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Uncloaking the man behind the outfits of Sydney Mardi Gras' Wonder Women

Ethan Carter in his custom-made Wonder Woman outfit he'll be wearing at the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade.
Ethan Carter in his custom-made Wonder Woman outfit he'll be wearing at the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

In an homage to the female superhero Wonder Woman, 100 Glamazons draped in a colour palette of red, blue and gold will march down Oxford Street this Saturday the 4th of March for the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Ethan Carter is the Australian man behind the costume material, spending the past few months sewing, slicing and stitching the 100 costumes from his home base of Chicago.

Ethan Carter's sketches of the Wonder Woman costumes.
Ethan Carter's sketches of the Wonder Woman costumes he envisioned on creating for the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade.

Supplied.

“This year with the costuming we decided to make it a bit of a fusion between the new costume from the upcoming Wonder Woman film that will be released in June, and that festive cheerleader kind of vibe,” says Ethan.

“I spent a bit of time with the team, work-shopping and brainstorming how that was going to look, and I always like to sketch out my designs and costumes, and share that visual.”

The Glamazon All Stars will be decked out in crimson red cotton t-shirts, spandex battle skorts (half skirt-half shorts), accessorised with 100 mini gold lassos.

“I went into production at the end of December, and then we came into the Christmas period and I used that time while I was in cold, wintery Chicago to spend 12 days of Christmas bent over the sewing machine with rolls and rolls of spandex,” Ethan says.

Ethan Carter puts on the final stitches to his Wonder Woman costume for the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade.
Ethan Carter puts on the final stitches to his Wonder Woman costume for the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

“I had to get through a hundred skorts plus a few spares because you never know if somebody’s outfit isn’t going to fit right, or they’ll lose it and you’ll need a replacement, so there’s always a backup for the backup.”

The fashionista arrived back in Sydney recently to put the final touches on the skimpy outfits, just in time for members of the Glamazon All Stars float to try things on for size.

The self-confessed control freak is very protective of how the final outfits will turn out, but is also concerned about how comfortable they’ll be for the marchers to wear.

Steven McGuire watches on as Matthew Widders, Daniel Wilson, and Ethan Carter put the final touches onto their spandex skorts.
Steven McGuire watches on as Matthew Widders, Daniel Wilson, and Ethan Carter put the final touches onto their spandex skorts.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

“When you’ve got around 100 costumes you’ve got to manufacture, plus putting together some more coordinated costumes for the featured performers, it is definitely a big production.”

Trying on the dyed red socks for the first time to make sure they fit before the parade on Saturday.
Trying on the dyed red socks for the first time to make sure they fit before the parade on Saturday.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

As the original founder of the Glamazons, Ethan has always looked towards Wonder Woman - or Princess Diana of Themyscira as she’s known - as an icon.

“I was probably more star struck by how beautiful she was when I was a kid,” says Ethan.

“But then as you get older and you find out about the reasons she was created. She was there as a symbol of feminine empowerment right back in 1941, but she was also there as a symbol of hope for a war-torn world.”

With a message of peace and harmony, Wonder Woman’s character has inspired the same values behind the Glamazon float; to achieve peace and harmony between the LGBTQI community and the general public.

Julie Nguyen checks her costume in the bathroom mirror.
Julie Nguyen checks her costume in the bathroom mirror to make sure everything will look just right during the Mardi Gras parade.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

“Our message to the people and our four pillars, or the belief structure, are love, unity, valor and equality.”

“Every year… we strive to uphold these messages.”

In October 2016, the superhero was confirmed as bisexual by DC comic writer Greg Rucka.

Ethan Carter in his custom made Wonder Woman feature costume, which took around 20 hours to complete.
Ethan Carter in his custom made Wonder Woman feature costume, which took around 20 hours to complete.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

She also served a short stint as an honorary UN ambassador for gender equality, before being stripped of the title after widespread criticism that the appointment sent the wrong message about objectifying women.

Wonder Woman will always be an ambassador for gender equality in Ethan’s eyes however, and he will be wearing a feature costume at this year’s parade in her honour.

“The feature piece is a more modern version of Wonder Woman,” Ethan says.

“This one has been inspired by the artists that have recently worked on the Wonder Woman comic, one of which is Nicola Scott, a Sydney-based artist who has done a lot of work for DC Comics.”

“I thought it was good to produce a piece that was giving tribute to that costume design.”

Getting the eagle to sit symmetrically across the breast of the feature costume was the most challenging part of the costume, because the fabric is satin with the eagle is spandex, which stretches.

For the 20 hours of work put into this one piece, Ethan thinks he “might wear it on the plane back home” after the parade.

“I didn’t bring the invisible jet with me this year though, it’s in the workshop.”

Four of the Glamazon All Stars strike a pose in their custom made costumes.
Four of the Glamazon All Stars strike a pose in their custom made costumes: Julie Nguyen, Ethan Carter, Matthew Widders and Steven McGuire.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

The 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival Parade starts from 7pm on Saturday March 4 along Oxford and Flinders Streets.

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