Any avid cosplayer will confirm that – cosplay is certainly more than just a simple hobby. It’s also a lot more exciting than throwing on a costume at Mardi Gras or Halloween and cutting a good figure at the party. Cosplay is, first of all, much more elaborate in terms of the quality of the costume, the loving details and accessories. Secondly, it’s not just about putting on a costume, but the chosen characters should also be acted out as convincingly and faithfully as possible in their traits, behavior, movements, etc. A real cosplayer therefore slips fully into the role and is always a bit of an actor as well. And many performances are actually ready for the stage!

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In this article we take a closer look at cosplay together with you – enjoy reading!

What exactly is cosplay and where does it even come from?

Cosplay has its origins in faraway Japan. After all, that’s where anime and manga come from, and originally it was precisely these protagonists, heroes and anti-heroes that fans took as inspiration to recreate as closely as possible. Gradually, the repertoire was expanded and now also characters from comics – especially Marvel and DC, of course – but also film and television, even novel heroes serve as models.

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Many cosplayers specialize in one genre, so for example:

  • Anime
  • Manga
  • Video Games
  • Film / TV
  • Books

Of course, the costume plays a very important role and this is usually self-designed, sewn and crafted by a real and passionate cosplayer. At least a purchased costume is personalized so that it is then something special and not a costume off the rack. Helpful are of course well-stocked online stores, where you can find not only complete costume sets, but also a lot of accessories like wigs, weapons, jewelry, masks, artificial body parts, contact lenses, make-up and much more.

The boom in Japan spilled over to the rest of the world in the 1990s, and the fan base has been growing ever since. Of course, social media has also contributed to this, because most cosplayers are very active in this area and use Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and, most recently, TikTok to draw attention to themselves and to show off the great costumes and performances.

Many cosplayers also keep emphasizing that cosplay is practically a lifestyle and the community of cosplayers is almost like a family. People help each other out with tips, sewing costumes, sourcing great accessories, etc. Accordingly, the atmosphere at fairs and conventions is simply huge and worth the effort for that reason alone.

Cosplay must really please you and arouse passion, because for a simple hobby, the fun is quite expensive. Because a good costume with all the accessories quickly goes into the hundreds of euros. Then there’s the trip to the convention, e.g. comic con or cosplay championship, movie premieres, book fairs, etc., plus admission and often accommodation and meals.

What does the typical cosplayer look like?

Cosplayers can be found in all age groups, but most of them are rather young, i.e. between 14 and 35 years. Women may be slightly outnumbered, but on the whole, cosplay is equally popular with both sexes.

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Most women like to choose quite daring outfits, because who would not like to walk around in their free time really sexy and revealing. In cosplay, pretty much anything goes, and most anime and comic characters are very feminine and attractive, both in terms of appearance and clothing.

Of course, there’s always something nerdy about cosplay – the cosplay scenes from The Big Bang Theory, where Sheldon and Co. go to Comic Con in Star Trek outfits, or when Leonard shows up at Penny’s Halloween party as Frodo, are certainly unforgettable.

Fandom and cosplay simply belong together and so it’s not surprising that at movie or book premieres and the like you meet hordes of Harry Potters, Star Wars Stormtroopers and one or the other of the Avengers at the respective event.

Can you make money with cosplay?

Yes and no – because as already mentioned, cosplay is an expensive pleasure. The costumes are expensive and time-consuming to make. In addition, there are the costs of attending the events, which are usually not small.

Nevertheless, there are several ways to earn money. On the one hand, there are the particularly skilled cosplayers who not only make stunning costumes for themselves, but also do so for less skilled cosplayers for a fee.

In addition, there are also some cosplayers who specialize in making certain accessories, such as wigs, jewelry, weapons, artificial body parts, and so on.

Some cosplayers also work as models for photo shoots or very often for events.

Most successful and well-known cosplayers naturally have social media presence and are influencers.

Those who regularly participate in conventions in the competitions that take place during them and are successful can also win prize money or attractive non-cash prizes.

In most cases, the money earned is then mainly enough to finance the next great costume and the trip to the convention – as a living it is usually not enough.

But few people mind, because after all it’s all about the fun!

Conclusion

It’s certainly undeniable that cosplay is definitely more than just a simple hobby. It’s more of a lifestyle. The community of cosplayers is close, warm and conspiratorial. To completely slip into the role, to play your favorite hero in attractive and, above all, creative costumes is simply fascinating. Once you start, you usually can’t get away from it!

So our advice is to just try it out for yourself. Don’t worry, in the beginning a bought costume of the middle price range will do. And you don’t have to venture onto the stage at the competition right away. Just stroll around the event dressed as your favorite hero from manga, anime, video game or movie among like-minded people and see if you enjoy it!