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Tell me about this cosplay thing!

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Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Liz. 06/06/10, 04:34 pm

[Admins: I'm not sure what forum would be most appropriate for this discussion, so assuming you're ok with it being here at all, please feel free to shift the thread should you see fit!]

So, CNZ, I was wondering how to start talking about stuff, and decided I'd just open up a thread for a discussion. What is cosplay about, what's the best part, why do people do it, what are you prud of since you've started? Basically, if you have anything you've always thought about cosplay(ers) or anything you think people should understand to really get it, post below!

Warnings: I might ask to use something you say here in my research, but I will always ask first and your username won't be associated. Still, don't post something if you're not comfortable with it being used (anyone can read on here after all).

Liz
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Kitten Slave. 06/06/10, 04:37 pm

Mmm, I think static, JP and the cosplay society have a writeup!
No help am I though!
whee
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By KotoneVersus. 06/06/10, 04:48 pm

I actually really like the transformation aspect of cosplay. Making something fictional and beautiful and turn it into something real and tangible. It's like bringing fantasy to life.

I like making this transformation with my own hands. There is an element of deep self satisfaction and accomplishment when you finish something and manage to create a replica of something that is fictional or otherwise impossible in real life. I quite like defying the whole "It's not real, you can't do that" thought that some people have.

What it does is combine a lot of things that I already enjoy such as acting (most people stay in character all the time while they're in cosplay, but I prefer to just enjoy myself and get into character on stage and for photoshoots), sewing, and being geeky.

A lot of people are under the impression that cosplayers want to become the character, as in play pretend... That's not for me. I understand that some cosplayers think of themselves that way, but I prefer the technical aspect rather than the fantasy aspect.
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Liz. 06/06/10, 04:57 pm

So you only play in character for set, limited times, and don't go the whole way as long as you're wearing the costume?

I know I've always been impressed by the way good cosplay can bring to life something that looks like it totally defies physics and/or logic! Anime type things often seem difficult to replicate. I think it's interesting, this idea of bringing into existence something that was only an idea before. Have I got that right?

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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By KotoneVersus. 06/06/10, 05:00 pm

I actually choose characters that I feel close to anyway. I end up being in character without meaning to because my own character is pretty similar to the character I've chosen. xD

And yeah, you got that perfectly right. That's exactly what makes cosplay AWESOME. Bringing ideas to life.
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Madam Madhatter. 06/06/10, 05:12 pm

I completly agree

I cosplay for the craft element.
Itís turning a 2D image into a 3D wearable art.

Including the problem solving elements involved, such as working around Anime (where hair defies gravity and fabric does impossible things).

As such one of my favourite definitions of cosplay is; Cosplay, the art of constructing the physically impossible with the (little) cash available.
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Cactiberry. 07/06/10, 01:41 am

The best part? The community, hands down. I've met a lot of people I've been able to become friends with and a lot more to admire xD It's actually kind of hard to describe, but unlike other so-called 'communities' I guess the NZ one is the type that makes you feel instantly welcome and part of it.

I'm also really proud of the skills I've learnt since I started, and can't wait to put them to use again when I stop procrastinating.
I'm actually really glad I started relatively 'early' into the cosplay scene - I can still cosplay little kids, and by the time I'm old and tall enough to cosplay other characters, I'll be able to make their outfits better c: (Hopefully.)
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Static. 07/06/10, 03:29 am

For me, it's the satisfaction of making stuff - but I'm a seamstress, so hey. Razz I'm also a photographer, and a lot of my motivation for making certain costumes is to take pretty pictures afterwards! It seems that very few NZ cosplayers actually go for the "roleplay" bit of cosplay - we seem to prefer making stuff and chillin' in costume with other poeple in costume :)

On the SPCC website we have some material on cosplay and the cosplay culture in NZ - http://www.cosplay.org.nz The parental info sheet and media release both have some good info in there.
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Liz. 07/06/10, 07:44 am

Hey, thanks for the link Static, it's interesting to see what definitions and explanations have been used for that material. Lucky for me I came to study this after the SPCC formed eh? I learned about cosplay through anime fandom, and I want to make sure I understand you guys fairly rather than making assumptions based on what I think I know already

Liz
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Aikome. 07/06/10, 08:45 am

For me it is multiple reasons; technical process of it and that feeling of accomplishing something people will admire/be astonished at. :3 I love trying to make the costume accurate as possible, the whole trying-your-best sheebang. I am proud that even though cosplay involves much work, I still want to do it ( . .lazy person /coughcough/ ).
As superfacial as it sounds, I also enjoy cosplay because many anime/game characters are beautiful and it just plain feels awesome to dress as them and prettify yourself up.

What Cacti said, the community. <3 It's great to be able to be in someones company who cosplays as well/has the same interests.
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Huntress. 07/06/10, 10:55 am

I like pushing myself and my technical ability. I like Cosplay as it is an easy way to judge how accurately and skillfully you can make things. I then take those skills and apply to my own work and portfolio. I'm motivated by a dream job and one day having my own business. Excellence and polish in technical ability are what makes this for me.

