While I firmly believe that cosplay is for everyone, and that anyone can cosplay, I also believe that there are some ‘rules’ that everyone should follow. Some guidelines, if you will, to help you in the world of cosplay.
Some of these are more opinions, while others are near universal rules that almost every cosplayer agrees with. So in this article I have put together a list of five different DON’Ts of cosplay, as well as explaining for each of them why you should avoid them.
Don’t Criticize Others’ Cosplays
One of the most important things in the world of cosplay is not to criticize other people’s cosplays. The cosplayer worked hard on their costume, you have no idea what really went into it, and you have no right to tell them how they should make their cosplay.
Unless they’ve asked specifically for critique, don’t give it to them. No one wants to spend days and weeks and months on a cosplay, only for a random person on the internet or at a con to tell them that their fabric choice is wrong, or they’re the wrong height or build for a character.
Never tell a cosplayer something like ‘This is such a great cosplay… but I think you should have done this differently.’ Just leave it at ‘This is such a great cosplay!’ And especially never tell a person they are the wrong height, build, race, etc, to cosplay a certain character. You shouldn’t criticize people anyway, but you especially shouldn’t criticize them something for they don’t have any control over. Keep comments like that to yourself.
Don’t Touch Someone’s Cosplay or Prop Without Permission
This one should seem like a given, but a lot of people tend to forget it, especially at cons. Never touch someone else’s prop or cosplay without permission!
A lot of work went into creating these, and you don’t want to accidentally break or ruin something. Plus, you shouldn’t touch someone else without their permission anyway.
Even if they give you permission to take a picture of or with them, be sure to check if you can even do something like put your arm around them. This could make a lot of people uncomfortable, and the cosplay might be fragile. It’s best to always ask, and never assume.
Don’t be Too Much of a Perfectionist
This thing isn’t so much of a hard DON’T as something that we all, as cosplayers and creators, need to keep in mind. Chances are, your cosplay won’t be absolutely perfect in every way possible. And you need to be able to accept that.
I know some people are way more perfectionist than others, and that can be both a strength and a weakness. Just try to remember that the majority of cosplayers do it for fun, and you don’t need to take it so seriously that you are always unhappy with what you make.
I know for me, it can sometimes be hard when accept that something I make isn’t exactly how I wanted it to be. Sometimes I’ll go back and fix or remake things, but sometimes I just have to move on. And that’s okay! Although it’s certainly easier said than done, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Don’t be Embarrassed About Your Cosplays
This next one I think is a problem with most creators, not just cosplayers and costume makers. We all want validation for what we create, and we all want people to like it. But… not everyone will. That’s just the base fact of it. There’s over 7 billion people in the world, so there’s probably going to be a couple who don’t like your cosplay. But the majority of them will probably think it’s really cool!
If you’re at a convention in a suit of armor, or walking through the park in an anime costume to a photoshoot, you’re amazing! You’re dressed up as a fictional character in real life, and that’s just awesome! Own it! You should be proud of yourself for what you’ve made, and what you’re wearing. If you don’t question it or act awkward or like it’s weird, chances are most other people won’t either!
Act confident, even if you don’t feel it, and eventually your mindset will shift to match your attitude.
Don’t Forget to Credit your Photographer
This is something that gets overlooked a LOT. If you take your own cosplay pictures, you have nothing to worry about, but if someone else takes your pictures for you, ALWAYS credit them!
Photography is its own art form, and a photographer deserves recognition. So don’t forget to credit your photographer. If you’re unsure how they would like to be credited on social medias, ask them! And if you’re interested in selling prints, editing the photos, or submitting them to a cosplay magazine, be sure to get their permission first. It’s just courtesy, but it’s something that a lot of people forget.
Most of my cosplay photos are either taken by me, or family members, and they’re all pretty chill and flexible about it, but I still always credit them. It’s even more important to do so for a more professional photographer.
So there we have it! Five DON’Ts of cosplay. There’s more I could have gone over, but I wanted to keep this blog article short and sweet. If you want to see some of my self-shot cosplay images, or see how I credit my photographers, you can visit my Instagram Winterstarcosplay.