Who does not enjoy to be someone else once in a while, slipping into someone else’s shoes for a change, in order to escape the daily routine? For some their escape is cosplaying their favourite characters from Mangas, Comic books or movies. Originally from Japan, this trend has become pretty big in Europe as well and almost every big city features cosplay events. Enie from Switzerland is a cosplayer of passion and reveals to us its appeal.
Enie, since when have you been cosplaying?
In 2015 I started cosplay actively but I have known it for much longer, just never thought I would have the guts to try it myself.
How did you encounter Cosplay for the first time and what was its appeal for you?
For the first Fantasy Basel 2015 I bought my first cosplay costume and put it on to attend FaBa. It was great and at FaBa I got my first impression of cosplay on a do-it-yourself basis, where you can find the material and the information you need to make your own outfits. Afterwards I made my first own costume and for the FaBa 2016 I had already two of my own creations to present.
In the meantime there are several famous cosplayers who can make a living with it. Do you have a particular favourite who is like an idol or an inspiration for you? Would you like to quit your job and just do cosplaying?
I love Kamui, Evil Ted, Jessica Nigri and many others but I don’t have something like an idol. It is very difficult to reach a professional Cosplay level and to make a living with it, but surely it is a dream. Yet I do not pursue this career. I love my hobby as a hobby as a refuge from my work life.
You create your costumes mostly just by yourself, so how did you learn that? Was it all learning by doing?
I had some help via YouTube Videos and the books by Kamui in the beginning, then I simply googled what I wanted to know and taught myself the skills I required. I also attended a tailoring workshop. But most of it is indeed trial-and-error which is the reason why creating your cosplay requires a lot of time. I still cannot avoid mistakes.
How long does it take form the first idea to the finished character costume?
It varies and can last a year or three months. It also depends how much money and effort go into a certain character cosplay and what I still need to learn to create it. I had put a character aside for a whole year and continued working on it later.
You feature several characters in cosplay, which one is your favourite?
I don’t think that I have a favourite cosplay character. I like each of them a lot for a particular reason, and because those reasons differ I simply cannot pick a favourite.
How many of your hours a week go into cosplaying?
There can be many hours right before a convention and there are weeks when I don’t do anything. But when I calculate an average I’d say it’s 1-2 hours a week. Just like any other hobby.
Which was your most challenging costume that took a lot of time to create?
It was my genderbending version of Illidan Stormrage, World of Warcraft. The bodypainting alone took four hours. I guess I invested about 150 hours into it.
How much does a good cosplay costume cost you? I can imagine that some of the material does not come cheap.
It is expensive. When you use Eva-Foai or Worbla and also work on different fabrics and decorations or the colours, I think a good costume is about CHF 400.00 (about 350 Euro). And this is the minimum to build on upward without a limit. But surely you can create cosplay from cheaper materials too.
Do you also attend competitions, and if yes have you won some award yet?
I have attended competitions and at a smaller con I actually won the cosplay competition.
How do people react who have no clue about cosplay when you tell them about your hobby? Did you have some bad experience with people?
Yes I had some bad experience. I know someone who does not like this topic at all and simply does not understand. But people are usually very curious and want to know more about it, want to see photos. And when I show them some images they really enjoy it. Unfortunately there’s a twisted image of cosplay in our society. Some think it is just about sexy half-naked women, some think we are freaks. But most people actually like it and find it exciting.
Can you be open about it with family, friends and at your job or do you rather keep secretly cosplaying?
At my job I keep it a secret. In my family, however, it is quite normal to talk about it, just like about my other hobby dancing. It has become an everyday issue. And I appreciate that my partner really likes it and supports me in any way.
What is the cosplay scene like, do you meet other cosplayers easily, do you enjoy talking to each other or are you all rather reserved?
It is exciting to discuss cosplay with cosplayers. I am a rather shy person but I have made a lot of good friends in this scene.
To whom would you recommend cosplay as a hobby? What is the best way to start?
I recommend cosplay to everybody who enjoys wearing a costume of a certain fandom. It does not matter if you buy it or make it yourself. It does not matter if the character looks different or spot-on. Young, old, big, thin, longhaired, shorthaired, blonde – does not matter. It should just be fun!
Are there certain rules in the scene, what should you rather avoid?
When you are not personally acquainted with a cosplayer, do not criticize the costume for mistakes or make a fuzz that it’s not exactly like the original. The person cosplaying has put a lot of time, love, blood and sweat into the cosplay and the creation of the costume. In case some detail is different, there’s most likely a reason behind it or it is an expression of artistic freedom.
And do not touch the cosplayer or the costume unless you have asked for permission and received an OK.
And please also always ask for permission before taking a photo. Cosplayer are just human beings who need to eat and drink at some point too, or need some rest. Once it happened that I did not feel so well, circulation problems, therefore I refused to have my picture taken. And still people did not listen and took photos of me sitting down. That was not nice at all.
Cosplay originally comes from Japan, have you ever been there and in case you have, are there any differences to the European scene?
There are two stories, one claims that cosplay comes from Japan, and the other that it was invented in the USA, inspired by those big fantasy block busters. I personally cannot say where it really comes from. But yes, I have been to Japan once but only caught a glimpse of the Japanese scene. I cannot say anything about the differences, and I assume there are some because the Japanese culture is so different to ours too.
You regularly visit cosplay events like e.g. ComicCons etc. How do you experience those events, and is there one you can recommend for cosplay newcomers just to have a look?
For me most Cons are a very positive experience because as a cosplayer I become a part of it. I really like the FaBa because I meet a lot of friends there and it’s like my Home-Con. For newcomers I would rather recommend a big Con because you can see many more cosplayers there.
Which character have you planned next? Can you give us some clues?
At the moment I am working on Deathwing from World of Warcraft. This is a cosplay designed for my friend to wear. I have never made a costume for somebody else before, therefore it is a real challenge for me.
Do you have a dream concerning cosplay, a special event you would like to visit or another cosplayer you would like to meet, or something like that?
I would love to visit San Diego Comic Con and Blizzcon.
Thank you for your time and all the best for the future!
More info about Enie: