How One Cosplayer Released A Retail Line Of Cosplay-Specific Fabric

Cosplayers have long done creative things to get the perfect fabric for their costumes -- whether it's getting fabric printed online or doing it all by hand with screen printing inks or fabric paint. Cosplayer Yaya Han has gone above and beyond, partnering with CosplayFabrics and Jo-Anns, a fabric and craft store in the US, to design the perfect range of cosplay fabric.

Now, I'm not kidding myself that most readers of Kotaku are going to share the same enthusiasm I have for fabric. "Four-way stretch" probably isn't anywhere near as exciting a term for you as it is for me and my fellow costumers. Even for other Aussie cosplayers it's not useful news as such -- Jo-Anns doesn't ship to Australia and there's no word on whether the fabric will be making its way out this way any time soon (if at all). But for the cosplay world it's big news.

For those not in the know, Jo-Anns is essentially the US equivalent of Australia's Lincraft or Spotlight -- and having cosplay specific (and cosplay branded) fabrics on display in hundreds of stores across the US is a pretty big deal. Not only is it useful for cosplayers who may have trouble getting their hands on specialty fabrics outside of the fashion districts of New York or Los Angeles, it's also raising the profile of cosplay as an art form worldwide.

After all, if Yaya's cosplay fabrics are successful in this initial run, that only means more money will go towards developing the kinds of materials that cosplayers would kill to get their hands on -- maybe one day we'll even be able to go down to Bunnings to pick up a roll of thermoplastic or piece of EVA foam in all shapes and thicknesses.

Yaya Han's CosplayFabrics line has started with 10 different types of fabric, each with multiple different colour choices. The most exciting ones are some of the speciality embossed faux-leathers, a handful of stretch-suede (which can be impossible to find in Australia) and a 4-way stretch fabric called Ultrapreme, which we'll most likely be seeing in a lot of superhero costumes and bodysuits very soon.

Unfortunately, as with many things in the cosplay world, the community has already proven to be its own worst enemy in the face of what should be exciting news. Instead of excitement, Yaya's new line of fabrics has been met with criticism and even downright hostility from some parts of the community.

This ranges from complaints that the range is too expensive (It seems reasonably priced to me, but as a Sydneysider I also think that $7 for a cup of coffee is reasonable, so my perspective may be skewed) to a rumour spread that wearing one of the fabrics had caused a cosplayer to break out in hives, having to be rushed to the hospital from US convention ALA.

Of course, this is only a rumour, with one rational cosplayer pointing out that the fabrics hadn't even been released in time for that story to be possible, but the fact that the rumour was started at all is yet more proof of how much the cosplay community likes to shoot itself in the foot. This is why we can't have nice things, cosplay community.

Rumours aside, the new fabrics are likely to inspire not only cosplay in its traditional sense, but also a bevy of original steampunk, fantasy and sci fi costumes. I could see LARPers loving the new possibilities just as much as the cosplayers they're designed for -- here's hoping they might come to Australia one day.


    Fabric question: Where's the best place to get an embossed velvet thingo for a victorian-y waistcoat?



      You're thinking of devore (burnout velvet). Although waistcoats during the 18th and 19th centuries (high quality ones at least) would have been made out of mostly silk brocade or jacquard. Silk brocade is also a little cheaper and easier to find that velvet devore.

      There are synthetic versions of brocade (which are cheaper) but you'll find they're much harder to work with and never look as good.

        Cheers, I'll hunt around

    I think this is a great idea. 4 way stretch fabric tends to be expensive and so is Worbla. Cosplay is an expensive hobby, so I'm not sure why they are complaining.

      A lot of people just complain because they can. Worse still, some seem to only be happy when they are unhappy if that makes any sense.

      Might even be just a simple case of the haters being jealous of Han running with the idea first before they had a chance to think of it.

        I guess that's true. I never bothered because getting stuff printed is expensive. If it's good quality, it doesn't matter. They should be grateful that someone has decided to try and make their life easier. It's usually, I've found, that either you save money, or you save time. Can't save both.

    As someone who has seen and handled the fabrics in question? They're poorly made and are all fabrics that are already stocked by JoAnn Fabrics... in higher quality at lower prices. So you have two choices when you make a costume: you can pay extra for the 'prestige' of saying that you're wearing Yaya Han fabric... or save 33-50% per yard and get higher quality versions of the same fabric. The stores are usually cheeky enough to stock them literally right next to each other, too, so you can see the difference in both price and quantity without having to do even the tiniest bit of work.

      Joe, why are commenting on a post at Your followers are no doubt demanding their daily dose of smut.

      *goes and looks at the range*
      Nope, can't think of a costume that'd suit the range that's not from Lord of the Rings or Korra.

    Great business idea. Good on her.

    Hope the business does well as it would allow it to make it more mainstream and less an elitist club only for the skillful and dedicated. I would personally like to try my hand but as I know jack sh*t about fabric and stuff I'd like to personally check the fabric out and this I would imagine help people in similar circumstances.

      I wouldn't say I was skillful or dedicated, but I'm sure there's a few on here that would disagree.
      Sewing is one of those things that is absolutely terrifying until you try it. I would suggest smaller projects, a lot of pattern making companies make these, just to familiarise yourself with certain techniques. Here is an example. Also, a lot of cosplayers are friendly and will help you.
      You don't need to be as insane as some cosplayers. I know one who made her own socks and they didn't win a competition. If you're not competitive, you don't even need to worry about making everything.
      Sorry if I'm rambling and I hope this helps you.
      @mrtaco also cosplays if you want a male perspective.

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