Before diving deeper in this, let’s know more about Cosplay and why suddenly it has achieved the zenith of popularity. Many people define Cosplay as a practice of dressing up as a movie, book, or a video game character. Over the recent decades, dressing up as a famous character has become a mainstream trend. Cosplay events, live shows and comic cons are becoming popular each year and now thousands of people are linked to the cosplay industry directly or indirectly. A recent mega comic con event held in UK observed nearly a hundred and thirty thousand people in attendance which reflects the rise of this industry.

The History of Cosplays

The concept of cosplays goes centuries back when Masquerade balls used to be a part of carnival season and involved participation of thousands of people celebrating marriages and other dynastical events dressed up in an elaborative manner. However, it was during the 19th century when the concept of ‘Costume Parties’ was born. Fashion and media stars used to host themed parties where guests dressed in simplistic and abstract costumes illustrating an object or a concept like ‘patriotism’ or ‘season’ etc. It is believed that A.D. Condo’s fictional Martian character named ‘Mr. Skygack’ was the first character whose costumes were designed for fans. The concept went on for years and became a sensation in the Japanese fashion culture due the immense popularity of anime and manga characters. Fans of anime and manga started emulating their favorite characters by wearing costumes.

History of Cosplays
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What makes a Cosplay so special?

Today, Cosplays are not just limited to dress made of a common fabric incorporating a character’s face as a mask, curves, funky colors and other features. It has grown into an industry of huge potential. Now thousands of artists, creators, designers, painters and technicians are linked with it. The cosplay industry is not bound to a single country or continent, it has been absorbed into almost every country. This ability has been a major reason behind its high popularity.

  • Creativity – cosplays reflect immense creativity and hard work. It’s not a job of a single man or a designer to manufacture a cosplay, in fact, it takes a team of designers, tailors, painters, and even technicians to fabricate a single costume. Cosplay does not only consist of a body-length costume, it also incorporates a character’s shoes, face mask, wigs, pads etc. to give THE Look!
  • Art – cosplays can briefly be describes using this single word. There is no limit to the cosplay industry. A cosplay can imitate a character belonging to any movie, of any language, video game, cartoon or anime. Costume designing goes under a vigorous process, starting from an initial design which is usually done by a digital designer using a computer software. Then selection of fabric required to craft the body suit and mask takes place. That is followed by choosing shoes that compliments the character. A makeup artist works on the required hair wig that mimics the character’s hair and finally a worthy tailoring team fabricates the cosplay. There are many characters in movies who have a signature weapon or armor. Similarly, their cosplay also incorporates that signature feature of the character. The designing and fabrication of this feature is a completely different process. This way, cosplay industry has been able to link together thousands of artists and people.
  • Promotion of showbiz and video game industry – if you pay a visit to cosplay event happening in your country, you may see people dressed as characters you have never seen before. In this way, you will be able to learn more about that character, its origin movie or video game, its writer etc. This is how the cosplay industry has acted as air under the wings of showbiz and video game industry.
  • The rise of digital designing – modern cosplays feature the requirement of graphic designing and illustration to give a trendy look to a certain cosplay. Graphic designers and digital creators who used to struggle with a lack of jobs are now finding immense help through this industry.
  • SFX – the concept of SFX makeup is still relatively new due to limited number of SFX makeup artists present. However, this small trend has gained a lot of momentum in the past years due to its fusion with the cosplay industry. There are many cosplays which demand a special effect makeover which only an SFX artist can provide.
  • Fantasy – Cosplay has a tremendous positive psychological effect on people who deal with anxiety and traumat. For such people, dressing up as their favorite character for a day and being able to look like them makes them forget their worries. They roam around, act like their favorite character and communicate with others in the same way as their character does, leaving a constructive impact on their soul.
Cosplay so special
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A Whole Career out of Cosplay

As discussed above, cosplay industry has connected different communities together and has helped people financially and emotionally. This industry is not confined to a country or a certain group of people. It is estimated to have a worth of almost 40 billion dollars expanding to over 70 thousand employees all over the globe, with an immense annual growth rate of over 15%. Surely, this doesn’t sound like a small-scale industry to me!

Career out of Cosplay
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The Misconceptions and Misuse

People usually link cosplays to dressing up in tight, vulgar or sexy attire. Women, in particular, are accused of sexualizing as participants through their costumes. The media has become severely critical of cosplays due to this and has led parents to think of cosplays as a non-constructive and morally negative thing for their children to participate in. Hence, parents like to keep their children away from cosplays. However, the truth is entirely different, since cosplays can be a leading way of developing creativity and imaginative skills among the kids. It includes the aspects of sketching, designing, color fusion and makeup skills which can immensely help in growing the inventiveness and artistic skills of children.

An Industry Full of Potential

Without a shadow of a doubt, cosplay industry has the ability to grow as a major contributor to the economy of the world. Despite already having a worth of billions of dollars, there is still room for immense development and magnification. Some of its benefits are:

  • Employment opportunities.
  • Bringing fans and communities together using a constructive platform.
  • Adding to the creativeness and inventiveness of children

The Modern Cosplay

The modern cosplay has been taken to the next level thanks to its fusion with technology and engineering. The enormous amounts of accessories, mechanical components, electrical prosthetics for face and body as well as digital graphics for costumes are unparalleled. The Batman cosplay is no more limited to a mask, body suit and a cape. Today, it comes with a magnetic cape, an armor belt, a digital screen on the chest and a sensor-controlled mask. Surely this is just a beginning of the futuristic cosplay industry!

Modern Cosplay
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