Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Cosplay: Making Vs. Buying

Last week I wrote a post about the debate between subbed and dubbed manga. Following yesterday’s theme, I want to talk about a different debate, whether it is better to make or buy your cosplay.

A majority of the cosplayers I know prefer to make their own costumes. There’s more satisfaction in wearing a great costume if you can say you made it yourself. Even if it isn’t perfect, in most cases it shows you’ve put a lot of effort into putting the cosplay together. There are benefits of course, in that you can make it to your own specifications. It can occasionally be hard to find a cosplay of the character you want, and often a lot of the ones available to buy are either bad quality or have bits missing, this isn’t all the time of course but it happens enough. Wigs are also like that. The point is, making it yourself means that you’re in charge of what it looks like at the end, what materials are used, which parts you include and which you don’t, etc.

Of course to make things you need to know what you’re doing, and usually have some skill in the area. This is one of the main reasons I’ve seen for why people don’t like to make their own costumes. It can be hard learning to do something like this and if you don’t feel up to it then it’s a lot better to just find a good cosplay to buy somewhere. Money and time are also an issue. Despite what I said in the above paragraph, it is of course perfectly possible to have a great cosplay even if you are buying. When I buy cosplay items generally I spend a lot of time looking through all the options and choosing the one I find most accurate.  I spent about two weeks trying to decide which wig to get for my Zexion cosplay.

Of course, there is also the social side of it and the reputation you can gain depending on which method you prefer. Although not the majority, and there are very few I’ve seen, there are cosplayers who make their own costumes who look down on those who don’t (as well as others who do because they think they’re better) because it’s ‘not as good’. I don’t agree with that at all because different people have different strengths as well as different reasons for what they do. As a result, though this seems to occur in smaller numbers, there are some who seem to believe due to this minority of cosplayers that all of those who make their own costumes think like that. Again, this is incorrect. It is important to keep in mind why people cosplay, again there are different reasons. Most of the time, it is just for fun. A lot of people don’t care about being 100% accurate, I didn’t my first time. A lot of people do care about that, as I do now, but keep in mind at the end of the day it’s still for fun. Some do it for other reasons. Some make it their business and that’s fine too. There are probably some that do it just to show off their skills and get attention, and I even think that’s fine as long as they aren’t rude to people who don’t share that mindset.

As for me, when I first started cosplaying I bought everything I needed for my costumes. The first thing I made myself was the prop for my Zexion cosplay, which was really easy and I did it because it was a lot easier and cheaper than finding one available to buy. The next time I made my own things was for October’s Expo, when I made the sandals for my Jushiro cosplay (which got easier as I was making it) and altering a pair of cheap shoes for my Deidara cosplay (which still hurt my toes). Everything else was always bought though for the most part it was because I wasn’t going to have the time to try and make it myself, or in the case of Jushiro, I bought all the clothes I needed for that at Expo just because they were cheap.

I’ve said before, yesterday I think, that I’m making everything for my cosplays from now on, aside from wigs of course, that’s just too much. I’m really excited about it. I had so much fun working on the parts of my previous costumes that I made myself, a lot more fun than just clicking the ‘buy’ option on websites. I also prefer the idea of making my own because it means I’ll finally be able to learn how to make my own clothes. I already know how I’m going to make everything, but until you actually get to the point where you are making something you can’t know everything about it. It’ll be nice to have a new skill. I think cosplaying in general is going to feel a lot better for me wearing something I made myself.

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