Cosplay: Art from Imagination
By CC Trifoso
As Halloween approaches, most of us cannot wait to buy our costumes and hit the streets for trick-or-treating. But then there are those people who “treat” themselves to an entire year of dressing up.
These individuals are called cosplayers.
Cosplay is short for “costume play” and involves a person creating a costume to resemble a fictional character. It is enjoyed by people of all ages, genders, and races who spend months working tirelessly on costumes for upcoming conventions and photoshoots.
Veteran cosplayers Kohalu and Liliphae, who did not want their last names revealed, discussed the challenges of cosplay.
“When you’re doing a big, difficult cosplay it is very time consuming and extremely expensive,” explained Kohalu. “A hard cosplay will take months and months, and hard work everyday.”
However, this labor-intensive work can pay off. The costumes that cosplayers work on are usually characters and people that they admire or feel a connection with. In the cosplay community, people can feel at home when embodying someone they wish they could be.
Alex (who also didn’t want their last name revealed) cosplayed as Leona from the video game League of Legends and provided some insight.
“I usually see a little bit of myself in a character,” said Alex. “Being these characters lets me be who I want to be. I can wear outfits that make me feel comfortable and wear clothing that makes me feel good about myself. And now that I’ve actually developed skills, I get to show off my craft, in addition to the other things.”
This is how most get into cosplaying. Dressing up and taking on a different persona can be an excellent form of therapy. Developing cosplay skills for personal enjoyment has become less of a competition of who can crank out a costume in a limited amount of time that will also look the cleanest, and more of people showcasing their love for cartoons and crafting.
“It’s a big creative outlet because I love to make things, pretty things…trying to make it look as good as possible. I find a lot of joy in the craftsmanship,” explained Kohalu.
In my own experience, cosplay has boosted my confidence and given my life originality. I’ve found that it has encouraged my imagination and given me an outlet for creativity. For the past three years, I have dressed up as the cast of Scooby Doo for Halloween. This year will be number four as Velma. In the past, I never would have had the courage to embody these characters, but with the addition of cosplay into my life, I’ve been able to express myself through what I find enjoyable.
Cosplay requires a lot of commitment and dedication to the art being created. The possibilities of outcomes are limitless in this artistic expression. It recognizes the importance of individuality. Cosplay is about not being afraid to be yourself because it’s for everyone. Cosplay focuses on the relationships that are made while creating costumes derived from characters that have made a positive impact on a person’s life. So if you want to design a costume beyond the Halloween holiday, go for it! There’s a big community out there that’s willing to encourage your imagination.