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Unread 12-05-2012, 11:50 AM   #1
g00dapple
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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?
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Unread 12-05-2012, 11:55 AM   #2
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Well, I've noticed an increase in new conventions popping up in Sweden/Finland but I still think the cosplay community isn't that big or well-known... most people don't know what cosplay is.
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Unread 12-05-2012, 11:55 AM   #3
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yes allot of people are cosplaying but most of them don't like anime or anything someone who would cosplay to be into. they just use cosplay as a reason to dress different than they usually do. our little community picks up the worst people sometimes, people that are ignorant, disrespectful and shallow. thats the problem when we accept everyone.
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Unread 12-05-2012, 12:01 PM   #4
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I think cosplay may be a little more popular now than, say, five years ago. There certainly seem to be more cosplayers around than ten years ago, or fifteen. But I think a lot of the perception that it is "mainstream" is just due to the ease of communication on the internet. It's easier to find cosplayers, view photos, and form groups now than it ever has been. That may be pushing it into the public eye a little more, particularly in general geekdom and communities where there is a lot of crossover.

Similarly, the internet has made it incredibly easy to find resources, tutorials, and reference images for aspiring cosplayers who may never have been able to get started otherwise. Ten or fifteen years ago, just trying to find fabric and wigs was extremely difficult for many people. The internet also exposes many new people to cosplay, who may never have considered it in the days before internet access was ubiquitous. Along those same lines, more conventions seem to be popping up. It's now much easier to advertise, to organize, and for attendees to make travel arrangements. All of this has led to an explosion in the convention scene.

I think non-anime/non-game cosplay is becoming a little more prevalent as well, so people in many varying fandoms are now starting to see it more often. (Think about all the live-action cosplay going on nowadays, everything from Doctor Who to Supernatural to Once Upon a Time).

That being said, it is still somewhat of a niche hobby. While many people now will probably have heard of it and know what it is, it's never going to be a hobby that one out of every two people participate in.

Random note... I've always hated the term "mainstream", because it's so absolutely vague. What qualifies something as "mainstream"? What makes it "too mainstream"? The perception can vary so much that it's just mostly become a buzzword for complaints. People like to feel one-of-a-kind and special - it's human nature. (Cue "speshul snowflake" reference here). As such, it's understandable to feel a little defensive when your previously tight-knit, small, unique community is no longer quite so small or unique. It can feel like you're being invaded or conquered by an enemy force - those who used to be "other" are now trying to join your group. The hobby loses some of that "secret society" luster, and it can irk some who liked the original smaller community.
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Unread 12-05-2012, 12:02 PM   #5
Lithium Flower
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There is no such thing as 'too maintstream'. It's just individuals complaining that something is more popular then they think they remember it being.

Considering that in 2011 Anime Expo had 47,800 attendees there's nothing 'underground' about cosplay.

Hell, Comic Con had 130,000+ attend this year. Yes, that's in just this year alone.

Conventions and cosplay aren't really this unheard of underground phenomena, it might be lesser known to the people you speak with because it just isn't a hobby they're interested in or familiar with. If your from an area where knitting clubs down at the old folks home are all the rage and the second youngest person on your block is 45 I am going to take a wild guess and say that cosplay isn't exactly a popular hobby in your area.

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Unread 12-05-2012, 12:24 PM   #6
g00dapple
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFontBandit View Post
I think cosplay may be a little more popular now than, say, five years ago. There certainly seem to be more cosplayers around than ten years ago, or fifteen. But I think a lot of the perception that it is "mainstream" is just due to the ease of communication on the internet. It's easier to find cosplayers, view photos, and form groups now than it ever has been. That may be pushing it into the public eye a little more, particularly in general geekdom and communities where there is a lot of crossover.

Similarly, the internet has made it incredibly easy to find resources, tutorials, and reference images for aspiring cosplayers who may never have been able to get started otherwise. Ten or fifteen years ago, just trying to find fabric and wigs was extremely difficult for many people. The internet also exposes many new people to cosplay, who may never have considered it in the days before internet access was ubiquitous. Along those same lines, more conventions seem to be popping up. It's now much easier to advertise, to organize, and for attendees to make travel arrangements. All of this has led to an explosion in the convention scene.

I think non-anime/non-game cosplay is becoming a little more prevalent as well, so people in many varying fandoms are now starting to see it more often. (Think about all the live-action cosplay going on nowadays, everything from Doctor Who to Supernatural to Once Upon a Time).

That being said, it is still somewhat of a niche hobby. While many people now will probably have heard of it and know what it is, it's never going to be a hobby that one out of every two people participate in.

Random note... I've always hated the term "mainstream", because it's so absolutely vague. What qualifies something as "mainstream"? What makes it "too mainstream"? The perception can vary so much that it's just mostly become a buzzword for complaints. People like to feel one-of-a-kind and special - it's human nature. (Cue "speshul snowflake" reference here). As such, it's understandable to feel a little defensive when your previously tight-knit, small, unique community is no longer quite so small or unique. It can feel like you're being invaded or conquered by an enemy force - those who used to be "other" are now trying to join your group. The hobby loses some of that "secret society" luster, and it can irk some who liked the original smaller community.
I agree with you 100%. I'm just using the term "mainstream" because it's the word I see other cosplayers using when they are complaining. I have many friends that cosplay and many friends that don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lithium Flower View Post
Conventions and cosplay aren't really this unheard of underground phenomena, it might be lesser known to the people you speak with because it just isn't a hobby they're interested in or familiar with. If your from an area where knitting clubs down at the old folks home are all the rage and the second youngest person on your block is 45 I am going to take a wild guess and say that cosplay isn't exactly a popular hobby in your area.
I live right next to where Sakura Con happens actually. I love that there are a lot of cosplayers. I just don't understand what all the hoopla is about, so I thought I would start a convo
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Unread 12-05-2012, 03:02 PM   #7
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Either way, I couldn't care less.

