Cosplay is an amazingly creative hobby that connects passionate fans and artists from all over the world. Never tried it? You should!
Creating a cool costume or prop out of ordinary materials like fabric and floor mats is incredibly fun. But cosplay is so much more than that. It’s meeting new people, learning new skills and all of this while dressed like your favourite character!
The story of how I got into cosplay began many years ago, back in 2003. I was still in school and just discovered that there were conventions (fan gatherings) happening in Germany. I read some articles about it and just loved the idea of dressing up as my favourite characters! As a huge fan of Dragonball I could not wait to get started. Due to my budget limitations I collected only the cheapest materials and protected them like treasures. Then I finally I grabbed the old sewing machine of my grandmother (probably from a time before the great war) and tried to give it my all. I was scared to ruin my precious fabric, but also hyped about creating my very first costume. It was like trying to beat the boss in a video game and losing would erase my save point permanently. Naturally, the machine died half way trough and forced me to finish rest by hand. Just another challenge, but nothing that would stop me working on my costume! I spent a few sleepless nights full with cursing and bloody fingers, but I finished everything in time! Becoming the Great Saiyaman was an incredible feeling and I’ll never forget how much my chest hurt just from being so damn proud. I did it all by myself and didn’t even gave up when my machine left me. Finishing this costume was an incredible boost for my self confidence and taught me that I can accomplish anything if I just believe in myself and give it a shot! My life completely changed after that.
And I think this is how everyone starts! You pick a character you like, grab some cheap materials and give it a go. Doesn’t matter how good or bad your costume turns out, if you actually look like the character or not or even if you made the entire costume yourself or bought it. It’s all about having fun. My first cosplays were silly, held together by safety pins and hot glue and I surely didn’t look like the tall, muscular man I tried to portrait – and it didn’t matter. I had a great time, not only walking around in costume amongst similar minded people, but also because I made the entire thing with my own two hands.
Cosplay for yourself, create something with your own hands, experiment with new materials and keep in mind it’s okay to fail. Learn to be proud of yourself and most important: Just have fun!
“Talent” is just not giving up when you fail. And everyone fails at the beginning. Nobody is born with the talent to create great costumes without practice and endurance. You won’t become a master over night and your first costume won’t look as good as you want, but you’ll improve with ever single project. Just compare my Dragonball costume from above to one of my more recent costumes, Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn. It’s not talent. It’s just years of refusing to give up.
As times goes on, your workspace and tool selection will grow as well. I started at the dining table of my families living room, then after moving out for university, I dedicated half of my own room to cosplay before I finally moved to a big workshop together with my husband years later. No matter how much space you have, it’s important to keep everything organised. IKEA has a large selection of shelves, boxes, containers and tables that won’t cost you a limb. An organised room leaves space for imagination and time you would otherwise need to find things can better be used to actually make things.