuming challenge:

Challenge #22 “Welcome to the DARK SIDE”

Shear Madness is all about the joy of Impractical Costuming, creativity, and unusual materials put together with clever skill. This challenge is for all costumers of all levels and all genres! OC, LARP, Anime, Historical, Sci Fi, and more are welcome.

This challenge focuses on Goth, Victorian gothic, horror, and villains!

The submission deadline is October 1st, 2019 at midnight CST.

The Rules

1. Any costume, accessory, or prop completed between July 1st, 2018 (last year) and the deadline of October 1st, 2019 qualifies!

When you began your submission doesn’t matter as long as it was FINISHED after 7/1/2018.

The submissions window is open beginning July 1st, 2019 and closes on October 1st, 2019 at midnight CST.

2. Qualifying entries for this challenge should feature a “Dark Side” aspect, such as costumes that prominently feature the color black or costumes influenced by Victorian mourning, Sith lords (and ladies), goth fashion, Disney villains, horror classics like vampires or werewolves, etc.

3. This challenge is for complete costumes for humans of all ages, genders, and sizes. Costumes for pets, dolls, etc. don’t qualify for this challenge, but may in a future challenge.

4. 75% of the piece must be made or modified by you. 25% of your entry can be unaltered/purchased items. For example, if you purchased a pair of black patent leather platform shoes, they count towards the 25%. However, if you covered the heels with glass doll eyes, they count towards the 75%.

5. We want to see your creativity and hard work on display, not someone else’s! You may only submit work you created yourself, not costumes you commissioned or purchased elsewhere. Recreations of fashion plates, paintings, digital artwork, etc. are perfectly fine, but if you do reinterpret or take inspiration from someone else’s previous design, please give proper credit to them in your submission description. If you are portraying a character, please include the character’s name and the title of the show/book/artwork in which they appear! Collaborations are allowed as long as all parties consent to it being entered and everyone’s given fair credit.

— You are not required to enter a challenge to join the Facebook Group, but it is encouraged!—

How to Submit Your Challenge Entry

Challenge entries must be submitted to:

before midnight CST on July 1st, 2018!

—-> Submissions must include Your NAME, a TITLE for your entry, up to 5 PICTURES, and a DESCRIPTION.

TITLE: Every work of art needs a good title! For example “1830s Cinderella” or “Red Wedding Guest” or “Alucard” or “Dolly Parton Goes To Ren Fair” etc.

PHOTOS: Photos are VERY IMPORTANT and can make or break an entry! Outfits can be displayed on mannequins or dress forms, but photos of it being worn by a human are preferred!
Make sure you have at least one straight-on front shot so all the details can be seen! Include close-ups of specific details you are proud of like embellishment, process photos, alternate angles, etc. LIMIT OF 5 PHOTOS PER ENTRY, PLEASE!
If you need some guidance for taking photos, click here for a few basic photo tips.

DESCRIPTION: Along with your photos, include a description of your creation. Include when it was made, and tell us about what makes your entry special! Did you try any new techniques? Is it made for particular person/persona? Have you worn it to any events? If you ran into any problems you had to tackle, tell us how you solved them. Judges greatly appreciate construction details! Winning entries will have excerpts from their submission descriptions published on the blog.


—> Be sure to give credit to any artists if you chose to reinterpret their artwork!

If you can, please include a photo of the artwork and/or a link to the original source. The inspiration/reference image does not count towards your 5 photo limit.

HAVE FUN! This is not something we want you to agonize over. This is to be a fun and inspiring challenge for you as a costumer to help you grow and express yourself. And if the entire thing doesn’t get finished? Oh well! Share or submit what you have!

Limit of two (2) entries per person per challenge. Previous winning costume entries cannot be re-submitted.


Costumes posted to Facebook will not be counted as part of the challenge—they must be submitted via email ( to qualify. Contestants can share the progress of their outfits on their blogs or on the Shear Madness Facebook page. However, please do not post entries in their final state on the Facebook page until after judging is complete.

Judging and Awards

The judges will review the entries and the winners will be announced 7-10 days after the challenge closes on October 1st, 2019. There will be 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners, as well as honorable mentions as chosen by the judges. Winners will be given a Shear Madness logo with their winning placement for display on their blog/website, a customized digital photo of their entry “stamped” with their placement that can be uploaded to sites like Instagram or Facebook, and will have their creations featured in the header on the Facebook group page! All submissions will have a photo featured on the Challenge’s final blog post.

Group administrators and moderators have the final say on any rules for challenges and may update them as needed.

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