From superheroes to anime characters, cosplayers use makeup, wigs, clothes, props, masks and more to become these people.
“You can make that stuff from basically just cardboard. It isn’t as expensive as it looks like,” says Jacob Davila, senior psychology major. “You start to really figure out how to break down certain pieces, what parts of a character’s costume is the most integral for the look and what’s not.”
“To me, it is super enjoyable and makes the hobby really open. You don’t have to do these huge extravagant things for everybody to be like: Wow, you look really cool.
“It’s just a very welcoming community. I didn’t have any bad experiences the first time, and then I just kept going with it,” says Davila.
Davila says he goes to a lot of comic-con events. These are “great introductions” to the hobby.
“Cosplay is the act of dressing up as a character or concept. People who do it regularly are called ‘cosplayers’. Cosplayers may also go above and beyond copying their character’s outfits—they might even ‘role-play’ as characters, copying their mannerisms and gestures,” according to Who Magazine.
While the term was first used in the 1980s, the practice of cosplaying has its roots in the early 15th century, according to Who.
Nadia Arnaout, a sophomore psychology major, says she has been cosplaying since 2012.
Arnaout started cosplaying as the owl from the anime “Death Note,” and has continued with many characters such as
a “humanoid GLaDOS from the video game Portal.”
While costumes can be expensive, Arnaout has found a way around that.
“I don’t really buy my cosplays,” Arnaout says. “I just thrift and alter it. I can go get fabric craft supplies for it.”
Arnaout says she became a cosplayer after being interested in anime. She is part of the Anime Club on campus.
“Anime Club does a thing for Halloween, ‘Cosplay Cafe,’ so people come to that in cosplay,” Arnaout says.
Other than those events, Arnaout goes to comic-con events.
“Comic-con, short for comic convention, is an event that celebrates ‘geek culture.’ Most conventions started as a place to buy and sell comics books, and talk about them with others. This expanded into other types of media such as films, TV and other mediums. And vice versa. Today, comic conventions celebrate any medium that has comic book traits, such as superheroes, sci-fi and horror. They also feature shows with cult followings or anything away from the ‘mainstream,’” according to Comic Conventions.info.
Davila says, “I have always been a fan of comic books. And then, I was rewatching Marvel movies, at the same time that I was thinking about it. While I was on Guardians of the Galaxy, I saw the character of Star-Lord, and the creative ideas just started coming through.”
While at these conventions, Davila says he met a lot of people, including celebrities.
“I’ve met so many different types of people. I met Ewan McGregor [actor] from ‘Star Wars,’” Davila says.
“It’s a very friendly community.
They’re all very personable. I get a lot of creative fulfillment from making costumes.”
When it comes to these costumes, Davila says it does not matter what you wear.
Davila and Arnaout have attended events in Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, Canada and beyond.
Both say the experience is more important than the costume.
“Cosplay has no gender,” says Arnaout. “Meaning, you can be a man and cosplay a woman character, you can be a woman and cosplay a man character. It doesn’t matter your gender. All that matters is having fun.”
By Sarah Shelton and Destene Savariau