I love the characters I Cosplay but still choose competition pieces more on how hard they are to make and save my "just because" for non-competition. I'm competitive and driven and guess this is just another excuse for this aspect of my personality.

cheers
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By LintuwolfWiing. 07/06/10, 11:15 am

I agree that cosplay for me is about the craft part and the feeling of accomplishment when you finish something that you've fight with for weeks. It's also about the people too I think. I would have stopped cosplaying ages ago if it wasn't for all the amazing people I have met through it XD

For me it's also got a very personal aspect to it aswell. I love how for a night people will just see me as the character I am, as just whatever guy I'm cosplaying and not as the person I am and the things people assosiate me with XD I hope that made sence

Shawn
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Nikopol. 08/06/10, 10:03 am

Liz wrote:
So, CNZ, I was wondering how to start talking about stuff, and decided I'd just open up a thread for a discussion. What is cosplay about, what's the best part, why do people do it, what are you prud of since you've started? Basically, if you have anything you've always thought about cosplay(ers) or anything you think people should understand to really get it, post below!

Warnings: I might ask to use something you say here in my research, but I will always ask first and your username won't be associated. Still, don't post something if you're not comfortable with it being used (anyone can read on here after all).


Right now i cosplay for a bit of fun, as a hobby. It also constitutes some of my most important social events of the year [see below Razz ]. It's good fun to make a cosplay for a weekend at a convention, weilding some massive and absolutely impractical prop to go with the equally ridiculous outfit. I also don't mind the ego boost of people taking insane amounts of photos of you throught the weekend, like an impromptu superstar for a while .

But the major aspect i notice, from my perspective at the larger North American conventions i have gone to is the social aspect is key. Cosplays are almost always done in groups with many of you going from the same series, spending the weekend together with them. Generally shooting the breeze, exploring the con, fixing up malfunctions of the outfit together in hotel rooms, meeting other groups and socializing further. It's a great way to spend a weekend with some friends, and just generally mess around in outfits with a whole multitude of other people.
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Mischa. 08/06/10, 12:55 pm

I cosplay because I really enjoy sewing and making things and for the social aspects.

I'm a classic hobby/home dressmaker - I started sewing because I wanted designer clothes I couldn't afford on a student budget! I used to be really in to fashion, but the older I get the less I care (the old me would be discraced by my current wardrobe)

Basically I got bored sewing regular clothes -with costumes you can try out so many new techiniques and materials.

Here's something no-one else has mentioned : I also really enjoy gathering materials! I love shopping and hunting for the perfect shade of paint, or the right shaped button. I quite often go shopping with other cosplaying friends and it's really fun <3

I usually cosplay characters I love, but I would be mortified to "act" as them!
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Guest. 08/06/10, 01:02 pm

I've always been surrounded by craftspeople in my family. My grandma made the most amazing felt craft, and wove silk from silk collected from worms from her propery. My parents house is covered in tapestries and cross-stitches and quilts made by the women in my family.
So I've been doing crafts of all kinds since I was about 4.
I kinda got stuck on this cosplay thing by accident.

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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By neimhaille. 08/06/10, 03:49 pm

As most of the replies are about personal experiences I'll reply that way as well :)

For me cosplay is a major outlet for my costuming obsession. And I do mean it is an obsession. Be it modern or historic I will bend you ear for hours if you give me the slightest chance ;)

The obsession isn't just about dressing up though. In fact that is a very minor part of what I do the vast majority is research.

Costume and clothing tell very rich tales by themselves. Very few of us make zero decision in what we wear, no matter how quickly we dress in the morning our choices of clothing are made up from our personal history and the society around us. The very fabric our clothes are made of also tell a tale- where it was woven and what imbargos prevent us from using other materials. Our cultures constrain how far boundaries can be pushed and we decide to push or not.

Cosplay can allow a safe mode of exploration of ideas that we cannot express daily. Or cannot invest in daily due to time and money being tight. It is pure fun on the surface but it speaks to a deeper desire of expression- even though the art of someone else.

And the craft of course ;) I love puzzles and figuring things out for myself. Desperately love getting my hands dirty to really be truly part of what I wear.

I do prefer interpretation for the making and for pure research I love trying to reverse engineer works of wearable art.
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Liz. 10/06/10, 04:02 pm

Cool, a few of you have mentioned the challenge of replicating something in a costume - so you'd aim to be as accurate as possible to the 'original'? I say 'original' in quote marks because there often is no physical original, just however much you can see in an anime, game, etc, and for historical costumes I would imagine you're more often imitating a type rather than a particular outfit (but I could be wrong).

Here's another question to throw into the mix - what's more important/enjoyable, making a costume or wearing it?
Thanks for all your answers so far, it's really interesting!

