If you’ve ever been to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie or dined at Medieval Times in Dallas and wondered where those exotic period-piece costumes come from, you’re closer to one designer than you probably think.
Samuel Lee - armorer, fantasy costume designer and owner of Prince Armory - is situated in a building you may have driven by a million times in Dublin, that big factory complex on West Blackjack Street that’s painted like a dairy cow, the former Dairy Chem Inc. plant that no longer makes anything remotely related to dairies.
“I’m from Central Texas, but I’m in Dublin because this place was available,” Lee says. “The rent is reasonable, there’s a ton of space, and I like the town, so it’s a good fit for me and what I do.”
What Lee does is remarkable; true fine art that people who are into medieval fantasy can wear. No two pieces are alike and his designs have sold for $10,000 - and up.
“There’s really no upper limit dollar wise,” he says. “If someone wants something very detailed and intricate and has the budget, I’ll certainly give them what they want.
“But I also will work on lower-budget costumes, and you can get a beautiful costume for much less - one of the main ways to do that is by combining brilliant colors,” he says.
Asked how he came to pursue this career, Lee says with a laugh, “Path of least resistance, pretty much. I was just into fantasy stuff as a kid. I started making swords and we’d have these fantasy sword fights, and it just evolved from there.
“I did do a short apprenticeship with a guy, but that was minimal. Most of what I do I learned on my own.”
Lee says he used to do booths at renaissance fairs but isn’t doing that at the moment.
“That takes a lot of time and organization, and what I really like to do - individual custom design with no two ever being the same - isn’t geared to that kind of sales. Also, I primarily sell online from my website and that’s working out well so I really don’t need to do the shows in person.”
To sum it all up, Prince Armory’s brochure and business cards list the following as the main items and services Lee offers:
• Leather goods
You’ll find Prince Armory on Lee’s website - that he personally designed - at www. PrinceArmory.com.