Have you ever wanted to dress up as your favorite superhero or movie character? Have you ever wanted to walk in the shoes of a video game protagonist or a television star? There is a whole subculture you are missing if you want any of this. Costume roleplay, or cosplay, is a huge subculture that I, personally, am a part of. I love the ability to walk in the shoes of characters that I love and enjoy. Cosplayers mainly show off their skills at conventions or cons such as Comic Con or other conventions like Pop Con and Wizard World. All of these conventions draw a slew of cosplayers varying in skill and interests. Many are there to have fun and celebrate the geek culture.
The geek culture is full of dedicated fans who would love to experience the same worlds they crave and love. I personally have been to Indy Comic Con and Indy Pop Con. I loved both and really enjoyed attending. Being surrounded by other "Doctor Who" and "Star Wars" fans was great because you know what they are there for rather than asking everyone in a regular setting "What are your thoughts on Kylo Ren's force abilities?" In that sort of setting you would get some weird looks, but at a Comic Con you know there are people who are into the same geeky stuff. It's a great way to make friends with the wonderful cosplayers who will wow you every time.
Not everyone cosplays. Out of the people who go to these conventions, only about 20% of people cosplay. It's a popular hobby, but it is also not super common either. I myself have cosplayed, and I loved it. I finished my first cosplay over the summer and showed it off at Indy Pop Con. It was a blast. When someone would ask me if they could take a picture with me, it gave me a great feeling inside. They saw what I was dressed as and really appreciated it. It also gave me the feeling of accomplishment and made me feel happy. I loved it. I had cosplayed as a Titanfall Pilot from the first person shooter "Titanfall," which you can see below. I worked on the cosplay for a year, and it cost me a good sum of money. Cosplay is definitely expensive, but if you're interested, I have some tips and suggestions for you.
For your first cosplay, I would recommend something that doesn't require too much armor, such as a Stormtrooper or a COG Soldier from "Gears of War." That will make your first cosplay very difficult and very expensive. Now for my first cosplay, I had a helmet, knee pads, and shoulder pads. The knee and shoulder pads were not expensive at all. They ran me around $30 without the paint and stenciling. Adding that stuff was not hard and not expensive. Now the helmet was a different story. My ability to make a helmet was zero to none, so I had purchased it from an online cosplay store that took a big chunk out of my wallet. The helmet did turn out great and the cosplay came out just the way I wanted.
There are many ways of saving money. The first is going to second-hand stores or thrift shops. They are plentiful of clothing and shoes that are very cheap, so if your cosplay includes a lot of clothing rather than armor, these stores could be very beneficial. The ability to sew or knowing someone who can is very beneficial. You can then craft the article of clothing you wish to wear. Being hands-on is crucial for cosplaying. For my first cosplay, I did not craft many things, which I was okay with, but it caused me to spend so much money. For my next cosplay that I have already started on, I have already crafted the majority of my outfit without purchasing much. This makes me feel better about being a cosplayer because I can say I made this from scratch. This gives me a greater sense of accomplishment.
Cosplay is one of my biggest hobbies, and it gives me a great sense of satisfaction. Cosplaying at conventions brings out the best in people. When I see some of my favorite characters come to life, I get excited, and I appreciate that person for loving that character so much. It's a great experience, and I can't wait for my next con.