I Like Big Data & Cannot Lie – 02

Today we look at the actual hobby of Cosplay, and what it means to us! I designed questions to cover a range of topics from how respondents got their start in cosplay to what they currently prefer to make or buy.


I’m really pleased to see the range of replies I got to this question, and it’s interesting to see the spread of cosplayers who have been at the hobby for over a decade (approx. 25%) and the number of people who are still relatively new to the hobby (5 years or less) at almost 50%. While this ‘boom’ of cosplayers could be attributed to the popularization of cosplay in mainstream media, I was curious how people ACTUALLY got started.


Us friends are bad key influences, apparently. 52% of you said that you got your interest piqued from either a friend or attending conventions and seeing other cosplayers strutting their stuff. Hah! Peer pressure works! I mean, uh. Oh hey look! Someone saw cosplay on a TV show, and started. I know how controversial Heroes of Cosplay is within the community, but I want to point out that it’s done a lot to make cosplay more accessible and prominent in mainstream media. That’s a positive, I think. Especially if it’s brought even a few cosplayers into our folds. We have many folds, working with fabric and all.


I was expecting this.

Without a doubt, the majority of first cosplays are made from anime. With the Anime and Con boom in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, anime was much more accessible (thanks Crunchyroll!) cons were more popular (thanks internet!) and social media let us con-goers plan out groups ahead of time.


So what about now? Many of us might have started with Anime but how has it held up as we sank deeper into the fabric-y depths of cosplay? Anime remains a strong contender, but has been passed by video games as the choice of source. Barely, but it has. Sure sometimes it’s a little overlappy like with Disgaea, but best judgement was used here. What I found interesting was the next most common choice was Live Action films and tv shows. Sure it was only half as popular, but live action also has special challenges like matching fabric textures that video games and anime don’t have. I suppose we have Star Trek, Star Wars, Super hero movies and Game of Thrones to thank for that, hm?


Ok folks. For all one of you out there wanting to become famous cosplaying, you should probably head over to the Cosplay Fame Game post series and read up on the challenges ahead. Also, can this result finally put to rest the stupid argument that new cosplayers only want to get famous? Clearly cosplayers mostly enjoy making costumes and representing their favourite characters and series. The rest are just side-benefits.


Google is King. Google is Godly. Google is ALL.

(Also friends are wonderful)


Today in pie-charts: Calamity can’t unsee this as a peace sign.

While I might aspire to the green and purple club of 7-9+ new costumes a year, like many respondents I have too much other requirements of my time and not enough ability to churn out cosplays. So I’m in the red-orange area, flip-flopping between 3-6 per year depending on external factors. I was a little surprised at how many people replied to say that they only focus on one or two cosplays per year, but all the power to you! I bet they look AH-MAY-ZING. (Also tell me your secret to not falling in love with literally everything)


It’s no secret that cosplay is an expensive hobby.


While there’s ways to keep costs low(er) costumes can get expensive really quickly. So, I wasn’t surprised to see that about 60% of you said your costumes usually run the cost of between 100-400 USD, about evenly split between the 100-200 range and the 200-400 range. I’m looking forward to seeing how the average costs map to how many cosplays a year people produce. I have a sneaking suspicion that the truly pricey costumes of over 1000$ USD are in the camp of cosplayers who focus on only one or two costumes a year.


I suppose this could be considered an extrapolation from the previous question, but I thought it would be valid to see the relationship between how much costumes cost on average and then how that same cosplayer will expand for ‘special’ costumes. I don’t think I could pay more than a grand for a costume without crying though. (I would totally cry over beautiful silk before cutting into it the first time.)


While we’re talking about money… some cosplayers (like myself) will budget an amount of funds towards getting good photos of our costumes. I was curious to see how many others did as well, and how much they would spend. The answer is: not much if at all. over 70% of you pay 60$ or less on photoshoots per year. For us remaining 30%, the split is nearly even between 60-100$ (~12%), 100-200$ (~11%) and over 200$.


Far and away, the cosplay skill you feel most confident doing is Sewing. Like, it’s not even a close contest. Following in a distant second is Makeup Application and Painting and weathering is close behind in third place. I wonder, is this because sewing has been most socially acceptable for women? Or just because of the nature of cosplay that you need fabric and sewing skills to make the base of the vast majority of costumes? Hmm… worth looking into.


Much like the skills we are most confident in, when it comes to skills we are least confident in, there’s a clear winner. Hooking up circuits and LEDs are scary, yo. What if you do it wrong? What if your costume catches on fire? (unlikely but still) This is definitely an area where many of us are unsure. Wig styling is also a little scary because wigs cost money, and if you mess it up, YOU CAN REALLY MESS IT UP.  Or at least that’s what my wig-styling-anxiety tells me. Armor making seems to be the third skill we feel least confident doing as EVA foam sculpting and Thermoplastics are almost tied.

Check back next week for the last third of survey results: Conventions! Then, each Monday after for three weeks I’ll be posting up the relationships between data gathered and exploring what this survey has shown us about our cosplay community.

Have a wonderful Monday,
xox Calamity