Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cosplay: Buy vs. Make

As I have grown over the past year, one thing I notice I get asked a lot is whether I make my own costumes or buy them. I will be completely honest, it depends on the costume. I see a lot of discussion about this in the cosplay world. Some people think you aren’t a “real” cosplayer if you don’t make your outfit, but that just isn’t practical or fair. Do I have mad respect for people who make 100% of their own outfits? Absolutely, but I don’t think that buying a costume makes you any less of a cosplayer. 

I usually ask myself the following questions when making the decision to make or buy:         
  • How much will it cost to buy? 
  • How much will it cost to make? (You have to consider all materials and any tools you don’t already have)
  • How much time will it take to make?
The best way to share with you my opinions on the make vs. buy is to share some of my own experience, and my decision making process. 

Two costumes that I consider “buy cosplays” are Black Widow and Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. The only thing I made on Black Widow was my belt buckle, and I didn’t make anything on Lara; she was completely store bought. Since these items are readily available to me at a cost that outweighs the time and cost of trying to make them myself I decided to just go ahead and purchase away. They are two of my most recognized costumes when I take them to conventions, and two strong women characters that are super fun to pretend to be for the day. 


I have made a lot of my own costumes: Cinderella, Super Girl, Snow White, Officer Jenny, Sleeping Beauty... Because I made them I truly appreciate them a lot more than something I can go buy in the store. My main decisions to make costumes are either because I can’t exactly find what I want in the store, or it will be significantly cheaper to make them than to buy them. 
Example 1- I could have purchased an Officer Jenny costume like this one for some ridiculous amount of money, and been completely happy. The cost of the fabric and items that made my costume only ended up being about $30 (wig excluded). Add about 10 hours of actual time spent making this outfit, and I would say it is completely worth the $60 I saved on my outfit. 

Example 2- I’m a complete Disney nut. The princesses hold a special place in my heart. Truthfully, I spent about the same amount of money on fabric as I would have purchasing a costume online like this one for my Cinderella cosplay, but it wouldn’t have been what I wanted.  I slaved away over a costume that I could have very easily bought for the same price, but at the end of the day I was way happier wearing my own vision of her ball gown than something I bought off the internet. 

What I’m trying to get across here is that the whole point of cosplay is to have fun. I’ve been lucky enough to not have anyone judge me to my face about the costumes I’ve bought. The second they do, I don’t really care. I love all of my costumes, and I have just as much fun wearing Lara as I do wearing Cinderella. Cosplay on!
Thanks for having me this month, and don’t forget to check out my own website and blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest as Sadie by Design. 

Photography credit: Joe’s Studio (