Fashion Explained: Cosplay | Exhibit Tech Lifestyle

Fashion Explained: Cosplay

Fashion Explained: Cosplay

With Mumbai Comic Con 2024 around the corner, this is the best time to explain one of the most diverse fashion types in the industry – Cosplay. What exactly does dressing up as your favourite character entail? Let’s dive deep into this fashion style. 

Cosplayer group at Comic Con Brussels 2016

What is Cosplay? 

Originating in Japan, cosplay, or costume play, is a performance art where the cosplayers (the term for people who perform this art) represent a certain fictional character. The attire is complete with accessories, make-up and props to get into full character, essentially role-playing in public. A subculture around cosplay and their cosplayers can even exist, famously for characters in Japanese anime. It is also an appreciation of fiction and puts respect to the best of character designs. 

History of Cosplay

While it grew popular and was coined in 1984 in Japan amongst all genders, the history of cosplaying goes further back. In the 15th century, all of us heard about masquerade balls but the purpose of it was to pretend. Essentially, cosplay is masquerading as someone else. Italy also hosted grand costume festivals during the Renaissance period, typically indulged by the Venician upper class. 

It then grew in 19th century Britain, where people held fancy costume parties for their amusement. In 1939, people began to create more futuristic costumes and then came Japan’s final hammer to the head. 

The first documented event of a fan meeting and cosplaying was recorded in Hakone, Japan in the 1970s. This is how anime cosplay became popular. Since then, costume contests have been on the rise in Asia and parts of the West. 

Anime Japan 2016 (Tokyo Big Sight). Odaiba, Tokyo.

How Does Cosplay Work? 

  • Cosplays can range from simple to high-quality, complex-themed costumes. As long as you enjoy the art, anything works in the world of cosplay. 
  • Despite being similar to Halloween costumes, the cosplayers usually get into character and also hold fan meetings with their audience. They have full communities supporting their art beyond the holiday of Halloween. 
  • You can get ready-made apparel of your favourite character from several manufacturers and online sites, along with wigs and other accessories. Japan themselves have made a profit of 35 billion yen. 
  • Many cosplayers hand-make their costumes, sourcing their materials from their own local or online manufacturers. Since many parts of any character’s costume can be too unique for a general market, cosplayers learn textile sculpting and other 3D art to create these objects. This highlights their dedication and creativity diving into the performance. 

For example, if a person would like to cosplay Roronoa Zoro from the anime ‘One Piece’, they could 3D print his swords if they are not available for purchase online.

Cosplayer (@0taisi) as Roronoa Zoro from One Piece

  • During contests, cosplayers are judged by their originality and their ability to truly act the part. Their body language and acting abilities are their main selling points, not just the costumes. 
  • Just like any other fashion type, you must be confident in your cosplay and expressing yourself with the apparel and accessories. While it can be daunting at first, cosplay is an art to be enjoyed and the community are open-minded to any form. 


Why You Should Consider Cosplaying? 

Are you a fan of movies and TV shows, especially fantasy and anime? If so, this is a great way to indulge in their fan base as well as meet more people through different conventions, particularly the upcoming Comic Con. There are many ready-made cosplays available online but it’s also fun to sew and create your costumes, sewing being a great hobby to pick up. More than that, looking exactly like one of your favourite fictional characters is a huge confidence booster. 

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