Cosplay, the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime, has grown in popularity over the years. While many who are not familiar with geek culture may just assume this is like dressing up on Halloween, cosplay goes far beyond just putting on a costume for one day and collecting candy.
Cosplay is an art and is part of a culture — more importantly, it’s more than just a hobby. If you look at some of the most intricate costumes, you’ll notice the amount of detail and time the person had to have put into making the costume and bring the character to life. Whether it involved handcrafting or sourcing the perfect piece, there is great pride and devotion involved.
To go to a comic convention and dress up with other people who share the same passion and love for a character is liberating and exciting. People ask cosplayers to take photos and compliment how amazing they look in costume — there’s a bit of a celebrity aspect to it.
Cosplay gives people a creative output. Many will have learned the skills and research properties of materials to the point where they become masters of those materials. Creative skills such as sketching, crafting and design development also become second nature for many people who were once novices.
Moreover, cosplay and comic conventions is a safe space for creativity. By becoming a character for the day, people get to wear a figurative (and sometimes literal) mask that they can shelter behind. By becoming a larger than life character, it helps those who are shy or may have gone through something traumatic meet and connect with people.
Cosplay provides fans with a safe environment for those who might otherwise feel uncomfortable in a “standard” social situation. Coming together in large groups to share the passion for and experiences of creating their costumes creates a sense of community.
By: Maytinee Kramer