Cosplay is all about having fun and showing your love for a character through creativity, and while competitions exists not all cosplayer’s are in it to compete professionally.
Most cosplayers just want to show their appreciation for characters from the media they love and that has touched their hearts.
Unless you are dressed as something very obscure the chances are you will find many people at a convention dressed as the same character as you. But this is all part of the fun!
I have seen this create two reactions in people: You will either compare yourself and feel lacking and find your confidence drops or compare yourself and feel superior but you never know if this is that person’s first ever costume. Everyone starts somewhere and it always comes from a place of love.
I have made some of the best friends in my life by meeting them at a convention and talking because we were wearing our own versions of the same character. If someone is dressed as a character you love, go talk to them! Talk about what you love about that character. Chances are you are both fans of many other similar things and were both attracted to this media for the same reasons. This means we can create real, lasting connections with brand-new people in ways you never can in a “normal” situation.
Everyone starts somewhere and the best place to learn is from others. Never compare yourself or your work to someone else because you are YOU and will never be anyone else, nor should you want to be. Our differences make us unique and our uniqueness is our strength. The best thing you can be is the best version of yourself. This is a concept I struggle with in every-day life but cosplay is helping me to celebrate myself through my own interpretations of characters and builds my confidence in my own creativity by learning new skills.
You will find that once you get chatting to someone about their costume you can talk about any struggles you had making your costume or props; “Aw man, it took me so long to paint this armor. Yours looks great. How did you do it?” Usually the other person will thank you for the compliment and bond over the things they struggled with and even give you tips on how they made theirs, materials you could use to remake parts that would be easier to make or just easier to wear. We all know most cosplays are totally impractical in the real world but people have ingenious ideas of how to add invisible pockets or zips and poppers to make a costume more wearable for an entire day and easy to get in and out of for bathroom breaks or eating.
If you are a cosplay veteran and someone is telling you this is their first costume and they struggled to make something help them out, give tips and bond over the learning process. You’ll make a new friend or just feel good about helping a fellow fan.
The same goes for make-up skills. I have been helped numerous times by people recommending YouTube tutorials.
Another great way to get inspired is to follow other cosplayers social media and join an online community that prioritises help and encouragement over judgement. A great example of this would be the UKCosplay group on Facebook.
Just because someone does the same costume as you and gets a lot of attention does not diminish all the hard work and passion you put into yours. You should never feel defeated. Get inspired. Notice things you would like to upgrade for your costume and go home and work on that. Bring it bigger and better next time and your friends and peers will notice.
Just because someone seems more popular in the same costume it serves no one to feel jealous or defeated. As geeks and nerds we have all dealt with our own share of bullying in our lives outside of the convention scene but the reason people come back to cons again and again is because it’s a place lots of people truly feel at home for the first time in their lives. People find their tribe and their soul-family through the things that mean the most to them and hobbies like cosplay really do bring people together. As with any community there can be pretty dramas but first and foremost this IS a community and a great one. We need to work on building each other up and not tearing anyone down. Keeping the energy positive benefits everyone and only serves to show the haters what they are missing in terms of friendship and fun.
Be you. Be creative. Ask questions. Learn. Practice and tell your friends how badass they look and watch their confidence soar.