Today on the blog I am curious what some of y'all may think of a topic regarding cosplay! So I want to ask a question and have it open to polite discussion :)
What is the proper etiquette for cosplaying the same character as someone you know?
Here's my backstory for where this is coming from: I have a list of characters in my head that I would love to cosplay someday. The list has grown fast and changes quite a bit. However, there are a few characters that have stayed on the list for quite awhile and simply haven't found their time to be made yet.
So the other day a really talented cosplayer posted a character they want to cosplay. Well it turns out to be one that I want to do as well! This got me thinking - what is the proper etiquette for cosplaying the same character as someone else?
My first reaction was "Well now I can't do it." I'm still a newbie at this.. and the other cosplayer is an amazing veteran with super crafting skills. These are some of the thoughts that went through my head:
- I don't want to look like I'm copying.
- I don't want people to compare mine to theirs.
- I will compare mine to theirs even if I don't mean to.
But the more I thought about it the more I realized most of those reasons were insecurities on my end. First of all, no one owns a character. In the end we are all copying. That's exactly what cosplay is! You pick a character from a video game, anime, comic, etc and straight up "copy" the design. Part of the fun of cosplaying is recreating the look.
As far as etiquette goes I think it's best to talk with the other cosplayer if you know them personally. Let them know you want to do a character that they've decided to do as well. Then ask them how they feel about it. This way you won't jeopardize your friendship. Now if you don't know the other cosplayer at all then I wouldn't worry about trying to reach out to ask them to see if it's okay. If you google the character you want to do you may find that 20+ other people have done that same character. It would be near impossible to track them all down to ask permission. So just go for it and create your cosplay in your own artistic way!
Now, there's no stopping people from comparing or passing judgement. The cosplay community is pretty nice and welcoming, but there's definitely plenty of trolls that sneak their way in. My best advice for this is to just ignore it. Even if you are the ONLY person to cosplay a character people are going to compare you to the original design. Try not to read the negative comments and if you accidentally do then just be a duck and let it roll right off your back. Because you're fabulous no matter what they think.
You CAN control whether or not YOU pass judgement. If you are wearing the same cosplay as someone else then do your best not to nitpick the details. It goes two ways: don't think that they are better than you just because they used different techniques or materials, but also don't think that you are better than them either. Remember that we're all just celebrating our love for a fandom.
When I am at a convention and I see someone dressed up as the same character as me, I actually get really excited! You know why? Because that means we both have a common interest. We love that character! It's a great way to make a new friend.
So my final tip for cosplaying the same character as someone you know is: Don't copy the cosplayer; cosplay the character! Always put your own creative twist on it. Make it your own! You'll be more proud of your work that way.
So let me know what you think in the comments!