Myths of Cosplay

1:00 pm HelenLJohnson 3 Comments

As cosplay expands and becomes a popular pastime for a global audience it appears as though, for some, that the fun has gone out of cosplay. Unspoken rules and expectations are set up that are discussed within forums and social media and rather than enjoying the process of creating and being, it is more of a competition both online and on the convention floor.

Well, stop right there because it is time to dispel some of these myths in cosplay.
 1. You need a Facebook page.

Ah, the ever popular Facebook page, while admittedly it can be useful if you are meeting with photographers and other cosplayers at conventions, does every cosplayer need one? Nope. If you feel uncomfortable sharing pictures or it feels like too much of a responsibility, you certainly don’t need a page. Many cosplayers have fallen into a trap of trying to become a brand which can, for some, take a lot of the enjoyment out of creating costumes. Personally, I feel a lot more comfortable on Twitter and only made a Facebook page a few months ago because I was working with Crystal Dynamics and they needed a Facebook page. I’ve grown to appreciate it, but it certainly doesn’t need to be a priority.

2. Every costume needs to be made from scratch.

Do you want to make a t shirt? Brilliant, go ahead. Can you buy one from Primark or Target and modify it? Fantastic. Does it matter which one you do? Not at all. For many characters, their clothing are based upon traditional garment shapes and most of the time it is cheaper to buy a basic t shirt or pair or trousers and modify them. Don’t feel bad about buying off the rack, just the sheer effort of all that research and hunting around for the perfect garment is an achievement in itself. Also, you have lesser chance of item ripping at a con because the seams may be more sturdy than if you constructed it yourself. Only in competitions does it matter if you have made everything, otherwise just buy those £3 gloves from eBay!

 3. You need to be authentic and true likeness.

We all love it when somebody looks like the walking version of something that previously existed as a bunch of pixels or ink. However this should not be the be all and end all of cosplay. You don’t need to have everything 100% correct to be a true representation of a character if all you are doing is going to a convention, meeting up with friends and photographers and enjoying the day. It is fantastic when people put little spins on characters and inject a little bit of their personality and appearance into their representation of the character.

 4. You need to endlessly make costumes or multiple costumes a year.

Let me tell you something your probably already know. Cosplay is expensive. From fabric to tools and convention tickets. The price of the hobby quickly mounts up. You are not Yaya Han, or need to be, there is no need to skip meals to pay for worbla for your fifth costume of 2015. In a way this links with the social media branding side that is emerging from the cosplay culture, you may feel the need to endlessly make new costumes because you need new content. I’ve been hit by this too, feeling sad because I only made two costumes one year, a lot of cosplayers feel like this. It honestly doesn’t matter though, go for quality and invest in costumes you want to make and that can be updated and improved upon in the future. You’ll not only feel more comfortable but also reap greater rewards from the money you invested in your hobby. Do what you can with the amount of time and money you can afford. For some this might mean one costume, for others it might mean six, don’t focus too much on quantity and just do the best you can.
 5. You need to progress from simple costumes or shouldn’t even consider them.

Want to know a secret? Sometimes the simplest looking costumes are the damn hardest to make. The reason being that every mistake is highlighted, every missed stitch, every wonky hem EVERYTHING! Sometimes they even defy physics because they are too simple. On the flip side, simple costumes that are mainly bought may mean you get enjoy cosplaying while bringing up a family or travelling. Of course you should push yourself if you feel you want to make more intricate costumes, but that is a decision left to the individual not the community as a whole.

 6. You should wear a cosplay only once.

If you enjoy wearing a costume and it is structurally sound, you damn well wear it until it drops off your body! Like I did with my reborn Lara which is my cosplay baby who now has all her arrows broken or lost, multiple fixed straps on the holster, many washes and three different pairs of boots!
 7. You can give up your day job if you become well known.

The cosplay dream, giving up the 9 to 5 office job to be hot glued to the wall and drowning in taffeta. For some, it has happened, but for most of us it just isn’t going to happen, sorry :(. However, don’t let it stop you doing things on the side such as Etsy, prop commissioning, photo editing, YouTube, eBay store with materials, Twitch streaming etc. It might not be your full-time job but you can certainly learn extra skills and opportunities by doing side activities. To be honest, it is all the fun of having a cosplay ‘job’ without as much admin or stress.

So there are seven cosplay myths dispelled! Know of anymore? Let me know in the comment box below or tweet me.

Most importantly, enjoy your hobby, because it is your hobby and you can treat it however you want :)


  1. Thank you for this post. I'm heading to my first ever con this year. A group of friends who have been doing cosplay for years will also be attending. I've been feeling a great deal of pressure (from myself, not them) to try to "measure up" to the standard of cosplay they'll be doing. My husband and I are also bringing our two kids with us which makes things more expensive and challenging. I was feeling a little guilty that 2 of our days we'll be doing "easy" cosplay by throwing together some beginner steampunk and just buying t-shirts (camp halfblood) to pair with already owned accessories and shorts. Your article makes me feel a bit more confident that I can still fit in even if my costumes don't reach a photo shoot level of construction. Thank you.

    1. Hello! :) Thank you for your lovely comment! I'm glad it made you feel a little better. At the end of the day, cosplay should be fun and once that fun is gone then it is just another thing on a to do list to push through. I've got another article about attending your first con here that you might find helpful too. I hope both you and your family enjoy your first convention! :D

  2. Man, how incredible would it be to become a full time cosplay artist? What a dream come true that would be! Thanks for the write up.