Whilst cosplay is rumoured to have been started in Japan, that is a point that is otherwise debated. It is widely stated that Forrest J. Ackerman started the trend of fan-based costumes in 1939 in Caravan Hall, New York, at the 1st World Science Convention which marked his debut of Myrtle R. Douglas’ futuristic costume. The term “cosplay” was coined in 1984 by Nov Takahashi, whilst he attended a science-fiction convention in Los Angeles. The costume masquerade stunned him so much that he wrote about it in Japanese sci-fi magazines. “Cosplay” is a word meaning “Costume play”. Combining the two words to create a new word is much like that of a Japanese habit.
From 1939 the fan-based costume trend slowly spread worldwide, and began to spread even further and quicker with Takahashi’s naming of the thing. This spread saw many people all across the world taking up the cosplay lifestyle. Many people in the cosplay community are either wealthy, or very resourceful. Due to fan based costumes mostly being homemade, it can become very costly for Cosplayers to dress up. This is why the detail and attention shown in cosplay outfits is always particularly appreciated.
The Japanese Cosplayers are noted as the most notorious and wonderful Cosplayers in the world. This is because they are the home of anime and manga, which is mostly what cosplay, is based from. their direct relation between the two allows Japanese creators to design and manufacture some of the best cosplay outfits. This means that they are the largest exporter of cosplay outfits, bringing in a large revenue for the businesses and a large reputation for those who wear the costumes.
Creating a cosplay outfit requires money, time, dedication, and skill. Many Cosplayers have trained themselves in varying crafts from sewing, face painting, sculpting, and other artsy hobbies. This means they have self-trained in to becoming wonderful seamstresses, creating one of a kind cosplay pieces set for their body and specifically for how they want to portray the character. Most Cosplayers will create their costumes based on various pictures and screen shots of their chosen character, choosing to be as true to the original design as they can.
For those who cannot style their own costumes, or do not have the most time, they often go for the higher quality and better matching fabrics. This means that whilst their costume designs may not be exactly true to the character, the choice of fabric can be appreciated and seen as incredibly true to the character that the Cosplayers wishes to portray.
Cosplayers may wear cosplay for many different reasons. There are mostly three types of Cosplayers. The Cosplayers whom wish to dress in character costume to take on the role of their character are the most common type of Cosplayers, often walking around conventions in search of people from the same show (or “fandom”) in order to interact with them in the same way that the characters of the show would. They may also look for these people in order to take photographs with them in situations reflective of scenes to the shows in which they are from.
Another type of cosplayer is those whom take great pride in their outfits. These Cosplayers commonly have a very large budget to their outfit, excellent sewing and sculpting skills, and a lot of time to create. For them, it is more about the success of creating a true to life costume and portraying it, than it is about capturing the essence of the character. These Cosplayers often set up photo shoots for themselves, or have photographers approach them at conventions, thanks to the finer details in their costumes.
The final type of common cosplayer is the cosplayer whom puts a costume on for the recognition. There are many shows, mostly of anime and manga, that take a rise in popularity. These Cosplayers will then recognise which shows are the most popular, and seek to wear a costume from that show. They will then enjoy the attention and the respect they are given from fans of the show or character. These Cosplayers often will be open to photographers approaching them, also, as it is more recognition and respect for the outfit and the character.
For all the different types of Cosplayers, the main thing that brings them together is the love of creation. Whether a costume takes a long time, or a short time, every outfit is made with care and made to be the best it can. Conventions are places full of friendships, laughter, and fun, with everyone taking the best from the day and making their lives just that little bit brighter.
About the Author
When it comes to writing about certain subjects Aveline Brooks can struggle. For this article she needed the help of vampire costume supplier FancyDressShack.co.uk because they have a great knowledge of the industry, having operated for so long.