4 December 2020
Cosplayers are no longer able to see each other face-to-face with the increase of corona virus spread. Their everyday Halloween, for now, is cancelled.
“Often-times, making art is a social activity.” Jonathan Fineberg, art historian and critic at the University of Arts in Philadelphia, in an interview by Jeremy Hobson and Allison Hagan of NPR states. There is no way to have physical interaction without spreading the coronavirus, so this hinders every cosplayer’s ability to share their craft in public.
Cosplay or costume play is the act of dressing up as a character from a popular media (films, television, video-games, etc). It’s like a Halloween everyday. Cosplayers bring their costumes to conventions and show off their craft in photos. Sometimes their cosplay images and props are used as a way of gaining income.
For years, cosplayers have used social media to share costume photos with internet users around the globe. It’s a great way to stay in contact with the outside. There’s been an increase in social media activity, since the start of Covid-19 quarantines, and it is the perfect time for online cosplayers to get recognized for their work while staying safe.
Kip, one half of the Instagram and Tiktok accounts, RhubarbKipCosplay, has been cosplaying for about 5 years. Kip and her mother, Rhubarb, make the majority of their costumes by hand and they’ve spent some of their quarantine time working on Star Wars cosplays for Tiktok videos and future conventions. Kip shared many of her cosplay plans were inconvenienced. For example, she can’t get all the supplies she needs to complete her Star Wars alien Twi’lek cosplay.
“It’s not easy for me to go to a store and look at my options. I’ve also lost the chance to go thrifting for pieces of a costume, which is usually what I do. I like to find pieces close to what I need and then alter them. But most places are shut down or not easy to access, so I’ve mostly ordered things on Amazon or from stores and then used materials I already had to alter them.”
The cosplayer said, “I’m waiting on a package from Germany at the moment, and I’m not sure how long it’ll be in customs because of the Covid-19 regulations.”
Many other problems for cosplayers have surfaced during Covid-19; conventions and cosplay meetings have been shut down to prevent spread of the virus. Recently, Katsucon, a fan convention in the DC area, was closed down for 2021. On their website, Katsucon shares how ‘heartbreaking’ it is to not hold the convention after 27 years in a row.
Majority of cosplayers are wondering when they’ll be able to go to conventions again. Though there are few that are relieved that there’s been less social interaction. Cosplayers don’t need to plan complete costumes front and back for online images. When discussing online cosplays, all interviewees stated in some way that it was relaxing to not worry about perfection for the public eye. Two Oakland Mills high school cosplayers, David and Finn claimed that conventions are a bit ‘scarier’ and can make one self-conscious. But with social media, you get immediate feedback and “it’s a lot easier to be confident.”
With the rise of social media activity during lockdown, and everyone shut in, cosplay sounds like a challenging, but interesting hobby to start.