Cosplay can be a solitary art at times, whether you're heat forming foam in the garage or sitting at the sewing machine for hours on end, but that doesn't mean you always have to go it alone on a cosplay. Plenty of impressive cosplays you might see online or at a con are actually group cosplays. We're defining a group cosplay as a planned, coordinated set of costumes that cosplayers wear together. For example, if you rounded up a few friends to cosplay several characters from the same show or game, that's a group cosplay. However, when you add more people to your cosplay, this kind of project can come with its own challenges to overcome. In this cosplay survival guide, we'll give you our top tips for cosplaying as a group, both in the workshop and out in the world.
Tips for Building High Quality Group Cosplay
- Get everyone on the same page. This is perhaps the most important part of cosplaying as a group: ensuring that everyone is committed to the cosplay and understands how their work will fit with the group. If not everyone is clear on which character they're supposed to be building and how the cosplay is supposed to fit into the group, your group cosplay runs the risk of falling apart. When you're gathering your group, be sure that you all agree on the direction, look, and feel of the cosplay, as well as which characters you all want/can make.
- Coordinate your materials. Many of the best group cosplays look so great because they are consistent. The best way to make sure that one person's cosplay doesn't look significantly different from the rest of the group's is to coordinate what materials you'll use, especially for matching parts of your cosplay. For instance, if you need matching magical girl skirts, be sure you all buy the same fabric, or fabric with a similar texture in different colors. Alternatively, if one set of armor is made from foam and another is thermoplastic, your costumes won't look as consistent either. If you're buying any costume piece online, make sure everyone orders from the same seller so that colors and materials match. The more you check in and plan together, the more cohesive your finished group will look.
- Divide up the work load fairly. One of the beauties of group cosplays is that you can help the others in your group make the best cosplays possible. Therefore, if you're skilled in one area of cosplay and have time to spare, you might be asked to help others make that costume element. However, it's important to think about time management and make sure not one member of the group is picking up everyone else's slack. Everyone needs to contribute and make sure their cosplay is finished on time and with good quality. If you want to be absolutely sure that everyone is managing their workload, have accountability check ins and send each other costume progress, or meet up to build together when it is safe to do so.
Handling the Social Side of Group Cosplay
The crafting process of making a group cosplay is only one aspect of the project, however. It's also important to keep an eye on the social side of your group cosplay in order to ensure that you get as much out of the experience as possible. When you get a group of people together to do just about anything, you always run the risk of members butting heads, and this goes for group cosplays as well. If managing and keeping up with a large group of people is going to be stressful and ruin the experience for you, consider keeping your group small. Having a positive attitude can help keep drama to a minimum. And finally, be sure to take care of yourself before and after you debut your cosplay. If you're healthy and hydrated and ready to go, you're more likely to have a better time with your group and enjoy the experience.