Imagine loving a character from a book, movie, comic, or video game. Now imagine you dressing up as that character. But not just dressing up! You design the costume yourself, make sure you got the details of the character right from head to toe, and put on the best of makeup. Voila, now have created a perfect replica of your favorite character, with your own special touches! This is basically what cosplaying is.
The term “cosplay” is a relatively new one in the fashion scenario.
Nevertheless, it has created a buzz all over the world. People everywhere – especially the greek community – respect and appreciate well-established cosplay artists, popularly known as “cosplayers.” Cosplay is also a medium of expression for many, making it more than just dress-up. Therefore, it is more of an art style.
The origins of Cosplay
People have been cosplaying for generations before they learned what cosplaying is. Then, of course, they had masquerades, where they put on masks and dressed up as their favorite characters from the plays they watched. But, surprisingly, the term “cosplay” came into existence as recently as 1984. Nobuyuki Takahashi, a Japanese writer, came up with this term in his article for My Anime magazine. He joined the two words “costume” and “play,” thus creating “cosplay.”
Cosplaying as a serious form of art first started in Japan. Then, cosplayers would role-play various anime characters at different conventions. But now, cosplaying has broken the walls of being just a hobby and has grown into a full-fledged industry.
How is “cosplay” different from “fancy dress?”
Many people, especially in the Indian context, would find it difficult to differentiate between the two terms. Indians have grown up participating in fancy dress competitions in schools, and so they are not unaware of the concept of dressing up as a character. However, here lies the difference- cosplaying, in simple terms, is an upgrade to the usual fancy dress.
In addition to getting even the minor details right in their costume, cosplayers immerse themselves into the character they portray and replicate their behavior, mannerisms, and gestures. Fancy dress is simply putting on a last-minute store-bought costume. Moreover, cosplay is much more expensive than a fancy dress costume. Sometimes, cosplayers may even take months to perfect their costumes.
The Scope of Cosplay
Cosplaying now is a serious profession. No longer is dressing up seen as child’s play. Cosplayers, once they have established their names, have great earning potential. In addition, with events like Comic-cons gaining tremendous popularity, cosplayers have the opportunity to showcase their work of art. Comic-cons were famous in the west, but not so much in the Indian sub-continent. Only recently have people started going to Comic-cons to experience the geek culture. To the pleasure of the geeks, more and more comic conventions are taking place. The main attraction of these comic conventions is the cosplaying event. Cosplaying competitions are the highlight of the show. People of all ages can participate to show off their cosplaying skills. It is the perfect stage for any cosplayer who wants to grow in the industry.
In India, the main stage for cosplay is the annual Comic-con event. When Comic-con first began in 2011, only 13 cosplayers took part in the competition. However, with the increase in the popularity of cosplay, the number of participants increased to 2000. Now, Comic-con India hosts an event called “Indian Championship of Cosplay”. Cosplayers from all over the country show the best of their cosplaying skills on the best of the stages. The ultimate winner also gets to represent India on the global cosplaying stage in Comic-con, Chicago.
As fun, as it sounds, cosplaying, is not an easy task. The idea of turning fiction into reality may seem exciting to anyone starting out. However, cosplay is much more than that. Cosplaying requires much dedication and effort. It takes years for a cosplayer to be in the spotlight. But, of course, once they get their recognition, the opportunities for growth are endless.
Cosplayers and their path towards success
The idea of cosplaying as a profession may seem ridiculous to people in the past. But, times have changed. What seemed impossible then is very much a possibility now. Cosplayers who have made it big have proved this point. Social media, in this day and age, is more than just a communication tool. Careers can be built off of social media, and cosplay is no different.
To begin with, cosplayers need to be able to pick a character that they are comfortable portraying. After all, cosplaying boils down to being comfortable in your skin. The next important step is to make your costumes as realistic as possible. This can be an expensive process. The average cost of a costume, including makeup, can be anywhere between 100$-500$. But, this investment will be worth it in the end.
To look professional, you need to hire professional photographers who can capture your persona as realistically as possible. Doing this will not only serve as a remembrance of your costume but will also help you in building your cosplaying portfolio.
Promoting your image and your cosplaying art is most important for your path towards being a successful cosplaying artist. Being active on social media and participating in as many cosplaying events as possible will help you grow as a brand in the industry.
Once you gain recognition, brands will come to you for promoting them on your social media. You will also gain fans who are willing to support you as an artist. Congratulations, you have successfully transformed your hobby into a profession!
Cosplaying transgresses boundaries
Cosplaying has the potential to unite people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures. The audience can never get enough of seeing a real-life Ironman, Naruto, or Eleven from Stranger Things. They can do anything to take pictures with cosplayers. As someone rightly put it, cosplaying is a way of escaping from reality- even if it is for a short period of time. This statement applies to both the audience and the cosplaying artist. Cosplay is flourishing as an industry and will continue to do so with the help of the ever-increasing fans. It is only a matter of time before the culture of cosplay takes over the world.