If you happen to find yourself at Comic-Con this year in San Diego, you might be lucky enough to cross forces with this former Jedi Knight:
His name: Dude Vader. That’s right, this is the cooler, swankier, 2.0 Darth and he’s not about that dark lord life.
In case you were wondering what happened to Darth after his limbs were all cut off by his own son and he was electro beamed to death, well, I can finally safely assure you that he successfully reincarnates, escapes the Death Star and retires in sunny and beautiful San Diego.
After all, convincing everyone to join the dark side can be incredibly stressful, so why not spend the rest of his days surfing on the beach and bringing smiles to peoples faces instead?
I recently had the pleasure of getting the chance to chat with Dude Vader who caught the attention of The Violet Vixen when we found out that his epic costume was constructed with our VERY OWN AETHERTROOPER GLADIUS CORSET!
Dude Vader: The Costume Awakens
How does someone craft such an amazing costume anyways and why did he choose our corset?
“Your corsets have actually saved me. A typical day can range from a 5 hour photo shoot to several hours of standing around with scorching 90 degree heat. When you have to stand like that, having great back support can really make a world of difference. I don’t know what I would do without it. Plus, your corset has a bunch of loops on it that are perfect for attaching all sorts of doodads which is huge in the steampunk community. I actually add new stuff to it all the time, so that’s a big plus for me.”
Speaking of doodads, the Dude Vader costume has no shortage of them. Most of the costume is made up of old Star Wars Toys.
” I got the idea because young Anakin Skywalker used to hang out in the junkyards and so why wouldn’t he end up creating a costume out of junk? Since I see a lot of kids and they tend to be short, I like to add a lot of cool stuff to the knee pads in particular so they can really get the most out of the costume.”
What started out as a hobby for Chris has now turned into a passion for a great cause. Dude Vader has made plenty of appearance at several charity events ranging from Children’s Hospitals to sponsoring STEAM events (Science Technology Education Art and Mechanics) where he helps teach kids about how cool it is to blend Art with Science.
“Honestly, I really do it for the kids. I love seeing the reactions on all their faces, they are so amazed. Especially when I take off my helmet, and they realize that I’m not this big scary guy. It’s probably good that I have a helmet, sometimes I can get a little choked up.”
There’s no doubt that Dude Vader is one of the more popular characters at these events. The American Film Institute named Darth Vader as the 3rd greatest villain of all time, right under Hannibal Lector and Norman Bates. I imagine he’s pretty popular with the ladies too.
“You’d be surprised. I actually have a lot of boyfriends come up to me begging me to take a picture with their girlfriends. This way they can post the picture on Facebook and all their friends will think it’s them behind the costume!” Either way, I’m sure he’s not complaining. It’s cool to be Darth Vader, but it’s even cooler to be Steampunk Dude Vader.
The first Steampunk convention took place in 2006 and the trend has really skyrocketed since then to become a philosophy and way of life. It has sparked a love affair with ‘old fashioned’ materials ranging from brass to copper to quirky mechanical workings. For Millenials, who are drawn to all things retro, this Victorian inspired aesthetic has huge appeal.
“I love it. Having a costume allows you to be more playful and outgoing. It’s like Halloween every time I go out.”
I was so impressed that I had to find out more. Who is Dude Vader really besides a man of mystery with a really cool costume?
Dude Vader: The Jack Of All Trades Strikes Back
Dude Vader, otherwise known as Christopher Canole, first got into Star Wars back when he was working on the set of the original Superman.
Yup, not only does he craft bad ass steampunk costumes but he also designed the Fortress of Solitude for one of the greatest Super Hero films of all time AND he may or may not have designed a bat mobile.
Hint: He did.
Here are some other awesome things he’s done:
– He single-handedly fought Karl Drago.
– And draws stuff.
– Pretty amazing stuff. Like this portrait of Mark Twain and other work that’s been featured in some boring places like THE VATICAN and THE WHITE HOUSE. NBD.
– This is a picture of him hanging out with Pamela Anderson. Cause, he just does that.
– And, oh, one last thing: Aside from being Dude Vader at several events a month, he’s also working on an original film that takes place in Cuba.
He’s pretty much the Dos Equis guy. Or Chuck Norris. He simply likes to refer to himself as a ‘Jack of All Trades’. That’s a bit of an understatement if you ask me!
We over here at the Violet Vixen feel honored that Dude Vader chose one of our steel boned corsets as his centerpiece. We can’t wait to head over to the ‘light’ side and see what new pieces he adds to the costume next!
For inspiration on creating your own Steampunk costume, check out our Pinterest Board called ‘I Love Steampunk’ here or browse our steampunk selection of corsets on thevioletvixen.com.