While this site is dedicated to SDCC and all things involving it, a really big part of my convention life since I started attending conventions circa 1999 has been cosplay. This is a Japanese term from “costume play,” where you dress up as a character and, thus, “play” them. The term generally encompasses all people who dress up as a character now – whether from Japanese culture, American culture, or beyond. So this is my little post entailing the basics of cosplay etiquette and perhaps the little things you may want to consider before attending SDCC this year for your costume!
The cosplay community is ever-growing and it is wonderful to see all the happy people in fun costumes, but if you buy a costume please don’t lie about it. No one is going to condemn you if you just speak the truth, and those that do are the elitists that should not be a part of such a fandom community. There is no shame is buying something, especially if you enjoy wearing it! This is more of a courtesy than anything else. Plus, the person who did create it would be ecstatic if you were showing it off with their name attached!
My first time cosplaying, I was a little nervous. Silly, right? I ended up having such a good time and so many people came up to me that I was bubbling with excitement and good spirits all day. My first costume by myself was a lot of things I bought and altered, but was still surprisingly well-received. I didn’t think it was great but people enjoyed the fact that I tried and that I was happy, it seems! After awhile I learned how to use patterns, alter patterns, and create my own patterns to make my own costumes that fit well. I also got into playing with wigs, beading, painting, craft foam, and woodwork just from cosplay. Do it because you love it, not because it’s a competition. And I say this as a crazy competitive adrenaline junkie! I admire people who have better costumes and constantly work to improve my own with such inspiration. There is always someone better than you. Sorry, guys, there’s no Olympic event for “Best Cosplayer.” But let me know if one gets created. -;)
If you want to know something, ask. Most cosplayers are friendly and will happily talk about their costume since so much time, love, and money usually goes into it. “Where did you get those contacts?” “How did you make that prop?” “Is that even legal in America?!” Okay maybe they won’t answer the last question but it never hurts to try. Those that try to keep “trade secrets” don’t seem to be around as much anymore so this may or may not be applicable. If you personally feel insecure about your costume, take a deep breath and remember that someone wouldn’t ask unless they were interested! It is a compliment – take it as one. ^_^
Keep a pen and paper with you! Why? Because you might make some of the best friends ever through conventions and cosplay. This is how I have made some wonderful friends that I plan on keeping in touch with for a long, long time!
Got your own tips? Comment below! We’d love to hear them!