The term cosplay is not part of the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE). In any case, this concept of English origin is used in our language to refer to the tendency or habit of using costumes for entertainment.
According to DigoPaul, cosplay comes from the expression costume play, which can be translated as “costume game”. Currently, cosplay can be considered as a subculture: its members seek to represent an idea or embody a character through their clothing and even playing a role.
Cosplay is usually based on characters from comics, anime, movies, video games, or literature. Whoever dresses up and participates in this type of action is called a cosplayer.
Cosplay emerged in the 1970s in the so-called comic markets of Japan, whose meetings many people began to attend with costumes. Over time, the trend became popular throughout the world and reached different areas.
Currently, cosplay appears in almost all the major events related to comics. It is also common for fans to dress up to attend movie premieres or the release of fantasy novels. There are even cosplay contests where the best costumes are awarded.
In Japan, on the other hand, there are cosplay restaurants and bars in which waitresses and waiters serve diners in costume. In these establishments certain rituals are followed so that customers live a different experience in contact with cosplayers.
Although at first glance cosplay seems to revolve around fun, the process of creating costumes is long and very laborious, especially for those who decide to do it on their own. It should be noted that most cosplayers make their own costumes, since this stage is a fundamental part of the experience.
In any case, since it is not something cheap or immediate, it is important to be very clear about the character we want to represent well in advance. This decision is not easy, since sometimes it is not enough to choose the one we admire the most, but we must opt for the one with whom we share the greatest number of physical characteristics, or one that we can embody with our body.
This does not mean that we should choose a character very similar to us; part of the fun, after all, is in transforming ourselves into another being. The important thing is to keep your feet on the ground regarding the budget and the complexity that the process of making the costume will entail; Simply put, humanoid characters are preferred over a giant dinosaur or spider, though more daring cosplayers can embark on any project.
Cosplay differs greatly from a traditional costume party, particularly in the degree of attention to detail that fans tend to pay to their heroes’ costumes: far from being a vague representation of the general appearance of the characters, it is often a an almost perfect reflection of each garment, each accessory, each wrinkle, with a color palette as wide as the original and a display of materials worthy of admiration.
To be able to work at this level in a costume it is necessary to have reference images, something that today is very easy to obtain. Whether it’s screenshots from the show, movie, or video game featuring our favorite character, or drawings made by other fans, the possibilities are endless. To find the smallest details, it is recommended to look for drawings published by the creators of the character in media such as magazines or books, where they usually have a better finish.