Fandom Aspects: Cosplay

Cosplay is perhaps the most visible of the ways people show their love for something. And I don’t mean that in the way that means “the most people are aware of it,” but in the way where, while most fandom activities allow you to hide behind your anonymity on the Internet, you can’t really hide your cosplay. Oh, sure, you don’t have to tell your friends, family, or coworkers about it, and you can wear things that cover your face, but there is a whole other level of commitment that comes with creating a costume and then wearing it out in public where other people will see it.

Hirako Shinji from Bleach

Hirako Shinji from Bleach

Cosplay is short for costume play, and the term has been around since the 80s. Cosplay consists of selecting a character from a movie, TV show, comic, book, etc. and dressing up as them, usually for conventions or Halloween.

Cosplay also is interesting in that despite the time and money that goes into creating a character, the person making/wearing the costume may not be as interested in that character as, say, fanfiction writers would be. Some people cosplay because they like the costumes, or because they look like a character, whereas other people may go as a character they are less or not familiar with to match their friends.

A lot of cosplayers will belong to a cosplaying community, where they can find other people cosplaying from the same series, get advice on new techniques, and share their results. If you’re interested in looking at people’s costumes, several websites allow their users to upload in progress and finished photos of their costumes. Cosplay.com is probably the largest.

Cosplay can run the gambit from “found clothes” costumes, where people take clothes from their closet that best match their characters, to complex costumes made completely from scratch that may include wig styling, armor and weapon creation, embroidery, and even making shoes. Many conventions give people an opportunity to show off their handiwork at costume contests. Some contests may also allow skits, which allow cosplayers a chance to act out a scene as their character. (Or just be silly. This is one of my favorites. Also this one.)

Have any favorite cosplays, Squiders? Have you cosplayed yourself? Have anyone you’ve ever thought about dressing as?

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