As many of you know by now, my status as an anime fan is kind of complicated. While I really love anime, I’ve seen relatively few series compared to your average fan (or at least compared to the anime fans I’m friends with), so I […]
Cosplay (short for “costume play”) is one of those time-honored nerdy traditions that looks way more intimidating on the outside than it really is. We’ve all seen the impressive Comic Con pictures of cosplayers who look like they’ve just stepped off the page of a comic or out of a movie screen. But what was once a hobby reserved for only for the most dedicated of fans is now something that most nerds have dabbled in at least a bit, and these days, it’s more approachable than ever.
Cosplay as a concept came into being a long time before Comic Con was a thing (this article states that the first cosplayer donned his first costume in 1939), and it’s a pretty broad concept at that — essentially, anyone who dresses up in costume to attend a fan convention or other large fan event (like a movie premiere or a video game release) can be termed a cosplayer.
At its heart, cosplaying simply means dressing up as a fictional character — and that (very vague) definition allows for just as much variety and nuance as you’d expect. Cosplaying can be as simple as purchasing and wearing a pre-made costume, or as elaborate as creating a handmade one from scratch and putting your own unique spin on an existing character (Totoro-inspired ball gown, anyone?).
There are many hot topics when it comes to cosplay — what determines how good a costume is, how much work should go into one, whether or not you need to have made a costume yourself for it to “count,” what is and isn’t appropriate when it comes to reinterpreting a character according to your own vision, and many more.
But I’d advise those of you who are new to the cosplaying scene not to get too bogged down in all of that. That’s because the best thing about cosplay is that just about anything goes as long as you’re enjoying yourself and being respectful both of the character you’re cosplaying and of your fellow cosplayers.
Aside from the many and wildly varied opinions about it, cosplay can also seem overwhelming due to the sheer investment of time (and, let’s face it, plain ol’ money) it requires. It’s easy to see pictures of the awe-inspiring cosplays out there and just think, “That’s it…I’ll never be that good!” And maybe you won’t — but guess what? That’s completely okay! Cosplay is one of those things that you can work super hard at and spend a ton of time on, or approach in a more casual and lighthearted fashion, and have just as much fun with it either way.
But don’t sell yourself short, either. Maybe for your first cosplay, you stick with something simple and just get a feel for it before you throw more time and energy into it. But who knows — maybe as you get into it, you’ll find that you’re really passionate about it, and before you know it, you’re the next one to take home a 1st place award from your favorite con!
But again, whether you jazz up last year’s Halloween costume or decide to make your own chainmail, if you have a good time with it and dress up as a character you love, you can’t go wrong.
This is just a quick overview to give you a better idea of what cosplay’s all about, but as we know, there’s a ton more to talk about where cosplay is concerned! So be on the lookout for more articles from me about cosplay during the next couple of weeks — we’ll cover things like cosplaying on a budget, some of the cultural/historical aspects of cosplay, and more! And as always, let me know if there’s something in particular that you’d love to know more about, and I’ll add it to the docket.
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