CONVENTION REPORT – Katsucon 2018 (National Harbor, MD)

Katsucon is an annual anime convention hosted in National Harbor, Maryland (just outside of Washington, DC). This year, I had the pleasure to attend Katsucon 2018 and model in their fashion show. It was my first year in attendance and having heard about the convention for many years now, I had high expectations. I’m happy to say this con blew those expectations out of the water with how much fun it was.


I’m going to focus mostly on the J-Fashion track as that is my area of expertise and interest. Last year Katsucon did not have any J-Fashion panels or a fashion show. The local J-Fashion community rose up and attended the feedback panel requesting more fashion-centric panels and events. Their voice was heard and this year Katsucon had an amazing track centered around alternative fashion. There were over a dozen panels and the grand return of the fashion show on Saturday.

I was only able to attend to six of these panels as some were scheduled during the setup for the Fashion Show, a couple were late night (and I was staying at a friend’s house about thirty minutes away in DC), and I missed the few on Sunday because I had a seven hour drive back home. Those I were able to attend however were absolutely fantastic.

How to Host a Lolita Fashion Event was the first panel on Friday. The panelists were all experienced event planners and happily gave away their secrets to planning a successful Lolita themed event. They all had great ideas to share with the audience and it was overall a very informative panel.

Plus Size Lolita 101 was the only 101 panel this year. This is actually quite a refresher as most conventions have a Lolita 101 panel that is the same information rehashed over and over. This panel was slightly different though and offered tips and tricks to anyone that is plus sized and wanting to get into Lolita fashion. It was entertaining and not drawn out like most 101 panels.

Next was the Get Ready with Me panel where you could bring your own makeup to get ready while the panelists gave pointers on how to do your makeup based on what J-Fashion style you were wearing. They offered information on a various amount of styles and although it was an hour and half long panel, it stayed fun and relaxed with the panelists engaging the audience and sharing makeup advice. It was quite in-depth, which is not something that is always seen on makeup panels.

My second favorite panel was the last one that I attended Friday and that was Lolita Fashion: Taking your Coordinates to the Next Level. The presenters were very well put together and showed great examples of how to make the most out of your co-ord (coordinate/outfit). They had plenty of pictures to show how to use color and patterns to plan a well put together outfit. It was a lot of fun to attend and they did an amazing job putting it together.

On Saturday I attended the laid back Sticker Swap which is just how it sounds. Attendees brought stickers to swap which one another. I wasn’t able to attend any panels until later that night due to the fashion show.

The fashion show this year hosted a variety of designers such as A. Gato Designs, Belladonna, Hard Decora, Puvithel, Sweet Mildred, and several more. It was honestly the most well put together fashion show I’ve ever been a part of. The models had their own separate room to get ready in before the show. Then we were lined up for our presentations. The show started on time which is a huge plus. Designers were able to properly showcase their new designs to a crowd of over 500 people. Everyone I spoke with had a good time modeling for these brilliant artists. I honestly can’t think of any complaints that I had for this event.

After the fashion show there was a Q&A which the designers that also went really well. It had a good turn out and some great questions were asked to find out more about the designers’ experience, art style, origins, and thought processes.

Later that night was my favorite panel of the weekend: What Style is that Anyways? It was an introduction panel on the other types of Japanese Fashion styles. Most panels focused on Lolita however this one went over all the main J-Fashion styles. It was good look into some of the styles that aren’t as well-known such as Mori and Yami Kawaii. It was very well put together, entertaining, and descriptive. It was a great way to end a fantastic day.

Outside of the convention events, there were also personal meet-ups and impromptu get togethers. A lot of J-Fashion enthusiasts hung out outside of the panel room most of the panels were in. This even led to some spontaneous photo shoots which were really fun. Everyone I spoke with said they were having a good time and loved the diversity of panels that were offered.

Sunday was my day to relax so I didn’t attend any panel (and there were a few offered). It gave me time to reflect on what a great time I had during the weekend. Since this year the J-Fashion track was such a hit, I’m hoping that next year they’ll bring in more guests (national and international). There aren’t a whole lot of conventions that give time to J-Fashion but Katsucon paid attention to what their attendees wanted and delivered a great track. I’ll definitely be going back next year!

Check out these exclusive photos from Katsucon 2018!

Katsucon 2019 is currently scheduled for February 15-17, 2019. For tickets and more info, please visit their official website at:


-Christie Goldsberry
Convention Correspondent: Nerd Nation Magazine


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