View Full Version : Cosplay oversaturation?
03-02-2011, 06:09 AM
This is an interesting topic that I ran into while surfing the net and that is: has cosplay become a commodity? To summerize what I read in the articles I found on this some people feel that cosplay pop culture has become popular so fast that its going to very quickly run out of steam and implode on itself. Aside from this there is the opinion that craftsmenship has been taken away from the concept of cosplay due to an oversaturation of cosplayers who choose to buy multitudes of mediocre costumes off ebay rather than take the time to make them their selves. whats everyones opinions on this?
Personally I can see it both ways, yes cosplay has become a very big thing in America...maybe even more so than Japan and the attitude is different depending on what country your in, sometimes its about craftsmenship and sometimes its about looking as much like the characters as possible and for some its about having the most costumes as possible almost like those who have a particular collection of toys or models they like to show off. Its like having a sense of entitlement...
What are your thoughts?
03-02-2011, 07:19 AM
I think Japan's slightly unique attitude toward commerce keeps cosplay business healthy and helpful locally. I DO think Chinese costume factories are creating a cosplay-Walmart culture in the US and China that leads to a lot of hideous satin shit that looks the same :/
But in Japan expense and exclusivity actually increases the desireability of an item and quality/charm is a much bigger concern than affordability. Japanese cosplayers have shame on their side. Most of them won't go out in something they think looks awful and will endeavor to improve those parts of their costume and wardrobe that are dragging them down... even if that means taking on a second job or a sugar daddy to do it.
In Japan will people will also head to the Starbucks for a coffee then go have lunch in the local mom and pop cafe next door to it. Kind of like how they'll buy their shoes from Bodyline for $20 and then go pay Cospatio $3,000 for their costume. Cheap and expensive co-exist. Commissioners make a good living alongside the Chinese sweatshops. I personally benefit from the availability of both.
I don't think the cheap satin costumes and milanoo stuff is fooling anyone. Most everyone who stays in the hobby here over a year eventually learns either to crave nicer costumes at retail or to make them themselves. Usually a bit of both.
All of the ridiculously boss people make their own stuff and showing up in a handmade costume can make a world of difference in how you're percieved and how well you stand out from the pack. No one isn't in awe of the makers. The have the best costumes and they have them months or even years before the buyers will get their chance at them... There's no one out there who doesn't whistle through their teeth a bit at the makers: the makers are the movers and the shakers.
But the buyers help the makers, too. Look at all the wig businesses, contact sites and support items out there.
Cosplay IS a commodity. But as long as it's still a community too, the business boom really helps. Look at our color selection when it comes to wigs, the amount of support items we can buy, the number of choices we have in the price ranges we do, the ability to purchase preowned items easily and conveniently, the ability to walk into a shop and try on a costume or wig in person to see how it looks or fits...
Being a commodity isn't bad. As long as the majority of the community you live in is willing to support enough different segments of the market to keep it diverse and are willing to pay enough money for the same market to continue to benefit actual members of the community and not sweatshop overseers in China.
03-02-2011, 08:44 AM
Do you have a link to one of the articles?
Do I think that the cosplay community is going to implode? From my experience I don't think it will, we are a very niche group and I think it will be a while before it'd stop (at least for America). I've been in the con scene since 1999, and cosplaying has certainly become very popular. There were many reasons for me to start cosplay, but one of it was the fact that you saw the majority of the crowd in cosplay and that it adds a different element to the convention as a whole.
Do I think we are over saturated with ebay/china costumes? Yes. Now before anyone jumps on me... I have one from china, too. There's nothing wrong with these costumes, they are for the enjoyment of the wearer. My point is that craftsmanship is now taking a back seat. Each person is going to have their reason as to why they buy a pre-made costume, and to state again that there isn't any wrong doing in buying a costume.
The accessablity of cosplay is certainly contributing to the popularity. While I liked my bought costume, I doubt I'll wear it again. I get more reactions from the ones that I've made. But because I'm making my costumes, at most I can make only 1 or 2 per year. I know someone who has 3+ costumes (handmade and other) per convention, and they go to 3 cons per year. There are many factors in the construction of cosplay, whether bought, hand made, or closet cosplay. There was a reason why there were not many cosplays in the earlier years and it was because everyone had to take the time to make/find pieces of their costume. Now, it's one click and the costume will arrive in a month or so.
