The MWG provides a means for Star Wars fans to meet and network with each other to engage in the hobby of building and improving Imperial costumes from the Star Wars movies. All of our costumes are scratch-built or "fan-made," whether through the arduous process of building molds and vacuum-forming, or assembling costumes from found objects.
The majority of our costumes are not available through retail channels. LucasFilms, Ltd. prohibits any mass sales from unlicensed vendors. To become a member of the 501st Legion, one must build and own a costume of the highest quality and as close to appearance in published Star Wars media as possible.
In addition to providing a network for fans to meet, MWG is committed to the community. We offer support at charity events, fundraisers, and social functions by appearing as film-authentic Star Wars characters. While there is no cost to engage our services, we encourage donations to charity on our behalf instead.
Some notable charities with whom we've worked include:
- The American Cancer Society
- Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago
- Chicago Food Depository
- Toys for Tots
- Make-A-Wish Foundation
History of the MWG
The Midwest Garrison was founded in Illinois by Damian Jorgensen (TK-826), Luis Boileve (TK-604), Javier Esqueda (TK-265), Arturo Delgado (TK-412), and Michael Washko (TK-895) in the summer of 1999. Doug Fesko (TK-501), Robb Roidt (TK-321) and other members quickly joined from Michigan and Wisconsin.
By the end of 1999, the Midwest Garrison had over 25 members across its original member states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. In 2002, Indiana separated from MWG and formed the Bloodfin Garrison. Ohio followed onto their own path of independence a year later. Nevertheless, Midwest continued to grow and reached over 220 members across the three remaining states in 2005. In 2007, members in Wisconsin formally organized the Wisconsin Squad (who would later move on to become Wisconsin Garrison in 2010), and Michigan Squad moved on to become the Great Lakes Garrison.