All dressed up with someplace to show - America goes crazy for 'costume play'
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
1/24/2014 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
One of the true pleasures of life is momentarily becoming something you are not. To this end, millions of Americans have pursued the art of "costume play," or as it is known in certain circles, "cosplay" - and have created myriad events to justify doing so.
The Edwardian Ball -- that suspends most rules regarding costume play, comes to the Fonda Theater in Hollywood this February 8.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Cosplay originally originated among science fiction fans, in particular "Trekkers," those who followed the TV series "Star Trek." Fans of that series would hold conventions and dress up as characters from the show. It would not be uncommon to see hundreds of Dr. Spocks and Captain Kirks vying for attention at these events.
Any fantasy, horror and science-fiction themed event can always count on fans dressing up as their favorite characters from literature and film. It is here that various designations became known among "cosplayers" - those with the best reproductions, or with the best personal interpretations. Those who slavishly recreate a storm trooper outfit from the film "Star Wars," all gleaming white plastic, would sometimes compete with fellow cosplayers dressed in similar outfits with a Victorian theme. One memorable convention featured the villainous Darth Vader re-imagained as a Victorian lady - complete with bustle, gown and hoop skirt - topped by the familiar Darth Vader helmet!
Those into historical re-enactments, such as those who gather at Renaissance Faires and Civil War re-enactments usually take a very serious approach to their outfits. An outfit at one of these events must go under very strict historical scrutiny. A person re-enacting a Yankee soldier at a Civil War re-enactment will be called out by his peers if his outfit includes metals that weren't introduced by the mid 19th century. Aluminum snaps on a coat would be reason for some polite ostracism at these events. Likewise, at Renaissance Faires, serious cosplayers must make sure that their costumes face high Elizabethan standards. No man-made fabrics such as nylon, polyester or Dacron. Hardcore enthusiasts at such events sometimes insist that all the stitching on their clothing be done by hand.
In reaction, some cosplayers have gone in the opposite direction and have proudly gone the totally amateurish, home-made route. Disregarding such strict rules that get in the way of the fun these events create, many create inexpensive outfits that show enthusiasm, if not professionalism. Superhero costumes, such as Batman and Superman done in scissor-cut felt and glued together have found popularity among some fans.
The one cosplay event that disregards all rules - the word here is be "sort of Edwardian, but not really," is the Edwardian Ball, held in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The outfits there are supposed to be inspired by Victorian and Edwardian fashion - vaguely. The amount of time and creativity lavished on the outfits there truly run the gamut. Diverse styles, from Gothic to Steampunk are the order of the day.
Cosplayers and cosplay events have since led to a growth industry of costume shops operating in medium-sized cities all year round, instead of just around Halloween time. Truly, the name of the game among cosplayers, normal people looking out for some fun and adventure, is to get all dressed up - and find someplace to show.
Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
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