Why Cosplayers Dress Up

Why Cosplayers Dress Up

People all over the world love looking at and performing cosplay. But it's still relatively rare to hear the motivations and stories that spur folks to craft their elaborate costumes. A new documentary series aims to do just that.

Cosplay Boom comes from producers Todd Kenreck and Meagan Sadler, who've been spending much of the last year photographing and recording cosplayers at cons all over the United States. (You might have seen stills of their work on Kotaku in recent weeks.) In the first two episodes of the series, you'll see people talk about cosplay helping them get over self-doubt and social anxiety, as well as using it as a way to form tighter bonds with family.

Why Cosplayers Dress Up

These first two episodes feature music by Mass Effect composer Sam Hulick and an appearance by Richard Taylor, special effects director for The Hobbit. New episodes will be rolling out on a regular basis and feel free to head to their Facebook and Patreon pages to learn more and help support their efforts.


    1. Creative outlet
    2. Passion for gaming and pretty much anything popculture
    3. Fun with friends and meeting friends with a similar passion :)

    If I'm going to a convention and I'm going to spend hours wandering around a crowded room or standing in a queue, I may as well dress up. Makes the day more fun.

      I came here to tag you and see your response, that's a pretty good answer lol

    I'm 45, and had never been to a convention or anything, but my 14 year old daughter is massively into various fandoms, so I decided to take her to Supanova in Sydney this year.
    She asked if people dressed up, I said as far as I knew they did.
    So she decided a low-key Black Widow costume would be the way to go. So I helped her make it, and it was a lot of fun creating the wrist-bands and finding a jacket at thrift shops, making the shield badges and working out how to sew them on, making the belt and holsters and buying some toy guns and modifying them etc.
    We spent a lot of time on it, and it was great father-daughter time and we learned a lot of new skills.
    Then two nights before the event, she asks me what I am going as.
    She was a bit nervous about dressing up (worried no-one else would...Ha!) so I said I would do it as well.
    A quick scout around for something I could make quickly, I decided on an OctoDad costume, we ended up staying up till midnight the two nights cobbling it together.

    We got there on the Friday, so it wasn't very busy, so she was the only Black Widow there on the day. People responded so positively, politely asking if they could take her photo, she was a bit shy at first, but got into it posing with her guns and stuff later in the evening. It was amazing for her self esteem, and there was such a supportive sense of community that I didn't really expect.
    The next day was nuts with thousands of people and amazing costumes.
    I wore the OctoDad costume on the Saturday (and learned why a costume with headgear is a sweaty nightmare) and the response was hilarious. People muttering as I passed 'why didn't that guy dress up, so many normal dads here today', to one guy who shook my tentacle and just thanked me profusely for wearing that costume(!?!) to kids getting their grandparents to take a photo of me with them.
    It was so much fun, so supportive, so polite, I really didn't expect it to be anything like that.
    We were hooked, and are planning to do something a bit more elaborate next year.

    People also got a laugh when it turned out I was also her actual Dad.

    It was the most fun I had in ages, there were workshops on learning electronics and makeup and costume design, everyone was friendly even in such crowded and cramped conditions and some of the costumes were genuine works of art.

    I highly recommend it to anyone, especially if you have kids, it is a great way to be a part of their interests. Our costumes were pretty crappy (see below) but it was great fun.


      I just had to sign up to say that both of your costumes are very awesome! My nephew wanted to come along to Supanova a couple years ago, and seeing my brother, his girlfriend and I dressing up (as Sub Zero, Alice from Madness Returns and the 10th Doctor, respectively), he of course wanted to go as his favourite character, Mario. As he was only 5 at the time, my mum was worried that he would tire out and want to leave before we did, so she dressed as Luigi, and came along too. So congrats to all the parents and grandparents who are willing to dress up to support their kids!

      Side note: we went to see the Cosplay Competition and my mum, in true motherly fashion, wanted to take pictures of everyone who took to the stage in their costumes. We had to convince her to put away her camera and just enjoy the cosplayers.

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