Crafting Cosplay

  • Garry CrawfordEmail author
  • David Hancock
Part of the Leisure Studies in a Global Era book series (LSGE)


This chapter focuses on the processes and interactions involved in crafting cosplay costumes and performances, but argues that cosplay is much more than simply a costume and a performance. The chapter begins by situating cosplay within a wider consideration of the changing nature of audiences. Following on from this, we focus on participatory culture, before advocating the use of communities of practice as a useful way of understanding cosplay as a crafting community. The main focus and final three sections of the chapter look more specifically at crafting cosplay. Here, we consider the making of cosplay costumes, the importance of authenticity, the role of judgement in maintaining and enforcing the culture of this community, and finally, inequality and hierarchies within cosplay culture.


  1. Abercrombie, N., & Longhurst, B. (1998). Audiences. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Bacon-Smith, C. (1992). Enterprising Women: Television Fandom and the Creation of Popular Myth. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bainbridge, J., & Norris, C. (2013, July). Posthuman Drag: Understanding Cosplay as Social Networking in a Material Culture. Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, 32. Accessed 4 January 2019.
  4. Bertschy, Z. (2013). 5 Things I Learned from SyFy’s “Heroes of Cosplay”. Anime News Network. Accessed 18 January 2019.
  5. Blackshaw, T., & Crawford, G. (2009). Sage Dictionary of Leisure Studies. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A Critique of the Judgement of Taste. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Craven, J. (2018, April 15). Craft Is an Antidote to Digital Media: An Interview with Jonathan Lowe. The Observer Magazine, pp. 38–39.Google Scholar
  8. Crawford, G. (2012). Video Gamers. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997). Creativity: Flow and the Psychological of Discovery and Invention. New York: Harper Perennial.Google Scholar
  10. de Certeau, M. (1984). The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  11. Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1988). A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: Athlone Press.Google Scholar
  12. The Design Museum. (2018). LOEWE Craft Prize 2018. The Design Museum. Accessed 18 January 2019.
  13. Duguid, P. (2005). “The Art of Knowing”: Social and Tacit Dimensions of Knowledge and the Limits of the Community of Practice. The Information Society: An International Journal, 21(2), 109–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dunlap, R. (2013). Playin’ Farmer: Leisure Experiences in a Craft-Based Community of Practice. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 26(1), 118–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Falzone, D. (2016). Sexy Cosplayers Can Make $200,000 a Year at Comic Book Conventions. Fox New Channel. Accessed 18 January 2019.
  16. Fine, G. A. (1983). Shared Fantasy: Role-Playing Games as Social Worlds. London: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  17. Foucault, M. (1979). Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  18. Gauntlett, R. (2018). Making Is Connecting: The Social Power of Creativity, form Craft and Knitting to Digital Everything (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  19. Hall, S. (1980). Encoding and Decoding. In S. Hall, D. Hobson, A. Lowe, & P. Willis (Eds.), Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972–79. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  20. Hall, S., & Schwarz, B. (2007). Living with Difference: Stuart Hall in Conversation with Bill Schwarz. Surroundings, 37(Winter), 148–158. Accessed 5 Feb 2019.
  21. Hills, M. (2014). From Dalek Half Balls to Daft Punk Helmets: Mimetic Fandom and the Crafting of Replicas. Transformative Works and Culture, 16. Accessed 18 January 2019.
  22. Hodkinson, P. (2002). Goth: Identity, Style and Subculture. Oxford: Berg.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Holmes, K., Greenhill, A., & McLean, R. (2014). Creating Communities: The Use of Technology in Craft and DIY Communities of Practice. Journal of Systems and Information, 16(4), 277–295.Google Scholar
  24. Jenkins, H. (1992). Textual Poachers. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Jenkins, H. (2003, January 15). Transmedia Storytelling. MIT Technology Review. Accessed 15 January 2019.
  26. Jenkins, H. (2006a). Fans, Bloggers and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Jenkins, H. (2006b). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Kawamura, Y. (2012). Fashioning Japanese Subcultures. London: Berg.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kirkpatrick, E. (2015). Towards New Horizons: Cosplay (Re)Imagined Through the Superheroes Genre, Authenticity, & Transformation. Transformative Works & Cultures, 18. Accessed 4 January 2019.
  30. Lamerichs, N. (2011). Stranger Than Fiction: Fan Identity in Cosplay. Transformative Works & Cultures, 11. Accessed 4 January 2019.
  31. Lamerichs, N. (2013). Cosplay: The Affective Mediation of Fictional Bodies. Conference paper presented at the Fan Studies Network Conference, University of East Anglia, Norwich. Accessed 16 January 2019.
  32. Lamerichs, N. (2014). Embodied Fantasy: The Affective Space of Anime Conventions. In L. Dutis, K. Zwaan, & S. Reijnders (Eds.), The Ashgate Companions to Fan Cultures (pp. 263–274). Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  33. Lamerichs, N. (2015). Express Yourself: An Affective Analysis of Game Cosplayers. In J. Enevold & E. MacCallum-Stewart (Eds.), Game Love: Essays on Play and Affection (pp. 125–154). Jeffersson, NC: McFarland.Google Scholar
  34. Lamerichs, N. (2018). Productive Fandom: Intermediality and Affective Reception in Fan Cultures. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Clearing Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Levine, F., & Heimerl, C. (Eds.). (2008). Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.Google Scholar
  37. Lome, J. K. (2016). The Creative Empowerment of Body Positivity in the Cosplay Community. Transformative Works and Cultures, 22. Accessed 4 January 2019.
  38. Lotecki, A. (2012). Cosplay Culture: The Development of Interactive and Living Art Through Play. Unpublished Master Thesis, Ryerson University, Toronto.Google Scholar
  39. Mathiesen, T. (1997). The Viewer Society: Michel Foucault’s ‘Panopticon’ Revisited. Theoretical Criminology, 1(2), 215–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Napier, S. J. (2007). From Impressionism to Anime—Japan as Fantasy and Fan Cult in the Mind of the West. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  41. Nightingale, V. (2007). The Cameraphone and Online Image Sharing. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, 21(2), 89–301.Google Scholar
  42. Peirson-Smith, A. (2013). Fashioning the Fanatical Self: An Examination of the Cosplay Dress-up Phenomenon in Southeast Asia. Fashion Theory, 17(1), 77–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Preece, J. (2000). Online Communities: Designing Usability, Supporting Sociability. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  44. Richard, G. (2015). Supportive Online Gaming Communities as Models of Inclusive Communities of Practice and Informal Learning Within Game Cultures Across Game Genres. Conference paper presented at 2015 American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. Accessed 18 January 2019.
  45. Rosenberg, R. S., & Letamendi, A. M. (2013). Expressions of Fandom: Findings from a Psychological Survey of Cosplay and Costume Wear. Intensities: The Journal of Cult Fandom, 5. Accessed 15 January 2019.
  46. Stebbins, R. A. (1992). Amateurs, Professionals and Serious Leisure. London: McGill-Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Thornton, S. (1995). Club Culture: Music, Media & Subcultural Capital. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  48. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Synder, W. (2002). Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge. Boston: Harvard Business School.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SalfordSalfordUK

Personalised recommendations