Katsucon 2022: The J-Fashion Presence at Katsu

I'm back with another (super late) convention post! This time, I traveled up north to attend Katsucon. 

Katsu logo, I do not own!

So many people have told me how much they love Katsucon over the years. In particular, I've heard that there's a pretty great J-Fashion program going on there, and after being accepted as a model for Empire Noir (more on that later), I finally had a chance to check it out! Cheers to my first Katsucon!

The Venue

Waiting for the train to arrive.

I flew from Dallas to Washington D.C. on Thursday to give myself time to adjust to the time difference and get off of my nightshift sleep schedule. The cost of an Uber was crazy high when I arrived, so to save on transportation costs, I took the train from the airport to a bus terminal. From there, I hopped on another bus to the con venue. It was SO freaking affordable! I try to take buses and trains whenever I can, since we don't have those in my particular part of the city, :/ 

My roundtrip rides were less than $20, and I loved having the ability to hop off the bus or the train to explore if I wanted to. It was so easy, plus I was able to load a digital pass directly on my cell phone! I was pretty impressed. 

Katsucon is held in the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, and WOW, what a venue. I love how everything was easily within walking distance. There were restaurants, shops, bars, Chipotle (YAAAY!), a bakery, and more restaurants and bars than I knew what to do with. I had some time before check-in at the hotel, so I hauled my suitcase around and explored for a bit. I even found a beautiful Ferris wheel! 

I'm here!

The hotel itself is beautiful, as are the grounds at the Gaylord. I really wanted to ride the Ferris wheel, but that's ok -- there's always next time! 

The hotel.

Since everything is connected, it was easy to get to and from my hotel room to all areas of the event. Inside the building, there was a beautiful "town" with restaurants and stores. Walking around this area made me feel like a character in a JRPG!

Restaurants and convenience store inside the Gaylord.

On the back half of the hotel lies the convention center; the meat and potatoes of Katsucon. There's several floors, and gigantic exhibit halls to have events. The three largest rooms were home to Registration, Artist Alley, and Dealer's Hall. After familiarizing myself with the venue, I went up to my room and passed out. If there were any events on Thursday, I missed them all because I was sleeping, LOL.

The Con - Day 1

Day 1 Coord - 
Hat: Leomitsu
Wig: Amazon
Blouse: Secondhand (I think it's from an Amazon shop too_
JSK: Haenuli St. Vitus
Tights: Red Maria
Shoes: Hi Orange

I didn't buy a badge for Katsucon so my first order of business (after getting dressed) was to go down to Reg and buy a badge on-site. If you know you're going to attend the con, it's best to buy your badge in advance for the best price. I waited because I wasn't sure I would have the time off, but that's a risk I was willing to take. In order to get to the Reg room, I had to take these escalators down into the actual convention center. There was SO many people!

So many attendees!

It was super easy to buy my badge because the line for on-site registration was non-existant. I showed my ID and vaccination card, paid for my badge, and walked out in under 10 minutes! With my badge in hand, I went directly next door into the Artists Alley.

AA was full too!

It was great to see so many unique artists in one place. I also appreciate that AA was in a separate room from the Dealer's Hall. I think that helps artists network better, and gives them a little more room to stretch out! It was totally full of artists from the front of the room to the back wall, so there was more than enough folks' to buy and sell. It was easy to navigate the space as well!

Dealer's Hall was pretty organized too! At my home con, I always ask that the fashion brands are placed together for ease of shopping. While that wasn't the case here, it was easy to find "my people" in the Dealer's Hall. Belladonna and Sweet Mildred were right at the front door!

Sweet Mildred booth!

A little further in, I was able to find my friends at Lolita Collective booth, with Puvithel's booth right beside them! They had a sizeable booth, but for some reason, I did not get a picture, X_X Sorry y'all! It was so great to see everyone, and I was happy to find that J-Fashion was alive and well in the Dealer's Hall.

I didn't venture too far beyond the fashion booths on Day 1, and by this time, my feet were starting to hurt. It was time to go back up to the room for rest. After giving my feet a break, I went to my first panel of the con, a Para Para panel, hosted by the amazing members of 109 Degree Gyaru-Sa, a local gyaru circle! I was so surprised to find that the DMV has an actual Gyaru circle, and I can't wait to learn more from them! Teach me your amazing ways, plz. 

Day 2

Day 2 coord:
Headpiece - Star Fantasy
Wig - Amazon
Overdress - Miss Danger Shop
OP - Grove Deer, Moon of Eternal Day OP
Tights - Amazon
Shoes - Hi Orange

On Day 2, there was a Yokai themed Lolita meetup, but I overslept and missed it, T_T Still, I decided to go with a butterfly themed coord for the day while I walked around with my roommates! We ate, went to AA and Dealer's Hall (again), and just enjoyed the con. 

My con roommates and I! :)

After a while, my bestie came to pick me up and I went off-site for an early dinner with her for a couple hours. When I got back, it was time to prep for the fashion show! I did my makeup in my hotel room, then headed down with the designer of Empire Noir to help prepare for the show. We had to get dressed, steam clothes, and practice our line-up before show time. The fashion show had three bands on display so it was a lot shorter than most shows I'm used to, but I had fun backstage!

The Empire Noir squad for Katsu!

This was my first time modeling for a Gothic brand like Empire Noir. The pieces were so lovely, but since I have a red dye allergy, I requested to wear a piece that wasn't so... red, hehe. Camille was more than accommodating, and I got to live out my best vampire life. 

My fashion show piece for Empire Noir!

The show was so fun, but it seemed to go by an instant. Thank you to everyone who came out to watch us! I returned my fashion show piece, changed into some comfy clothes, and went to a few more panels with my roomies before heading up to my room for bed. 

Day 3

My last day of Katsu was spent packing up my things, and checking out of the hotel room. There was a bag drop off where I was able to store my luggage until it was time for my flight back home, which was absolutely amazing. We walked around AA and Dealer's Hall one final time to make our last minute purchases, and I finally got to see the Enchanted Dream Couture booth! To avoid overloading my suitcase, I didn't buy too much during the con, but I got a few cute things. We grabbed something to eat before everyone said their goodbyes, and then I boarded my bus to head back to the airport. I had such a wonderful time, and I'm so thankful for everyone that spent a little time with me during the weekend!

Final Thoughts

Would I go to Katsucon again? Absolutely! I had such a great time, and I was so happy to see so many J-Fashion events. I wish the fashion show had been a bit longer, but with only three brands in the show, that wasn't even possible. My only bit of feedback would be that I wish there was a J-fashion related swap so people could trade/sell their secondhand goods. If there was one, I definitely missed it, but I don't recall seeing anything like that on the schedule. I would have also been more than willing to pay for a tea party event or social/mixer event with food, but to be fair, I don't even know where they would host an event like that within the venue.

Since I was chosen directly by a brand, I can't speak for the model application process, but I hope it was smooth for those that took the time to apply. I enjoyed my time as a model for Empire Noir, and I also had a lot of fun making and meeting new friends backstage! Shout out to everyone that worked hard to bring J-Fashion programming to Katsu!

I'm so behind on my posts, to be honest with you! Still, I want to do my best to cover all the events I've gone to since I attended Katsucon in Feburary. My "con season" is in full swing now, so most of my posts will consist of me trying to play catch up. In the meantime, thanks so much for reading!

Stay beautiful, stay true!