I recently realised that, although I absolutely love to see the latex cosplay costumes on Instagram and Pinterest, I don’t actually know much about Cosplay on a whole - so I did some digging! I thought it would be cool to share some of the stuff I found for those people like me that are in awe of the costumes but don’t really know too much.
Here’s an overview of what I found:
It seems that cosplay as we know it probably started in America back in the 1930’s and was first called costuming. Back then it wasn’t about recreating a character but just dressing for a certain theme or genre, such as sci-fi. While in Japan, manga series like Urusei Yatsura helped to launch it there. It wasn’t till 1984 that the term cosplay was coined by Japanese reporter Nobuyuki Takahashi, after he attended Worldcon in Los Angeles. Back then American’s would refer to as ‘masquerade’, however that didn’t translate well and so Takahashi wanted something shorter and catchier. Although everyone agrees that Takahashi invented the word cosplay, the actually roots are disputed. As many agree that the origins of cosplay lie in Japanese fandom culture rather than in the US. In Japan, people had been dressing up as their favourite anime character since the 70’s, they just didn’t have a single word to describe it. Whatever you believe, you can’t deny the huge impact Japanese culture has had on cosplay worldwide.
Fast-forward to present day and cosplay has now become a global phenomenon, with people from all walks of life getting involved. With the number of superhero and sci-fi movies increasing every year, as does the number of conventions and followers. Not to mention the huge impact TV series such as Stranger Things and Game of Thrones have had on the Cosplay world. The biggest event now being the San Diego Comic Con, with over 135,000 people attending every year.
Latex is just one of many materials used in cosplay costumes. While latex can often be a great material to use, the cost for a full costume can be seriously expensive. For example, a quick look on Esty.com and the average price was over £400! The outfits are beautiful and the time gone in to making is probably significant. Yet, the average cosplayer probably can’t afford it - especially on top of other costs, such as tickets/travel.
For some Cosplay is a just a hobby- sometimes called ‘closet cosplay’, which just involves wearing or using stuff you already have to create a specific character. E.g. ripping up an old t-shirt, apply some fake blood… and voilà you’re a zombie from the Walking Dead! While others are happy to invest a lot money and time into creating the perfect costume.
After having a look around, it seems that a great costume comes down to three things:
1. Creativity – You don’t have to spend hundreds on buying a premade costume. Most of the best cosplayers can put together a whole costume for a fraction of the price on a commercial site. Many cosplayers pride themselves on doing as much of the sewing, gluing and cutting as possible
2. Accuracy – the avid fans will notice, it’s important to get the details right. Always analysis a range of photos and plan well ahead. Make up can really come in handy to accentuate the look.
3. Embracing the Character – it doesn’t just end at the costume. Adopting the personality, quirks, sounds, and trademarks can be just as important.
Many, that dont know cosplay, think that is like an exclusive club for ‘hard-core geeks’. Chris Snellgrove from Grunge says this is a misconception that comes from both inside and outside the cosplay community. To an outsider looking in, the intricate and elaborate costumes can be misconstrued as a hard-core members-only club. Chris notes that there are a few hard core cosplayers that are sceptical about anyone rocking up without the effort. However, overall the community is very welcoming and inclusive! The huge growth the community has seen over the years is an obvious indicator that cosplay is not a private club.
Overall, I’ve learnt there’s more to the cosplay community than meets the eye. Cosplay is a spectrum that anyone can join in on, from avid hard core fans to first-timers giving it ago. I am actually pretty keen now to grab a costume (mine would be latex off course) and head to a cosplay event!
You can check out Chris’ full article ‘Things everyone gets wrong about cosplay’ here: http://www.grunge.com/49930/things-everyone-gets-wrong-cosplay/
All Photos were found on Pinterest, you can check out the Supatex Pinterest here https://www.pinterest.co.uk/supatex/
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