Last weekend I attended my first convention ever: el Saló del Manga in Barcelona, one of Europe’s most popular anime/manga conventions. One of the things I was most excited about was cosplaying, so I decided to cosplay as one of my favourite anime characters: Sasha Braus from Attack on Titan. Even though I had a blast, there are few things that I wish I had known before planning my cosplay for such a looooong, exhausting day. That’s why I decided to write a few advices I would give to anyone who is planning on cosplaying for a convention.
1 Do some research and commit to your cosplay
Whether you’re buying the costum online or creating it yourself, you should take some time to decide what you’re going to cosplay as. It’s very easy to see the cosplay experience as only the day in which you’re going to be wearing the costume. However, cosplaying also means all the time, effort and money you will be spending on it during a few months. That’s why you should research all the pieces you will need (clothing, wig, eye lenses…), how much they will cost you, how much time you will spend on them, etc and plan accordingly. Deciding a cosplay is almost like a commitment so you should certainly take some time to think about it and look at different options.
2 Wear comfortable shoes
Which shoes you will wear often depend on what you’re going to be cosplaying as and how important the shoes are for the cosplay. Sometimes your feet won’t be showing so you’ll be able to wear your most comfortable shoes and sometimes you will have to wear high heels. Either way, make sure that the shoes are your size and to walk around wearing them to get used to them. Trust me, you DON’T want to be wearing the shoes for the first time in a con. There’s also stuff you can buy to make it better, like jelly insoles or band-aids. Another tip is to try sitting down and resting your feet every now and then during the con. If there’s a long queue, you can wait while sitting down.
3 Practice putting on your cosplay and walking around in it
Some cosplays are simple but others are very complicated to put on and will take a while to even figure out how to do it. Watch some tutorials if needed and practice putting in on a few weeks before the convention in case you have to do some extra arrangements to the costume. It is also important that you practice walking around your house to make sure that nothing is bothering you or falling off. Also try different postures like sitting down, squatting or even going to the toilet (queues to the WC in conventions are very long so you don’t want to be fumbling with your cosplay when you really need to go). Apart from making things easier and preventing accidents, you will also feel more confident when the day of the con comes.
4 Bring some sort of emergency sewing kit
It doesn’t have to be too big. What exactly you need will depend on your costume. Hopefully you won’t need it all, but who knows when a piece of your costume will decide to break or fall off. Planning is key in every aspect of a convention so, if you can, bring something for a quick fix, even if it’s just small scissors, a clip or a needle.
5 Be ready for people to look at you or ask you for photos
There were two times when my cosplay was especially relevant. One, when I left home alone and everyone in my town was looking at me like I had grown a third leg. If you’re socially anxious or pay a lot of attention of what other people think of you, you might want to be accompanied by someone else or have someone drive you directly to the con. The second time was when people in the con were recognizing me as my character by either pointing at me and saying things like “omg that’s Sasha” or when a couple little girls approached me to nervously ask for a picture. Some people will be very excited about seeing you if they really love the character you chose to cosplay as. Cosplaying always means getting attention so you will have to get used to people looking at you, pointing at you, screaming geeky references at you or asking for photos. As long as you’re OK with that, you will be fine.