Cosplay: Yes, You Can!


Many children participated in cosplay growing up, knowingly or not. Donning “Jedi” robes and fighting siblings with lightsabers was a staple in my household, and you can bet that Halloween would treat the parental units to the endearingly awful acting of young’uns. But why stop dressing up and acting after Trick-or-Treating has become inappropriate for you to continue? While in the world of anime conventions, cosplay can become a fierce competition with costumes reaching ever more ludicrous designs, the humble layman is certainly capable of procuring a costume through one of several ways. As Halloween is approaching, I will bequeath unto you my oh-so-vast experiences with these methods (/s).


photo by Sarah McGowan
photo by Sarah McGowan

Buy It


Feeling lazy? Overwhelmed? Incapable? Look no further than Etsy, eBay or one of the many cosplayselling websites to buy your very own Chinese-made costume (occasionally they’re not Chinese). Many of these– especially the simpler ones– are quite good. However, you should always look at reviews (if there are any), as they can sometimes be a cruel approximation.


As with everything, you get what you pay for. Cosplay up to 20,000円 is typically decently made, but with not the highest quality of materials. Really consider what you want out of the outfit: Will you wear this more than once? Can you justify the cost? Will you be okay if parts of it fall off throughout the night? (This is especially common for accessories with shoddy attachments. Consider bringing a small sewing kit for repairs.)


If you want to buy around Kansai, Animate (locations in Himeji, Kobe, Kyoto, and Osaka) carries wigs, costumes, and various accessories. Mandarake and several shops in Den Den Town in Osaka also sell costumes. Places like Don Quijote may offer (low-quality though more affordable) costumes as well. Online, I’ve had good experiences using this shop on eBayhttp://stores.ebay.com/ayanamisatorucosplaywig/ for wigs.


HPCosplayWing It


Daiso and other 100円 shops have many items that can easily be bent to your will. With a little creativity, your costume will be easily recognizable. Admittedly, the details aren’t present usually, but if that doesn’t bother you, this is probably the cheapest method to fancying yourself up. I tend to buy makeup for costumes here as it’s cheap and I don’t own much in general. Get that guy-liner going, people!


Looking in your closet is another great place to start. For the final Harry Potter movie release (in case you didn’t already realize that I’m a gigantic nerd), my friends and I used our gowns from graduations, pinned on printed out house crests, and duct-taped ties to be the proper colors. Simple (though cheap-looking) and effective.


AlterCorsetBack&SkirtAlter It


This has been my go-to method for many years. Buy a relatively simple costume of the character you want to portray then add in details to your heart’s content. One of my favorite projects was painting an accurate design onto an obi. Another one was adding wefts and absurd amounts of gel to a wig for the proper aesthetic. Supplies for altering can be found at your local craft store or Daiso.


Make It


Daunting but worthwhile, creating your costume from scratch is highly rewarding. While I’ve made pieces here and there, I’ve only sewed my whole costume once. This Halloween will be attempt #2. You will need a good sewing machine– do not be fooled by the cheapest options on Amazon: they are largely useless and can’t even sew backwards to close stitches.


After you’ve acquired a sewing machine and before you get anything else, you’ll need a plan. Who will you cosplay? What fabric will you use? How much will you need? Then you can purchase your material (and matching thread– visible stitching is ugly stitching) and have at. Yuzawaya on Center Gai in Sannomiya has a good selection of fabrics and other crafty needs, as does Toraya in Namba.


Props are also fun!
Props are also fun!

Tutorials (see below) are extremely helpful if you’re inexperienced in the ways of creating clothing, but don’t let their number daunt you and make you hold back from getting started. Personally, I learn best by doing. I learned a lot making my costume last year (all of which I’ve promptly forgotten as it’s been a long time since I’ve sewed).


http://cosplaytutorial.com/list.php and http://www.cosplay.com/forumdisplay.php?f=171 are great resources for tutorials.


A note on colored contacts: PLEASE get a prescription and buy from a retailer that requires one, even if you have perfect vision. The risk of faulty lenses to your health is not worth the convenience.


Have fun crafting!


Brittany Teodorski


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