For those who've never heard of cosplay, short for costume play, it goes hand in hand with video games. It is a cultural phenomena that unites fans of not only video games but also manga, comics in general and science fiction. And it's fan base is growing.
One of my other hobbies includes cosplay. I tend to favor Steam Punk myself, but I mingle with all sorts of cosplayers. Here are just a few with whom I've personally interacted.
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Unfortunately, that does not seem to include player of Eve Online. I've spent some time thinking about why that is. It could be that Eve Online is not a movie or a T.V. show but that doesn't seem to add up. There are plenty of cosplayers who do not rely on film or broadcast to develop their costumes. I'm one of them.
A more likely explanation is there just isn't enough recognition of Eve Online as a potential cosplay source. After all, how many real people actually play Eve Online and do they have the resources of time and possibly money to commit to Eve Online cosplay?
I know from my own Steam Punk cosplay that premium costumes, even if "found" through visiting all the local thrift and secondhand stores, are not necessarily cheap. Try buying a victorian swallowtail coat off the rack. Even harder to find are victorian style blouses, though corsets are a dime a dozen these days. The blouses though were constructed in ways that would vex a modern seamstress. I know, my lady bought one, took it apart, and rediscovered how they made the skin hugging blouse while still giving it pillowed shoulders. It was ingenious and not something you could do on a sewing machine.
With film based coplay there is at least a pool of online retailers where such items can be purchased, or at least patterns acquired. The same goes for a lot of Victorian wear, the previous example not included. When it comes to Eve Online though, not so much. And I believe that is a missed opportunity for CCP.
Fanfest starts today. Thousands of Eve Online and Dust 514 players are descending on Reykjavik as I type. I wish I was one of them, but I dallied too long and it was sold out before I could commit to the expense. Nevertheless, had I gone I would have had no problem dressing up. I consider it fun. It's live action role play (LARP) without having to put up with a game master's script. Those who participate in LARP know what I mean.
I don't think I'm alone in this. When I go to a con, there are hundreds of people who dress up. On Saturday night, the traditional Masquerade night, thousands cosplay. There are awards for the best costumes and recognition for the long time participant as well as the new bro just wanting to try it out.
This is something for which Fanfest is ideal. I wonder if CCP has ever given it any thought. I wish they would. Where else would you go for Eve Online/Dust 514 gear patterns and props? CCP could sell patterns to make the garments and drop suits and, believe it or not, people would buy them. After making their costume, they'll want a prop to go with it - like the parasol the young lady above carries to cosplay Kaylee from Firefly. Where else to you get blasters if not from CCP? Then all a person needs is a venue to show off their creations. That's Fanfest - for a start.
That brings me to another thing about cosplay devotees. They don't just keep it to the one event. When I started doing Steam Punk, there were maybe two cons where Steam Punk existed. That was several year ago. Today, I see Steam Punk at every con I go to. And if you search Flickr, you will see it has jumped cons. Steam Punk arrived at Comic Con in San Diego a few years ago as a trickle and today, though not a torrent, is an easily recognized genre of cosplay at the largest (arguably) con in the world.
So hey, CCP: with your new store opening today (with clothing!), as well as Fanfest kicking off, why don't you give some thought to enabling the cosplay community to enter the Eve Universe. Actively pursue and support that sect of fandom. You'd be surprised to see how far some of us would go to spread the fashions of New Eden to an unsuspecting world. Advertising that pays for itself, it doesn't get any better than that. And as a bonus, you'll attract an entirely new sort of Eve universe fan. So, if you're looking to enlarge your "player" base CCP, the cosplay community will back you up. You just need to make an initial effort. I recommend a Masquerade at Fanfest 2014. If that happens, I'll see you there.