I'm not the type of person to leave or not want to do a hobby anymore because it's "becoming mainstream" or "boo-hoo I'm not a special, 'unique', 'odd' person anymore because SO many people do it" <-- Not picking at anyone in particular, but there are really people that have that thought process. ...I'm only like that with actual cosplays XD (I hate cosplaying things that are overdone)

But really, if that was the case, I would have left video gaming and all together pursuing a career and video game art a long, long time ago.
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Unread 12-05-2012, 03:06 PM   #8
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Interesting topic--

I have noticed some people saying it as well- but it doesnt affect me or my cosplaying. THe more the merrier!
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Unread 12-05-2012, 04:34 PM   #9
Lithium Flower
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g00dapple View Post
I live right next to where Sakura Con happens actually. I love that there are a lot of cosplayers. I just don't understand what all the hoopla is about, so I thought I would start a convo
Eh, whenever someone thinks that something they hold dear is being exploited to those mainstream folks that make fun of them in middle school people get protective.

For example: When a once lesser known band get's a good record deal and more people are exposed to them. When more people are getting into comics or video games. When a sports team suddenly gets a lot of positive publicity.

People's interests are a deep reflection of who they are and we already barely tolerate other people trampling all over our happy space.

There's just better things to be pissy about then how many people are cosplaying My Little Pony this year.
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Unread 12-05-2012, 05:09 PM   #10
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I wouldn't say mainstream, per se, just rising in popularity. A lot. If you go onto the deviantART's front page you will see at least one cosplay-related photo everytime you refresh it.
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Unread 12-05-2012, 05:36 PM   #11
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Cosplay, mainstream?

Oh God no.

Now, it's popular, I'd say, especially considering if you read how many people attend large cons, but a factor is also where you live. I live in South Mississippi, and there are only six cons that are within 10 hours of me, and even the largest one doesn't have a huge amount of people who attend. As a matter of fact, the first time I went, I didn't cosplay.

I also think that -- and, this is just a personal opinion -- that cosplay used to be more Japanese-oriented (the content, not the actual cosplayers), but now, people cosplay basically anything and everything, which probably added on a lot.

Whether it's "mainstream" or not, I honestly couldn't give less of a damn. I love cosplay, and I'm not going to decide not to do it anymore just because a lot of other people are starting to do it. Frankly, I think it's fun that more and more people are dressing up, and with more cosplayers comes a more diverse set of fandoms, and I think it's better that way anyhow -- there's been at least three series that I wouldn't have known about had it not been for a cosplayer dressed up as a character.

So, screw mainstream. What's next -- being a geek is too "mainstream" as well?
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Unread 12-05-2012, 06:36 PM   #12
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If you use the word "cosplay" to mean only anime and other Japanese-sourced costumes, it may seem like it's becoming more popular.

However, people have been wearing costumes for everything and anything media-related for DECADES. I don't think it's either grown or shrank in popularity, it maintains a pretty stable facet of nerd-dom and convention-going more or less proportional to the popularity and rising attendance numbers of the conventions themselves. For every so many cosplayers there are so many non-cosplayers who also consider themselves geeks and participate in geek hobbies but will never touch a costume. This has never really NOT been the case.

And do be careful. "Cosplay" isn't just Japanese stuff. And Americans were doing it first no matter which way you look at it. It's a lot older than most of us (including me!) so you'd have to go really far back into the 1950's and 1960's to see any trends of rising or falling popularity.
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Unread 12-05-2012, 07:39 PM   #13
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You also have to factor in the fact that thanks to the increasing popularity of cosplay in general, if you want to cosplay. all you have to do is head on over to ebay to find a fairly decent costume for a reasonable price. So those who couldn't cosplay before due to lack of sewing skills, can easily acquire a costume, where as 10 years ago, it was hard to even find wigs, let alone complete costumes. Its a lot easier now for the "average Joe" to find the supplies they need to cosplay.
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Unread 12-05-2012, 08:00 PM   #14
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I honestly feel that cosplay is becoming more popular, but I would not label it as "mainstream." Considering most of the world's population doesn't know what cosplay is, or they frown upon it for some weird reason, it can't be mainstream. It has definitely grown within the past few years, and continues to grow compared to how it was in the past. I think it is awesome that it's becoming more popular though!

I think a big factor is the fact that cosplay is so accessible now. You can buy wigs of all different colors. In the past, you had to dye your own wig! It is also easier to get different kinds of fabric, different colored fabric, etc... There are also many stores and commissioners now-a-days. So yes...ease-of-access does play a role in the increasing popularity of cosplay ^^
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Unread 12-05-2012, 08:14 PM   #15
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