Muhammad Ihsan Bin Salimi derives much joy from his hobby of replicating props from movies and leather crafting. Motivated to reach out to the less fortunate through costumed appearances, Ihsan wanted to be part of the Singapore Garrison of the 501st Legion, whose members contribute to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work. The 501st Legion has spread the magic of Star Wars worldwide since 1997 through its authentic-looking costumes, and has been very well-received in fan-based charity events.
To be a member of the 501st Legion, one is required to create costumes by hand which must resemble closely to those in the movies. With careful research, lots of hard work and leveraging skills honed from his hobby, Ihsan fabricated a Stormtrooper outfit and was successfully inducted into the Legion in May 2018. He is also a member of Pause for a Cause, Singapore’s first Cosplay volunteer group that supports events and charity causes.
Ihsan (left) making an appearance as Green Arrow in support of Singapore Children’s Society Flag Day
Ihsan set up Emerald Needle in November 2017 selling his hand-crafted leather products, as well as making commissioned pieces for movie props and cosplay costume accessories. Emerald Needle was coined from one of the nicknames of the superhero, Green Arrow – the Emerald Archer - whom he is a big fan of since young. His hand-sewn customised leather pieces include waist belts, pocket card wallets, clutch purses and bags; as well as replicas of Star Wars costume accessories.
Ihsan, who has been working at NUS with the University Scholars Programme (USP) since September 2016, appreciates the opportunities to interact with USP students who are about his age. Earlier this year, he gave a demo on leather crafting at Laissez Faire IV, a Ground-Up Initiative event by USP which provides a platform for students and staff to share their talents and skills with the NUS community.
"I enjoy working with my hands, from design to fabrication, and learnt the skills of leather crafting on my own from YouTube videos,” shared Ihsan. “My parents are also supportive of my hobby which has fuelled my entrepreneurial and community work pursuits."