My Cosplay Backstory
My first convention and cosplay experience was in 1999 at Anime Expo. I was a Freshman in High School and my new friend and marching band classmate, Laura Chase, ran the school’s little known Anime Club. I remember how wonderful it was to learn what Anime was and that some of my favorite shows from Junior High (Sailor Moon, Voltron) were Anime. I had never been to a convention before, but when asked to go with the rest of the gang, I couldn’t wait to go! And when asked if I was going to dress up, that was a no brainer! Even though I had never done it before…but dressing up as a favorite character seemed like a perfectly natural, and awesome, thing to do. I’ve never stoppped dressing up or attending conventions since that first time, and I never want to stop!
- Cosplay should be fun!
- Cosplay is for EVERYONE.
There are at least 2 different kinds of cosplayers – those who do it purely for fun and the quality/accuracy of the costume is of secondary, or no, concern, and those that specifically strive to make accurate representations of characters. I’m in the latter group. Of course I cosplay because it’s fun, but the thrill and passion I get from cosplaying is in the pursuit of creating accurate cosplays. With this in mind, the following is the rest of my beliefs when it comes to cosplay:
- Cosplay should be accurate.
- Cosplay should be well-made.
- Cosplay should be body-type appropriate.
- Cosplay should be made by you in some way.
If you’re not involved in making your cosplay in some way, then you’re really a Cosplay Model. And that’s pretty awesome, I’ve done it myself and love to do it, but that is not a COSPLAYER.
Some cosplayers make every single part of their costume, and that.is.amazing. Some of my friends are this type of cosplayer, and I admire them greatly! That amount of skill really blows my mind. Other cosplayers might make the costume, but not the props or accessories, while others are great at making props, or the “hard” costume pieces, but they’ll commission someone else to make the “soft” costume pieces because they don’t really know how to sew. I learned to sew in college, and I’m passably decent at it, but my boyfriend is far more skilled at it then I am, so a lot of the time he makes most of an outfit for me because I want it to be the BEST, and he is going to achieve that for me because I cannot.
It might sound silly, but I believe my skill in cosplay is in project management. I really love to research the bejeezus out of costume when it comes to tracking down every possible reference image in existence, the right fabric, buttons, wigs, shoes, etc. I won’t rest until I gather all the right materials, and many times if I can’t find the “right” stuff, I wont make the costume. But after I’ve gathered all the materials, a lot of time I will then ask others for assistance in helping me achieve my vision of an accurate cosplay, by asking my boyfriend to help with sewing, and friends to help with things like wig styling (I’ve ruined enough wigs to know when I need to let a pro handle it!). So while I don’t always sew my own costumes or make my own props, I’m always 100% involved in the process from start to finish when it comes to pulling a costume together. And I love it when a plan comes together
- Cosplay is different for everyone!
Keep in mind, this is how I cosplay, not how YOU cosplay. We’re all different and we all get different things out of this hobby. We’re going to have similarities and differences…but at the end of the day, the ONLY thing that should matter is that we’re having fun doing something we love, and we meet wonderful people and have great adventures along the way!