Cosplay is to me a wholesome activity, that promotes creativity and fun. For people of all ages. Children love to play dress up, Halloween promotes it and we have a similar tradition in Norway, only with singing for candy on new years eve. Not to mention that people love to host costume parties and masquerade balls. There is also a lot more kinky ways to use a tantalizing costume. Cosplay is short for costume fun and that’s the main point.
However there are also several unintended benefits in the recent and increased popularity. A lot of old crafts was about to die out, due to mass production and few career prospects. It used to be a common profession to sew custom clothes, such as fancy, frilly party dresses and such. There is only so many tailors and seamstress the community can keep aloft, when anyone can buy a suit at a mall. Mass producing cosplay is virtually impossible. Since there are millions of characters to pick from and they all have something unique about them. Which is quite awesome indeed. There is an old saying that goes «If you want something done right, do it yourself». Creating a costume is hard work and a real mental challenge, that forces the one making it to think about the best approach. Both when it comes to picking materials and when it comes to assembly.
Let’s face it. Everything is possible on a 3d model, or in an animated show. Because it is not real. Creating cosplay is all about making it real. Which requires a sound mind and some insanity. Since it is a common fact that big shoulder plates will never stay in place and that female clothing is not designed to stay on. Personal I use the term practical problem solving. Challenges is a part of life, but creative crafting is a way to overcome that. Most costumes includes many intricate sewing patterns, fancy fabric and a lot of armour pieces. Due to the decline of old professions a lot of the knowledge needed has to searched for online, due to a lack of good mentor figures. Sure a lot of it can be searched for online, but for the most of us we learn by trying. On a side note, its a very common thing for people being too hung up on collecting reference materials, you know downloading a ton of character pictures onto a hard drive. Then to never interact with the pictures again. Anyhow, crafting armour, making weapons and intricate , all requires crafting. Which also teaches people to use tools and think for themselves. This in turn makes a person more independent. Apparently a lot of people does not know how to do minor maintenance at home, or own a hammer.
Another positive effect cosplay has on people, is the ability to make friends and boost self confidence. It is quite a challenge to walk around in a costume, where everyone will look and admire you. Meeting new people is also easier when one have something in common. It breaks the ice. Plus all the professional venues has a zero drug and no alcohol policy. let’s face it, many people have a very difficult time being around other people or initiate a conversation, it’s a surprisingly good ice breaker. Cosplay is also starting to become a viable way to sustain oneself. Such as winning price money. Live streaming the prop making progress. Which is what I do. There is also a market in selling products to people who lack the patience or the skill to do it themselves. On top of that there is a huge market itself in selling materials to create a costume from. Most of the more exotic martial I use is only sold online and shipped from abroad.
Personally I love crafting costume props and make them work. Which is why I stream the creative process several times during each week.