Cosplaying is the art of dressing up as a character from a movie, TV show, anime, video game, or another source of entertainment. Given the high degree of creativity involved, some may even call it a form of art. Some cosplayers enjoy it as a daily activity, while others prefer to keep it as a hobby. Either way, cosplaying allows individuals to build communities. At cosplaying events or photoshoots, cosplayers can admire each other’s work, and enjoy the praise received from others who simply like viewing the creations.

To get a more detailed perspective on the topic of cosplaying, The Medium interviewed two cosplayers: third-year DEM specialist Valerie Shih-Lau, and  third-year art and art history specialist Natalie Chan.

THE PURPOSE OF COSPLAY

“It’s like a family,” said Shih-Lau. “Everyone’s so friendly and understands the whole process behind cosplaying.”

Shih-Lau and Chan both agree that cosplaying and cosplay communities are close-knit in that everyone shares the same passion for recreating characters. People from all walks of life come together at cosplaying events to discuss their characters, how they made their costumes, and the materials involved in the process. Cosplayers give each other tips, advice, and praise for great costumes. These discussions are invaluable for cosplayers who want to improve their techniques by learning from what other cosplayers do.

“I suppose I’m kind of biased because I do tend to dress more as League characters than any others,” stated Shih-Lau.

For Chan, her tastes draw from a broader range of sources, “Personally, my inspiration comes from a variety of places. So anime, movies, TV shows.”

Cosplayers tend to have a variety of characters to choose from when it comes to cosplaying, but of course there will be preferences. Individual preferences can vary depending on trends, peresonal favorites, or the type of event.

MAKING  THE COSTUME

What Shih-Lau and Chan agree upon is that a lot of time and effort is needed in order to cosplay. The whole process itself is one that requires patience—and sometimes the vision you have of a costume will come out differently once it’s created. Especially when the props involved defy the laws of physics—an unrealistic weapon, for instance. In cases like these, cosplayers have to improvise.

Shih-Lau stated that research is important for cosplaying, in order to determine which character to choose. A cosplayer needs to take into consideration the ease of creating a specific costume, as well as the materials which might have to be used, and the time it would take.

In addition to in-depth research, cosplayers must try their best to come up with materials that can fit into their budget, while maintaining the purpose of the prop. However, costumes may require fixing throughout an event and so cosplayers must prepare for such a scenario.

In addition to in-depth research, cosplayers must try their best to come up with materials that can fit into their budget, while maintaining the purpose of the prop. However, costumes may require fixing throughout an event and so cosplayers must prepare for such a scenario.

However, despite some unglamorous aspects of cosplaying, Shih-Lau and Chan agree that it is a generally positive experience.

“What’s not so fun is definitely the fact that we have to carry around these huge props that can sometimes be really heavy,” Shih-Lau said. In response, Chan added that people are always willing to help out when they find a cosplayer struggling.