1.the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime.
The word is obviously a contraction of the words “costume” and “play”. Don’t let the word play fool you however, I want to stress that cosplay is indeed intended to be a fun and enjoyable experience for all, but it’s also serious work. Many cosplayers sew and construct their own garments and accessories, serious feats of labor and dedication! Cosplayers are some of the most ingenious individuals I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They sew, and thrift, and scavenge, and many design their own patterns for elaborate outfits that yet to exist for purchasing!
Several members of Geeks R Us were gracious enough to sit down with me, and allow me to pick their brains on the subject of cosplay and their own involvement.
Nathanael Wittlinger, pictured below as the iconic Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors, began his foray into the world of cosplay in 2009 when he dressed up as Jack Skellington for Halloween. In 2012 he attended UB Con in cosplay and was immediately struck by how into cosplay attendees got; he loved all the positive reactions and bystander attention. Nathanael is also a gifted puppeteer, and today has over 160 puppets! He performs various skits with these puppets on his YouTube channel, being heavily inspired by the legendary Jim Henson, and specifically his work on Sesame Street. He believes that puppets are great mediators, and he enjoys rescuing stray puppets from local thrift stores. I asked him what a dream cosplay costume would be for him, and he replied with Big Bird, of Snuffie from Sesame Street.
ProTip: If you want to make a career of cosplay go for it, but don’t make it your whole life. Prioritize your time and money.
Mathieu Crowley, pictured below with Elvira as a Vampire Prince of his own creation, got into cosplay as something to do for conventions. He has attended numerous conventions such as Roc Con, Monster Bash, and C2E2. When asked what his dream cosplays were he responded with, Cobra Commander, a movie authentic Darth Vadar, and Sarumon the White from Lord of The Rings.
Protip: Make friends with someone who knows how to sew!
Samantha Platek, pictured below as The Undertaker from Black Butler, first started cosplaying about two years ago. She said that it all really began when she started watching anime. She currently alternates between ten different cosplays, and has attended conventions such as Tora Con, Snowfest, and Anibash. Her top three cosplays are Grell, Tsukiyama, and Howl.Sam picks new cosplays as she watches new shows, so her list is ever increasing. When asked about her dream cosplays she said that it is her dream to build on the cosplays she currently has.
Protip: Take your time, do your research, but it’s never going to be 100% accurate and that’s okay.
Valentine Dudek pictured below as The Doctor, from Doctor Who, says that they’ve always been a theatre kid, and then one day realized, “hey, cosplay is a thing.” The rest is history. He frequently cosplays as Renzi from Bleach, the 10th Doctor, and two different versions of Sherlock Holmes. His dream cosplay would be a working Iron Man suit. Their future cosplay plans include Flynn Rider from Tangled, and a male version of Raven from Teen Titans. Valentine discovered the Geeks R Us club when he saw Sam Platek dressed in cosplay in the student union, and was informed by her about the then Anime Club. Valentine suggested expanding into general geek culture.
Protip: Don’t be afraid of us in costume. People are gonna stare, just let your geek flag fly!
Below are two pictures of me in cosplay! I recently attended RIT’s Tora Con as Shiro from No Game No Life, and Draculaura from Monster High. It was a blast! So if you’re a designer looking for a new way to utilize your skills, if you are a complete sewing novice and simply want to develop skills, or if you just want to buy some cool costumes online and unabashedly enjoy something that you enjoy, why not try cosplay?