Cosplay: A Beginning
Liptak grinned as he told me about the painstaking work that went into crafting a set of Stormtrooper armour for his three or four year old son Bram a few years ago. Adapted from a toy, it was something far above and beyond what most kids used for dress up or play. The stuff of dreams.
“He wore it for 15 minutes,” Liptak laughed. It was “too pinchy,” and he didn’t wear it again. “Whole months of work down the drain.”
For Liptak, cosplay is a family activity, and his son Bram, now nine years old, has been donning costumes for years. Listening to Liptak’s story about the pinchy Stormtrooper armour, one thing became clear: there’s no wrong way to cosplay. For some people, the end goal is fidelity—costumes so real they could’ve walked off the set of the film—for others, it’s the emotion and feeling of connecting with the stories they love, and being transported there through simple costumes sewn by their mom or gathered from a closet.
“I think it’s really important that adults play,” Liptak said. Adults can bring a lot of realism to their costumes, and that can be fun, but it’s not the only way to do it. “Kids will play with anything,” he continued. “I certainly remember whacking away at trees with a stick thinking it’s a lightsaber.”
It’s never been easier to get started with cosplay, Liptak said. But not because of new possibilities afforded by fabrication technologies like 3D printers (though those obviously help), but an entirely different realm of technology: social media.
“You’ve got platforms like YouTube, forums, and Facebook groups that provide a lot knowledge,” he explained. “It connects people.”
And at the end of the day that’s what cosplay is about: connecting people. Cosplay brings new worlds to life, and introduces your friends, family, and fellow fans to the characters you love. It transports you to a new world, and lets you bring anyone along for the ride.