What is cosplay: A beginner’s guide

Lauren Bergin
What is Cosplay Feature

It’s safe to say that cosplayers are starting to take over the internet, but what is cosplay? And why on Earth is it all over your timeline? 

If there’s ever been a comic convention in your city, you’ve likely seen a whole host of attendees dressed in the outfits of their favorite characters. This can be everything from anime stars to video game heroes.

The trend, however, has become ever more dominant over the past few years. With Instagram culture offering the perfect platform for cosplayers to share their art form, we’ve seen more and more of these creative individuals on our timelines and Twitch stream.

What exactly is cosplay though? Is it just a hobby? Or is it an industry? We’ve got all the answers for you right here.

What does cosplay mean?

Formed from an amalgamation of ‘costume’ and ‘play,’ cosplay is defined as the art of wearing costumes to portray characters from fiction. The most popular sectors are usually anime, video games or science fiction, though cosplay can come in almost any form.

Costumes can range from more basic replicas of the character’s outfit all the way to full blown recreations with LEDs, smoke emitters and more.

That begs the question though, is being a professional cosplayer actually feasible? Or is that just taking it a step too far?

Are there famous cosplayers?

The cosplay realm is open to a whole host of experiences, from casual artists to professional impersonators.

Above is Shirogane-Sama as the iconic Overwatch hero Tracer. Her Instagram account boasts an insane 627k followers, with her Twitter following not far behind with 231k. Using her art, she makes money vida a whole host of platforms, including Patreon.

When it comes to professional cosplays there is where most of the money is to be made. Exclusive Patreons and other membership platforms are where the cosplay industry thrives economically, something that’s been amplified by the current global situation.

Another way for cosplayers to flaunt their masterfully crafted outfits are at competitions, where cash prizes alongside whole swathes of goodies are up for grabs.

What is a cosplay convention?

Comic and cosplay conventions offer artists not only the opportunity to attend an event in their favorite cosplay, but also a chance to compete.

Cosplay competitions are commonplace, with prizes ranging from applause at smaller events to insane cash prizes. For example, BlizzCon 2020 had cash prizes of up to $3,000.

In an ideal world this is where lesser known cosplayers can find their moment in the sun, a moment that may lead to cosplay stardom.

So that’s everything you really need to know about cosplay! If you fancy giving it a go yourself, we’ll be creating an easy cosplay guide in the future. Until then though, keep an eye on the cosplay section of Dexerto, where we upload a whole host of cosplays that will blow your mind!

About The Author

Lauren was formerly Dexerto's Features Editor and resident Diablo Sorceress. With two Master's degrees under her belt and a lot more Steam achievements, she specializes in all things Blizzard and Riot Games, with some Lost Ark and FFXIV on the side.