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Cosplay 101: How To Start Your Cosplay Career?

Cosplay 101: How To Start Your Cosplay Career?

Cosplaying allows you to become anyone you want to be. You can be your favorite anime character or a character from your favorite game. You can even be your own character you visualized with your own imagination. Cosplay is limitless.

This, of course, makes it such a fulfilling activity and a great way to socialize with people of the same interest. It can also hone your crafting skills as cosplay is basically art in itself. It can be a lot of work for sure.

But, once you get passionate about it, it becomes a fun hobby that will fuel your enthusiasm.

Left to right: yashafluff | yakimaru | charess

Cosplay 101: How To Start Your Cosplay Career?

1. The cost.

While cosplay is a really fun activity, it doesn’t always come cheap. In reality, cosplaying is an expensive hobby. Costume prices vary depending on the brand and quality. It also requires a lot of other things apart from the costume itself like make-up, accessories like contact lenses, wigs, props, etc. You can also put into account the tools you may need to achieve cosplay perfection like equipment for styling your wigs. But don’t worry because there are ways to spend less and still achieve your cosplay goals!


Canvassing will allow you to have options for where to buy your costumes and will set your expectations on the prices. Costumes and wigs aren’t sold at the same prices by cosplay shops as it depends on their supplier and the foreign exchange rate. Costumes usually come from overseas like China so prices may always change without prior notice.

Keep an eye on promotions.

Cosplay brands offer huge sales yearly! You can save a lot when you buy your stuff at discounted prices to the regular prices. These sale promotions are usually held during the mid-year and at the end of the year (11.11 and 12.12 sales). Special holiday sales also happen yearly like Chinese New Year sales which offer the biggest discounts on selected brands.

Consider having your costume custom-made.

MTO (made-to-order) shops are also a great choice for those who are on a budget. Usually, these shops offer cheaper prices than branded costumes, depending on how detailed your costume will be. They will give you pricing options depending on the available material they have.

Buy secondhand costume sets.

Buying secondhand costumes can save you a lot of money. Usually, they even come in sets (costume + wig + shoes + accessories) so you don’t have to worry about buying stuff from different shops and spending extra on shipping fees. Some sellers even offer installments or layaways which will give you more time to save up until you have the money to pay it in full. If you’re lucky, you can even get costumes from great brands but for cheap! Just be sure to check the legitimacy of the seller as scammers are prominent too. Yikes!

Consider making your own costume.

If you have the skills and equipment available at home, this is probably the cheapest way to cosplay. You can have the freedom to choose materials based on your budget and you can even work at your own pace Plus, you don’t have to pay for labor, just gotta exert extra effort here.

2. What to expect.

On costumes:

Your costume may not come to you in the perfect fit so you may have to consider possible alterations (extra expenses, yes). Sometimes, size charts are not accurate so it is best to keep that in mind when buying branded costumes. Custom-made costumes may not be a perfect fit as well. So be sure to talk to your tailor if you have concerns about the size.

On wigs:

Wigs don’t come styled too! You may have to have it commissioned by wig stylists online or style it on your own. But you will need proper equipment for this like a wig holder and wig head, styling glue, a good hairspray, hair straightener, or curler, among other things. And of course, the right skills to style and cut your wigs.

But here’s a tip: If you have no experience in wig styling and you’re not confident in trying it out, DON’T. You will risk destroying your wig and it is never practical as wigs don’t come cheap as well. Trust me, I have been there and I regret it a lot, lol. It is better to have it styled by a skilled stylist than to buy a new one. We don’t want to waste money and effort here.

On props:

Sometimes, props may be necessary to complete a cosplay. And these don’t come cheap. Some props may even be more expensive than the costume itself. So be sure to put into an account which character you will be cosplaying and if they have alternative versions that may be less expensive that you can opt for. Some props may be available in cosplay shops but it can be for preorder as well. But if you’re lucky, you may find them on hand. Just have to know where to browse. Props with complicated designs can mostly be achieved through commissions but unlike costumes, prop commissions can be more expensive depending on the material the crafter will use.

On time:

Buying and completing cosplays takes A LOT of time. Branded costumes and wigs are mostly for preorders and will take up to months before it arrives at your door. Expediting orders will cost you almost twice the regular price so we don’t really opt for that unless you are in a rush or you are capable enough to pay extra.

Commissioning tailors and wig stylists will also require a lot of waiting. It may take up weeks or even months depending on their availability. Rush orders may be available but it solely depends on the artist if they will offer or accept it or not. Patience is a virtue that will be your mantra throughout this whole process.

On shops:

Shipping delays are very common when ordering costumes through online cosplay shops. This is something the shop owners cannot control as well. Shipping delays are sometimes caused by slow production from the brand itself or slow deliveries from the agent’s suppliers. It is also worth noting that these shop owners only cater preorders, but they also just get their supplies from someone else.

3. Where to buy your cosplays.

Facebook cosplay shops

Facebook shops offer catering batches so you don’t have to spend a lot on international shipping fees. They have preorder batches you can join anytime you want to order, as long as the item you need is available. These shops may offer down payments upon preorder and the remaining balance can be settled upon the item’s arrival. Some may require full payments too as they offer cheaper gross prices. They also post on-hand items on their pages but with limited stocks.

Here are some Facebook cosplay shops I recommend:

For MTO shops:

For props and accessories:

Note: Most MTO cosplay shops can also craft props. You just have to inquire and ask for quotations or availability.

See Also

Other major cosplay essentials sources:

This is a Facebook Group where you can look for anything you might need. Secondhand or on-hand costumes, wigs, props or accessories, other cosplay or MTO shops, and you can even sell your own items here in case you need funds for your next cosplay. Anything related to cosplay may be found here.

  • Shopee or Lazada

Some shops use Shopee or Lazada to sell their cosplay products. Take advantage of Shopee or Lazada vouchers to earn discounts on your costumes or wigs. You can even find accessories that you might need here. Just be sure to check the reviews so you know that the shop is legitimate.

4. How to earn money from cosplaying.

Cosplaying, apart from being a hobby, may also be a source of income. Here are some ways you can earn from your cosplay:

  • Selling cosplay prints
  • Paid fan signs
  • Offering services (makeup, wig styling, prop making, coscard printing, photo editing, etc)

But do note that you may have to earn a significant amount of following before you can sell your craft successfully. Exposure is key here. Creating a social media page for your cosplays is one way of promoting your cosplay career. For service offers, you can simply post on Cosplay Market PH to attract potential clients. Be sure to indicate your prices, sample works (if any), and availability of slots.

5. Best ways to enjoy cosplaying.

Number 1 on the list is attending cosplay conventions. This way you can show off your hard work to achieve your cosplay goals. You will meet amazing people who will compliment your cosplay and even make friends with you! The experience is very fulfilling so be sure to put this on your cosplay bucket list!

The second is to take a creative photoshoot of your cosplay. You can do it at home, outdoors, or at a cosplay-themed studio. There are great cosplay studios around Metro Manila like District 1 Cosplay Studio, Sashinko Studio, and RaiChi Studio.

Lastly, cosplay for your own satisfaction, not for clout. Your number 1 fan should always be yourself. Be proud of your creation and hard work. Achieving cosplay goals can be challenging sometimes so always give yourself a pat on the shoulder every time you are satisfied with your cosplay!

So that’s everything you need to know about cosplaying. The cosplay community is always open for newbies so if you ever feel like venturing into this hobby, you’re already in for a great start!

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