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11 Dec 2012 - 03:0794940
Cosplay Becoming Mainstream?
I keep seeing this topic pop up, whether it be on my Facebook, or on random forums. People are talking about how EVERYONE is cosplaying now. But, from my point of view, cosplay is still a small community and most of my friends/family have no idea what it is. What do you guys think? Do you feel cosplaying is becoming "too" mainstream?


11 Dec 2012 - 03:1794942
Not at all...I don't know anyone who lives near me who cosplays. Even at cons, the numbers are still quite small.
At least I think so


11 Dec 2012 - 05:3694944
Quote xCrimsonXero:
Not at all...I don't know anyone who lives near me who cosplays. Even at cons, the numbers are still quite small.
At least I think so


To be frank, many of my friends don't know much about this. And when I talked about cosplay in my family, my aunt felt puzzled and asked me, what's cosplay?


11 Dec 2012 - 08:4694947
Someone in the cosplay community has been doing it well before anime hit England. I hate to use people as an example but it demonstrates my point. More than 30 years ago it was called Re-enactment.

It's always been there is some shape or form; COStume PLAY.

Unfortunately, it's not suited for everyone. Some people just don't wish for the time/effort to put in for what they get out, or would simply be on the other side and appreciatte the costume or simply not cosplay altogether.

You don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy anime/manga/films etc etc.

Events and such may grow in frequency but they too have a finite limit on attendees. Massive events like MCM expo is a money vortex of illogic, where younger ones go to give MCM all their money but there's no real limit on attendees. They just cram everyone in like cattle.

Conventions have limits, and often you need to be in the loop to get a pass. Conventions cost a fair bit, for registration and accomodation.

The cost aspect of cosplay will be a choke factor, causing many to drop out. It's a hobby that if you really like you wind up spending a hell of a lot of your free time doing, and spending a lot of money on. It also takes up a lot of space, hell I have a house to myself and the spare room is now my cosplay storage with big-ass weapons, boxes of clothes and basla swords. I shudder to think how much I've spent on it.

Time, money, effort and space. 4 things new people may not have in abundance and find themselves dropping out of it. It happens a lot, whenever anyone says "I used to cosplay" or "I cosplayed a few years ago".

Maybe it's growing in awareness, and you'll see fucktons of people at expos etc. But last year some conventions didn't hit their limit for capacity, and I'll use that as a baseline. I'm not saying you're not a cosplayer unless you go to a convention, what I am saying is that I can't tell how many people are at an expo, I can with conventions. If we see them consistently booked to the max, we'll see more people going to events and in those people more cosplayers.

The fall-out is never really thought about, and I think that's important to remember. It's like a rate of mortality in the community, whether it's people who try and find it's not for them or the older ones who grew out of it.


11 Dec 2012 - 11:1294954
Quote JaeXD:
Someone in the cosplay community has been doing it well before anime hit England. I hate to use people as an example but it demonstrates my point. More than 30 years ago it was called Re-enactment.

It's always been there is some shape or form; COStume PLAY.

Unfortunately, it's not suited for everyone. Some people just don't wish for the time/effort to put in for what they get out, or would simply be on the other side and appreciatte the costume or simply not cosplay altogether.

You don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy anime/manga/films etc etc.

Events and such may grow in frequency but they too have a finite limit on attendees. Massive events like MCM expo is a money vortex of illogic, where younger ones go to give MCM all their money but there's no real limit on attendees. They just cram everyone in like cattle.

Conventions have limits, and often you need to be in the loop to get a pass. Conventions cost a fair bit, for registration and accomodation.

The cost aspect of cosplay will be a choke factor, causing many to drop out. It's a hobby that if you really like you wind up spending a hell of a lot of your free time doing, and spending a lot of money on. It also takes up a lot of space, hell I have a house to myself and the spare room is now my cosplay storage with big-ass weapons, boxes of clothes and basla swords. I shudder to think how much I've spent on it.

Time, money, effort and space. 4 things new people may not have in abundance and find themselves dropping out of it. It happens a lot, whenever anyone says "I used to cosplay" or "I cosplayed a few years ago".