Liz
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Icarus. 10/06/10, 04:21 pm

@Liz: I guess it differs from person to person, some people do their best to aim for absolute accuracy, while others, for example, love the character yet they want to be comfortable in the costume, so they alter the design to fit themselves. (like adding a little length to those short skirts)

and same with the most important/enjoyable part, making costumes can be extremely stressful and difficult, after all most of us have never touched a sewing machine until we got into this craze~ but that self accomplishment/learning that comes with the blood, sweat and tears is alllll worth it~~ not to mention the forced creativity involved just to get those certain props perfect~

wearing a costume is something truly amazing, you're able to do things wouldn't usually do before! The quietest person can become someone on stage booming their voice over the audience. And you instantly connect/make friends when you see someone cosplaying from a series you adore as much as they do~

both aspects, I guess, would be just as important as the other~
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Static. 10/06/10, 04:29 pm

I think making and wearing are equally important. Some people may have a preference (myself included), but if you don't actually wear the costume yourself, it's not really cosplay - in my opinion, at least! You don't have to roleply or get in-character, but showing off your handiwork is very important, and if you just put it on a dummy or a model and show THEM off, you've lost some of the spirit of the hobby. It's a very DIY thing!

Accuracy is a bit of a personal thing. Some people successfully design original outfits based on what a character would wear, or pull together different elements from different outfits; while some study up large to get all the angles on an outfit and replicate it as exactly as possible :) It's totally a science Razz
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By KotoneVersus. 10/06/10, 04:37 pm

I try and make it as accurate as possible, but I change some things slightly so it seems more 'realistic'. Like toning down bright colours, or applying physics to 'gravity defying' hair/capes etc.

There is also the problem of being able to move around and actually get IN to the costume which has to be considered. Sometimes accuracy (unfortunately) must be sacrificed in exchange for practicality, but we do try and make the illusion that a costume is put on in a different way by making use of layers or hiding zips with fabric...

I think making and wearing the costume is both equally enjoyable. The best thing about making the costume is the excitement that you are going to wear it, and the best thing about wearing the costume is the knowledge that you made it.

As a costumer, you can't really have one without the other. Very Happy
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Huntress. 11/06/10, 08:36 am

I prefer the making process (although I love wearing costumes as well) because I like to learn and develop new skills. Often what I learn is valuable in many other future costumes and the mistakes I make or the techniques I come up with due to strictures of price/availability of material/HOW-am-I-going-to-go-to-the-loo-in-this!!! is what I value most.

For me it is a stepping stone for future goals; not just a hobby. The relevant level of importance and purpose it has in the person's life and goals change the why and consequently what drives them and what is most important. Is it a hobby? Is it pure love of a character? Is it a desire to learn new techniques for specific goals Is it a combination of these things?

Personal motivation and level of importance based on hobby/career type things totally change what the focus is. I focus on accuracy. I love the characters I pick - but often there is a choice to find something that I can love and will challenge me technically and enhance specific skill sets. Consequently, the more obscure and detailed the better.

I like competition and picking something difficult to challenge myself, raise the bar and inspire others are all parts of what drives me.

Glad you find all this interesting.
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Aikome. 11/06/10, 10:52 am

I also think making and wearing it are equally important. Although, if I were more fond of "dressing up" rather than creating the costume, I'd buy it/get it commissioned.
Though the technical process is a large part of it, wearing the costume is (as Icarus said) an amazing thing; you make many connections and that's when you can actually express your fandom~ in a sorts.
Wearing the costume can be a challenge as well as making it.
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Liz. 13/06/10, 04:58 am

Quote :
if you don't actually wear the costume yourself, it's not really cosplay - in my opinion, at least!
- would people agree with that? I guess it'd vary between people and, as Huntress said, why you're doing it.

Aikome mentioned comissions - how common is that? Someone else makes the costume but you get to wear it? It sounds to me like doing this, you're not just being a model, you're still getting to 'be' that character for a while, wearing the costume as an activity in itself. But is wearing something you've made yourself a different experience?

Thanks for all this everyone, it's really interesting and good to be able to 'talk' with a few of you at once!

Liz
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Cactiberry. 13/06/10, 05:11 am

Yeah, definitely - wearing it is half of the process, lol. In my opinion, at least.

Uhmmm. I'm never gotten a commission, and I'm only doing my first one now xD, and it really depends on what it is - some people offer partial part of a costume (Eg props, or wig styling), others the entire costume, or as much as the customer wants, really. In NZ, I reckon it's not as common is it is elsewhere - most of us make our own (Or at least that's what I've observed.)

Just putting forth my opinion, I'm a n00b cosplayer myself xD
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Re: Tell me about this cosplay thing!
Post By Hannah. 13/06/10, 06:37 am

i've gotten a couple of commissions myself , these are usually the ones outside my current skill level but are still characters i love (i don't have the patients to wait for my skills to catch up >.<)
i have also made a few cosplays myself. To me cosplay is more wearing a costume and making it than the actual roleplay. Although you do tend to act more like a character when dressed as them. i love the creativeness and challenge that comes with making something different and sometimes way outside the normal .

The people you meet are also Awesome!
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