Costume play, or as some may better know it as 'Cosplay', is the act of dressing up as a certain specific character from a movie, book, a video game, or TV show / series. It is more often than not that these characters come mainly from Japanese Anime or Manga.
A young fan looks over the available fan art sold at one of the artist's booths found in OzineFest 2016 convention held at SM Megamall
While over the years there have been a lot of misconceptions about cosplay in which it is often common for people to label it as 'silly' or 'childish', this is not the case, however, for those who do choose to envelope themselves in this hobby. To them, cosplaying is a form of self-expression as well as a type of escapism. It is the medium that which allows them to be able to express, not only themselves as a person or a fan, but as well as their love for the character that they choose to portray.
Marrione Valdez, age 21, begins her work on the props needed for her next cosplay during her free days off school in preparation for upcoming conventions. Apart from being a Fine Arts student, she also has her own clothing store in which helps her to support herself and her hobby.
It is not so unnatural that majority of the cosplay community would consist of people who are also currently students (either in high school or university), part time models, self-employed entrepreneurs, or are also in working class not associated with the said community, in which many of them may have an array of several other special skills, such as being able to make, style, and build their own costumes and or props from scratch that in turn, will be used to make the entire costume a whole.
A work in progress of Hakumen's helmet from Blazeblue done by Shocross. The outer shell mostly consists of foam cut and molded out with heat and kept in place with glue.
Despite all the fun that comes along with it, cosplay is a time consuming hobby which requires a lot of hard work and dedication; especially when you choose to do the work on the entire costume solely by yourself. Since majority of the cosplayers within the community are either students or part of the working class, they must be able to have great time management skills to be able to balance all their work and responsibilities at the same time.
A painted chest piece for an Mg Gundam Girl Suit done by Shocross sitting out to dry.
Most casual cosplayers usually start out small and go with characters that do not require a lot of difficult detailed outfits to copy. Something along the lines of ordinary street wear accompanied by a bright colored wig or accessories that stand out can also be considered. Usually when they start out cosplaying, they do it simply out of curiosity or because they find it interesting and fun to try.
Rio Tanchuling, age 22, prepares for the day by putting on her favorite music as she prepares to get ready for an outing.
Though a certain few cosplayers do manage to make it into a career, through either auditions or when approached by scouts from various possible companies who see their potential. These companies then offer to sponsor and pay for their costumes and as well as props in exchange for modelling jobs or advertising a product.
Rio Tanchuling works on styling her wig by hand to prepare her alternative Cinderella cosplay. As much as possible she chooses not to put too much products into styling her wigs in order to lessen possible damage done.
Even if just for a day, who wouldn’t want a chance to go outside and be able to portray their favorite character or a figure they look up to? While yes indeed there are a million other ways of expressing yourself, cosplay stands out from the majority because even if it first just started out as a form of expressionism, eventually with time, it grew into something that shows off your level of creativity and construction with the use of a huge array of tools and materials.
Overwatch cosplayers strike a pose for fans outside the SMX convention halls at the SM Mall of Asia during the Animax Carnival event.
There are those who cosplay because they simply enjoy dressing up; regardless of the character they choose to portray. There are those who choose to cosplay because it gives them a chance to become the character or figure that they love and adore so much. To have the chances to be able to walk and breathe as a different person for a short time and to be able to be the character that makes them feel empowered and confident.; and the best part is, you don’t have to wait for Halloween just to be able to go out in colorful costumes and scream out hadouken in public.
A cosplayer poses in the middle of the SMX convention center at the Animax Carnival event in SM MOA.
Anime and gaming conventions are where most people who enjoy this particular hobby mainly gather to meet up and be able to make new friends who share similar interests, or take it as an opportunity to be able to compete in cosplay competitions in order to show off their skills and hard work put into their costumes. However, you don’t necessarily have to be a cosplayer to attend these events. Just simply being able to appreciate the geek culture itself is enough to be able to enjoy it in the end.Its all about how you choose to put your perspectives into matter.
A man offers free hugs to convention goers at OzineFest 2016. This is a common occurrence in most conventions as it stimulates interactions with people whom have similar interests.