Reasons not to Cosplay- Felandaris Cosplay
Confession: I’m about a decade late to the nerdy dress-up (cosplay). I was aware of it, quietly followed its growing popularity, politely complimented cosplayers at cons and online. All while ignoring my own growing wish to partake, to be pulled over by photographers and have my picture up on Facebook pages.(Felandaris is most known for her Morrigan cosplay from Dragon age.)
I had good reasons to avoid cosplaying: I was too plain, too unskilled, too pregnant, then too old. Eventually, something about the Dragon Age games seduced me into trying my hand at wearing a purchased Inquisitor cosplay. You know, participating a little while staying in my old, untalented plain-lane. After that first taste, though, that pesky bug wouldn’t give it a rest.
I caved again with a beautiful Etsy commission of Triss Merigold’s Witcher 3 outfit to which I added a few humble details and accessories. This was, after all, still my I Just Can’t Sew era. Ironically, that period ended just a few weeks later, early 2017.
When creating my Morrigan cosplay I cos-tested her hair and make-up from Dragon Age, and her regular armour (if one can call it such) wasn’t going to be eye-catching enough. No, I had to make up for all those cosplay-less years by going big, bulky and outrageous. Her Renaissance-style ballgown from Inquisition is a vision of velvet and satin complete with a studded corset and leather gloves. Frustratingly, I couldn’t find a purchasable version within my budget that promised to be of any quality. But the bug was strong, and so I took matters into my own newbie hands.
A one- day sewing course and a machine purchase later I was officially working on my first fully handmade cosplay. And somehow, incredibly, with the cheerleading of friends and a determination I didn’t know I had, the Morrigan cosplay and dress came together.
Wait, I made this?! (Photo: Ken Coleman)
A year on said dress not only hasn’t fallen apart, I’ve improved on it and made other cosplays from scratch. In November I wore one of my creations on stage while slaughtering singing the Sailor Moon theme- in Japanese, dressed as human Luna, fulfilling a silly old dream I’d had for the better part of twenty years. Without cosplay I’d have never had the opportunity nor confidence to get up there and do it.
Those moments epitomise what cosplay has come to mean to me: It’s all about discovering what you can rather than cannot do. About ditching the reasons not to and diving right into all those new skills, materials and characters. About persevering when you mess up, trying again and seeing your piece through to the end. It’s been a wonderful year-and-a-bit discovering ever-new things- be that working with foam, learning about fabrics or trying new make-up techniques.
Of course, I’m not the only person who spent too long not cosplaying for reasons that shouldn’t really have held them back.
Let’s take a look at some common obstacles aspiring cosplayers face- and, of course solutions, because we want to see you (yes, YOU) cosplay, too!
I don’t have a lot of money
I hear ya. So much. Luckily, it doesn’t always have to set you back half a month’s wages for cosplay costumes.
The term Closet Cosplay describes costumes you can put together from your own wardrobe – think girls and guys from various animes, or all those superheroes when they’re not flying through the air saving the world. There’s even entire lists of series to closet-cosplay from.
Or, if you’re feeling crafty and have the equipment, you could try your hand at making a cosplay. If not, there might be a friend’s costume you could borrow, or a second-hand cosplay you could buy. These tend to be advertised within the community, such as the Guild of Nerds group.
I don’t have any crafting or sewing skills
Yep. Been there, let that hold me back. There’s choices to be made here, of course- do you want to learn how to sew or wield Worbla? Or do you prefer spending your time actually watching the shows you want to cosplay from rather than constantly be chasing deadlines?
Again, closet cosplay can be a hassle-free method of becoming the character of your dreams, as can borrowing a full costume or parts of it from a friend.
Then there is pretty much a small industry now dedicated to making not just Halloween-type costumes but elaborate character outfits for cosplayers who prefer to buy their stuff. You can choose between low-budget choices from larger ranges, which will typically be made and shipped from China, or the more custom and expensive options commissioned from crafters on Etsy and the like.
And if you do want to take the plunge and start making your own stuff, there are literally tons upon tons of resources out there. Offline there are not only general sewing classes but also an increasing amount of cosplay-specific crafting courses. Online you can search for pretty much the most obscure character from that 80s anime, add “cosplay tutorial” and you’ll find instructions on making it.
One resource I’ve found incredibly useful is Cosplaytutorial.com. This vast collection features tutorials and tips in video, photo and article form organised by item category, type of craft and even character. Check it out and be inspired!
There are several aspects to this. Weight and body image are incredibly personal and it’s nobody’s place to tell you how you should or shouldn’t feel about your body. You might be truly uncomfortable in yourself putting on that D.Va suit- unless, say, it could be modified into something less ruthless to any body larger than a size 6?
Then there are of course, other people’s opinions (which shouldn’t matter but they can still hurt). Having grown up overweight myself I look back in regret at how many things I did not dare to do or take part in because of the prospect of mean comments. While most in the community will vocally condemn bullying, it’s not something that’s ever going to be fully eradicated from any area of society.
There are places such as the Plus Size Cosplayers group on Facebook which offer support, inspiration and ideas to get started.
I have a disability
Again, most will agree this isn’t something that should hold you back. A quick search will show you some fun and inspiring cosplays people with disabilities have put together. CosAbility is a community dedicated to showcasing and celebrating their creations.
I’m afraid my cosplay won’t be noticed
Naturally, when you spend two hours getting into that outfit and doing your hair, you want to be seen. If you’re cosplaying from a popular franchise there is naturally a chance of blending into the army of Harley Quinns or Deadpools you see at some cons. If being seen and photographed is indeed important to you, try to stand out.
How about not cosplaying Yennefer or Triss from The Witcher but a more minor character such as Shani or Keira Metz? Or a white-haired aged Wolverine, a Steampunk Tuxedo Mask or a “naked” Sim with a pixelated cardboard front to cover your modesty? I’ve seen each of these and they’re all original and eye-catching. The possibilities are endless, as is true for cosplay as a whole.
So, inspired yet? Then get up and become your dream character- if this old lady can do it, so can you!