So, now I'm able to answer the true question at hand is craftsmanship suffering due to the mulitude of the pre-made cosplays? To a certain extent, I do think it is. It's like finding a diamond in the rough. When I entered my first Hall Cosplay, I thought there would be hundreds of people waiting in line to compete. Then when I got there, there was only a handful. While I know that not all can enter, it made me realize that those that make the majority of their costume is a small number.
There's a certain quality about hand made costumes, for one they are not going to all look alike. Everyone is going to find a different solution to make an outfit. Where if you are buying, while you are dressed as a unique character, you're not unique to others from the same buyer.
TL;DR- Sorry for the wall of text. Craftsmanship of costumes do suffer because of the infux of non hand made costumes.
03-02-2011, 09:25 AM
One thing I noticed about cosplay and that thing I dislike - the more naked body you show, the more chances you have to win. It doesn't matter if this girl spent months on decorating that dress - if there comes another with a simple costume but bust or hips exposed in most open way possible, she's more likely to win.
My point of view might come from the fact that I dislike overexposive costumes and are rather ready to work on crapload of details instead of just exposing my body. I am not owner of a perfect-looking body but even if I was (and I do care to look better) I wouldn't choose anything I don't feel comfortable in public with.
03-06-2011, 09:02 PM
Strifehart from deviant art also answered this post:
"It was bad before, but its so much worse now. I used to LOVE browsing through cosplay for ones I liked, now its just too hard digging through 47 pages for that ONE decent cosplayers single modest picture... worst part is the good ones are usually modest enough to post a handful of their favourites into their gallery, then maybe advertise their best shot to a few groups or forums..... then the bad ones tend to post 100 bad pictures of nearly the same shot... then spam EVERY forum or group that even SLIGHTLY could be portrayed as related ex: Well the group's about little big planet, but you could MAKE squall on little big planet therefore its related. TROLL!!!!
I'm by no means an elitist when it comes to others, but by god, even good cosplayers shouldnt be spamming so much.... chances are if someone signed up to one fandom's group, they signed up to others, and they've already seen the damn picture as often as the person who bloody took it..."
03-06-2011, 09:08 PM
My personal take:
Hmmm well its so hard to say because everyone starts somewhere with cosplay and sometimes it starts pretty bad then as you gain experience you get better but as Kira pointed out, atleast here in Japan, shame is on cosplayers side. I know when I first cosplayed I spent 1 year making my rose bride dress and hundreds of dollars making and remaking things. The end result, because I refused to wear it until it looked perfect (and at the time I knew NOTHING about sewing, I learnt as I went along with it) i got hundreds of photo opportunities at my first convention ever, a hallway contest award, a magazine interview and met many new interesting friends. I know if I had worn some other generic costume that would not have been possible but not everyone has the ability or time to sew their own costumes.
But you know, even with a mediocre costume it just takes some time and TLC to make it great, makeup camera angles and wig can really make up for an otherwise craptacular costume.
Personally I think people who dont want to put time effort or money into a costume wont stick with the hobby for long, its just a trendy thing to do for now and then they will move on once the competition gets to stiff but true cosplayers will stick through it and learn from every experience. I know I have.
03-06-2011, 09:29 PM
I think it's become more popular just because of the use of the internet. There are so many well known cosplayers just because of the internet, and thus others may see them and want to be like them.
I don't think it's a fad that will fade out, just because cosplay includes such a vast amount of things. No matter what someone likes, there is something for them to cosplay. It's not like steampunk, for example, where it's always been around, has somehow blown up, but (I believe) will burn itself out. One has to have specific interests to be into steampunk. But cosplay is..costume play. And you can make a costume for just about anything you like.
Thus there will always be a new generation to make up for the generation that may eventually grow out of/loose interest in cosplay.
As far as craftsmanship, again, I think the internet has kind of encouraged the "quantity not quality" aspect. However, I think most can still recognize when someone has put in a lot of effort into a cosplay, which is all that matters I think.