The term “cosplay” comes from the Japanese “kosupure” which puts together “costume and “play”. In the US, cosplay was more know as “costuming” and used in historical or sci-fi materials.
The best supported origin story on the Internet says that in 1984, Nov Takahashi, founder and writer for the anime publishing company Studio Hard, was sent to Los Angeles to cover the World-Con science fiction convention. He was impressed by the fans’ costumes and the elaborate displays at the masquerade, and when he returned to Japan, he coined the term to describe what he saw. After anime and anime conventions boosted in the 90s and 2000s, the term “cosplay” became more and more popular.
“Cosplay” can refer to a character from comics, manga, anime, video games, fan art, books, television, movies… basically anything!
Why do people cosplay?
That fully depends on the cosplayer! Some do it because they love sewing, crafting, or prop making. Some love acting like their character and want to aim for a 100% accuracy while others like changing their appearance with wigs, contacts, and makeup and or learn new skills!
Where do people cosplay?
Cosplayers are usually found at anime, sci-fi, and gaming conventions. Cosplayers will also do photoshoots or promote other activities outside conventions.
Do cosplayers require any actual skills?
Is you treat cosplay as a hobby, it can be as simple or as complex as you want! You can always buy a costume and a wig, OR hand-sew heavy detailed stuff on homemade corset. Some of the skills associated with cosplayers would be sewing and clothing altering, patterning and pattern modification, jewelry making, resin casting, prop making, wig styling and modeling.
Is there a difference between Cosplay and Halloween costumes?
Cosplay usually imply more craftsmanship associated with it than Halloween costumes. Cosplayers will build and modify much of their costume instead of buying a pre-made costume. Cosplay will always be more specific and detailed. A generic pirate is a good Halloween costume example compared to a cosplayer who will choose to go as Jack Sparrow.