by Kit Cosplay July/August 2014
“Ok, I get what cosplay is… but WHY do you do it?”
“Ok, I get what cosplay is… but WHY do you do it?”
This may seem like a fairly straightforward question, but if you ask a group of ten cosplayers, chances are that you’ll get ten different responses. People make and don a costume for a variety of reasons, and they’re all completely valid (unless you’re putting on a costume to be a creep, then, well, that’s not so awesome).
I reached out to a few of my friends that cosplay to ask why they do it, and received some amazingly thoughtful answers. I was originally going to take snippets from their responses, and write an article around that, but I found that I could not cut any of their answers – they are all so candid, different, and robust that I wanted to share everything they had to say. So, without further ado, let’s find out what they had to say.
Brigid of Sinclaire Cosplay says: “I cosplay because it gives me an opportunity to be, even just for a weekend, a one-woman show. I get to simultaneously express my need to act, use my creative skills, and pay homage to something I care about. I also get to solve a puzzle with every new costume; studying references, drafting patterns, and shopping for the perfect material.”
What particularly stuck out to me from Brigid’s response was her admittance of enjoying the planning, drafting, and construction phase of cosplay – she refers to it as a “puzzle” that needs to be solved. Brigid is an absolute wizard at constructing beautiful ballgown costumes – keep up with her projects here.
In response to “why do you cosplay?” Meris said, “I cosplay because I have always enjoyed costumes and playing dress-up. Cosplay gives me a medium to express my enjoyment of a character or franchise. And, it’s a fun way to challenge, improve, and show off my sewing skills. Additionally, cosplay gives [my husband] and I something geeky to do together at cons!”
Having a partner in crime when cosplaying has always been a great motivator for me. Meris and her husband work together to construct awesome couple costumes. She writes a sewing blog with some helpful insight in costume construction at www.fabricalchemist.com
|Matt as Batman|
The next person I talked to was Matt, who does a fantastic Batman. Matt regularly spends a lot of time volunteering with Comic Book Characters for Causes, and has a heart of gold. His response was: “When I first started my Batman cosplay, it was because of my relationship with the character. Whether it was play-acting, or for the aspect of the costume being some sort of tribute, it was all about me. However, now that I have done some events in costume, I really appreciate the relationships that the people I’ve met have with the character. I bring back their memories, I bring back their childhood, and it’s like they’re meeting a hero. It’s so much more about [fans of Batman] now, more than ever. “
Abi of Abi Sue Cosplay also volunteers a lot of her time with CBC4C as well. She says: “I’ve been cosplaying for about 5 years now, and I can say that my reasons for doing so grow every year. When I started, I was just interested in having a crafting project to work on, and wanted a costume to wear when I attended my first convention. Now that I’ve been cosplaying for a while, I have many more reasons to keep going. I love the way you can be someone else for a day. Put on a costume, and your “normal life” with a job, bills, responsibilities… melts away – you’re suddenly somebody else. Sometimes, in the eyes of children, you really are that character (and that’s really rewarding).” She goes on to say that, “I have a giant list of costumes that I want to do, and they keep getting more complicated. I love the crafting part of cosplaying, it lets me be super creative and feel like I’ve accomplished major feats when I finish a costume. I also meet the most amazing people and get to volunteer to help raise funds for children’s charities – I mean, really, its super rewarding to be able to use a hobby to help children. It’s an amazing community that I have the privilege of being a part of.”
My friend Kayla really drove it home, with her response: “I cosplay because it’s an escape for me. Life throws us curve balls everyday. And, sometimes, life can be hard. Cosplay gives us a chance to be someone else. It could be a cute princess, or a mighty warrior… For that one moment, I feel completely free [of life’s hardships].” Kayla does cosplay photography in addition to cosplaying. You can find her works of art here.
|AJ as Captain America|
Lastly, A.J. had a very altruistic reason for cosplaying: “I have long since learned that being part of something bigger than yourself is better than going at it alone. With the cosplay I do, I get to be part of a huge world of imagination and hope. No longer am I merely average-guy A.J., but I’m Captain America and I have a whole pantheon of heroes to back me up to go out and make the world a little bit better than it was before.”
I found it particularly interesting that there’s a couple underlying themes amongst all the separate responses; People participate in this hobby like other people read a good book, or watch a movie – it’s a chance to escape the responsibilities of life for a time, and have the freedom of expressing love for a story. Additionally, it seems that people truly love making others happy through their cosplay. It’s a great outlet for exercising creativity and bonding with other members of the community. I’d love to hear more responses; if you cosplay – why do you do it?
Until next month!
Kit Cosplay is a co-founder of the Comic Book Charcters For Causes fundraising and charity cosplay group. Whether you are interested in cosplay as a spectator, just starting out, or have been doing it for years, Kit hopes that her monthly column entertains or inspires you. Reach out to Kit Cosplay on Facebook, Twitter, or shoot her an email – She’d love to chat with you!