New Fashion Exploration: Cosplay
People all over the world are mixing the fantasy life of characters into their everyday real-world life. Roleplaying with costumes is a way of life for some people; it is also well-known as a performance art called “cosplay”. The donning of costumes, along with accessories, to mimic a character or concept (often inspired by Japanese fiction, including anime, video games and comic books) combined with physically playing out the role of the character, is becoming more and more popular, not just in Japan, but around the world. These are not actors on a stage; they are real people playing out fantasy roles in real life.
The History of Cosplay
This somewhat odd behavior received its name in 1984 from Nov Takahashi after he attended a Los Angeles sci-fi convention. He spread the word about this unusual and trendy performance-art-as-a-lifestyle through Japanese sci-fi magazines. However, there is a bit of controversy surrounding the origination of this activity, because some people trace the activity further back than 1984.
Forrest J. Ackerman and Myrtle R. Douglas inspired worldwide costuming in 1939 as well. Ackerman wore his futuristic costume, designed by Douglas, to the 1st World Science Fiction Convention that took place in Caravan Hall in New York. It still stands to theory that, although dressing up as characters may have been inspired by Ackerman and Douglas, the actual coined phrase “Cosplay” still did not become real until Nov Takahashi coined it.
During video game and comic book trade shows, you may see a gathering of cosplayers, adorned with their anime-appeal costumes. Don’t be surprised if you see these bold characters walking on the streets during the day or at the nightclub at night; this trend has really taken off and seems to be growing more popular as time goes on. Cosplayers look forward to the two largest events in the world for cosplayers; the Comiket, held semi-annually in Japan and the San Diego Comic-Con, which can be found in California.
Nerdy Gone Sheik
Japan has taken the art of cosplay to a level higher than any other country, turning it into a form of creative, living art. They have taken the nerdy activity of dressing up like cartoon and video game characters (and then acting them out during their “normal” daily life) and made it a somewhat “cool” thing to do. Most of the cosplayers that have actually achieved celebrity status originated from Japan.
Today, Japanese cosplayers congregate outside during the weekends to masquerade, pose for pictures, and compare each other’s elaborate costumes. If you are interested in visiting one of the most famous cosplay scenes in the world, head over to Tokyo, Japan’s Harajuku district. In addition, there are several current magazines that focus on the vogue and rogue cosplay scene, including: Anicoz from the U.S., Cosplaymix, by Mexico, and Dengeki and Cosmode, two of Japan’s cosplay magazines.
The Ever Growing Trend
The artful form of dress and activity conjures up stares globally as well; it has yet to become completely accepted as a form of fashion, art, or performance, but that does not stop the thousands of cosplayers from dressing up and parading their unique, and somewhat strange, costumes and behaviors. Cosplay is, in no way, being pushed “behind the scenes”, however…as a matter of fact, it is becoming more and more prominent in some of the largest cities around the world.
Below are pictures displaying some of these unusual and even trendy costumes that are creating spectacles in cities all over the globe. As you will see, the styles and costume concepts are endless, from punk to angels to devils. They can even mimic characters, with an eccentric and phenomenal likeliness.