Maybe it's growing in awareness, and you'll see fucktons of people at expos etc. But last year some conventions didn't hit their limit for capacity, and I'll use that as a baseline. I'm not saying you're not a cosplayer unless you go to a convention, what I am saying is that I can't tell how many people are at an expo, I can with conventions. If we see them consistently booked to the max, we'll see more people going to events and in those people more cosplayers.

The fall-out is never really thought about, and I think that's important to remember. It's like a rate of mortality in the community, whether it's people who try and find it's not for them or the older ones who grew out of it.


I agree with Jae - i dont think its a case of Cosplay is becoming more mainstream it just a case of maybe more people are becoming aware of it.

Not enough for strangers to know what you're talking about straight away but more people seem to be aware of it than a few years ago



Last edited by Numta (11 Dec 2012 - 11:13)
11 Dec 2012 - 12:1194956
I think it's just getting more coverage, so people are like "oh, I've kinda heard of that, but I don't quite get it"

As Jae says, you can only truly get an idea with conventions rather than Expos. As it stands, I still see that the majority of people there are either not in cosplay or are doing casual cosplay just cause (my mum would fall into a casual cosplay if she ever attended Expo because, in her words, she "wouldn't want to be a boring old fart."

As to facebook feeds - have you thought that the reason why cosplay is being mentioned more is purely because you're adding more cosplayers from your list? On my FB, every so post is cosplay related.


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11 Dec 2012 - 13:5394961
There's been a bit more in the media about it too. Every now and then you'll see people on facebook linking to a news site or something similar after an event has passed. A few years ago I doubt anyone would have bothered to mention something like Expo. It's only because Expo is so big that it's noticed a lot, but you dont see as much about true conventions (Ame, Aya, etc) with limited numbers - They slip under the radar because they dont advertise publicly as loudly as an Expo or HyperJapan because they dont operate commercially. They're by the fans for the fans.

I think it's also a case of things related to cosplay in the community are becoming louder too. Notice all of the competitions that seem to stream out forever on the internet? People requesting for votes on DA or some other site? OtakuHouse seems to have one which never stops in my opinion. Anyone and everyone uploads their pictures from multiple countries, so that becomes one popularity contest on the web for cosplayers.

In terms of Expo it's in a place with a concentrated population accessible to just about anybody, it's not that expensive to enter either, so part of me believes that when you see so many people crammed into one space and it going up over the years it is easy to think that cosplay is going mainstream.

The popularity of DC, Marvel and Superheroes in general have gone up with the recent film releases, so that would draw even more people in. They may see others cosplaying, return another time and decide to do it for laughs, but how many of those are a one off? and how many of those never bother again?

I think that the people who comment on it becoming mainstream may be more concerned about numbers of attendants rising and how much of a battle it is to get around large events. Numbers of cosplayers are rising, yes, but I also think that quality is rising and resources are being made readily available to us.

We dont really know how much of that concentration of people are newcomers or those who never do it again. So I believe it's more a case of awareness, not popularity. There's too much to take into account before we can say that it is becoming 'mainstream'. It sure does add to the experience though.

Lastly, I think the nature of cosplay has changed too. In the beginning there were a lot of people wearing lower quality costumes, back when I started 7 years ago but they were more about having fun. These days it seems more about being the most accurate, being the first to cosplay a certain character and almost an endless struggle to be noticed. The atmosphere about it all has changed too.


11 Dec 2012 - 15:5194966
I should mention that OP is from New York.

Whilst we have members on this site from all over the world, 99% of the members are from the British Isles.

I'm not going to get into the finer details of the differences between American and British culture, just that maybe the British would prefer to remain understated and factual about issues like this whereas popular culture in America may incur some volumisation. Not a lot, just enough to be influenced by the subtle culture differences.

Our perspectives may not match, something to think about.



Last edited by JaeXD (11 Dec 2012 - 15:52)
12 Dec 2012 - 00:1094999
Well, from what I've seen, cosplay has hit the light a lot more vividly in the US than the UK. To me, it's always seem more popular state-side.

It's also easier to change the minds of anti-Cosplayers US than anti-Cosplayers UK - I'm gonna put it down that it's because "cosplay" as it is now has been around a lot longer there. We had re-enactment, as said, but that I see more as re-enacting battles not the same as cosplay.


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Ayacon Plans
12 Dec 2012 - 00:3495002
Quote Janesimi:
Do you feel cosplaying is becoming "too" mainstream?


Is anything too mainstream? Is mainstream actually a problem? I've only been interested in cosplay in recent years but I've pretty much always known about it from gaming magazines etc.

Mainstream is helpful for creativity based hobbies, you start getting better quality tutorials on how to do stuff, easier access to weird and wonderful supplies. Where would you have been able to purchase thermoplastics (polymorph) or other thermo materials like wonderflex etc a few years ago. Would you have even thought of using it for a costume? You get reports on cosplay in the normal media (e.g. non condescending(look at those weirdos, lets point and laugh) articles on things like BBC News) attracting more people to the hobby that might bring something new and raising the bar.

There was a very interesting talk from Amecon by Sillabub which had a bit in it where she talks about originally only being able to get costume wigs from costume shops for early conventions but now the fact that cosplay has become more mainstream means there are literally hundreds of sites you can go buy pretty much any wig colour or style you want.

Long live the anti-hipster!



Last edited by Kata-san (12 Dec 2012 - 00:36)
12 Dec 2012 - 08:1295014
You might also see cosplay in the media more because they are running out of new things to surprise their viewers with.

Being an active participant in cosplay is something that will never become mainstream because, like Jae said, you need time, money, effort and space. And if the rise of X-Factor and Celebrity are anything to judge by, the majority of people would prefer their leisure activities to require little effort.

But its not all doom and gloom! Bringing cosplay to the attention of the public should normalise it as an activity. Give it time and we'll go from "costumed freaks", to "those nerds" in the public eye


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13 Dec 2012 - 08:2695042
People in the UK love fancy dress, just look at any major high street on a Saturday night, I can guarantee there will be groups of people dressed as pirates/animals/in drag etc "for a laugh". The difference between them and us is we put some effort, time and money in and they might not recognise the characters. If I walked down my local high street on Saturday afternoon in my Loki cosplay, I would get nothing but praise and people trying to talk to me and talk my photos, if I did that at night EVERYTHING would be broken/stolen by the drunken idiots making "oooh are you horny" jokes......


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13 Dec 2012 - 10:5495044
Quote NixieThePixie:
We had re-enactment, as said, but that I see more as re-enacting battles not the same as cosplay.


I do agree that re-enactment is really cosplay. There's a difference to me in playing the part of a non-specific individual from a historical settin g to trying to emulate a specific character from a piece of media (although there's overlap for sure).

In general I think there are more people in the UK willing to do it as a one-off, eg. fancy dress for halloween or dressing up as superheroes in the wake of the new marvel movies. Doing it seriously is definitely more niche. I don't think becoming more mainstream makes something bad though. I do have to kind of roll my eyes when I see someone denounce something they previously enjoyed just because its become popular.


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15 Dec 2012 - 13:0395079
Alot of people where I also live don't know much about cosplay. The only reason my family know about it is because its my hobby.

Different conventions have different atmospheres such as I find the midlands expo alot more easy going than the london expo. But thats because there isnt as many people haha.

London. Well its very good but loads of people attend and you will get the one or two more "snooty people" (you will get them at all conventions) but most of us remember its all about having fun and doing things we cant always do

But then theres smaller ones like J-con which are very fun XD I had a great time dancing and joining in a few of the events

Yes some people try and make themselves stand out but they have put some real effort into the costume which will naturally make them stand out from others.

But at the moment I dont feel its mainstream its become more popular than it was but you cant stop a random person and ask if they will know what it is. But they probably won't know at all


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Last edited by Ros3ify (15 Dec 2012 - 13:06)
18 Dec 2012 - 14:4895183
I started costuming in 1990. I started on the sci-fi scene and then moved into anime/gaming. It has always been a fairly small community. The big difference these days is the mass revolving world called 'internet/social media'. Because of that costuming/cosplay has been made more available to the general public and is reaching a wider audience. I don't think the community has grown I just think that it is more advertised through websites and TV.

I think its great that cosplay is reaching a wider audience. However, IMO, I think it is loosing its community feeling as a result. More and more cosplayers are trying to go for cosplay fame with the introduction of 'like' pages and websites. Forums and community sites like this are becoming less and less visited. While the 'like' pages do have a social aspect to them I think it can be very focused on one person which to me isn't what the community is about. That's not to say that I don't like 'like' pages. Its more an observation on how the community is changing as it becomes more visible.


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