If you’re like many people (including me), then you probably buy most of your cosplay stuff online. However, there may be times where an online store may not be an option. What if you you need some cosplay materials soon because a convention is coming up? Or the cost of shipping some of these items is way too expensive? Or in general, you find it easier and more convenient to buy locally?
Well, if you are in one of these categories then I’m here to help you out today!
In this post, I’ll give you 10 places where you can buy cosplay supplies locally. Whether it’s cosplay materials or specialized items for your costume, these places will make things way more convenient for you.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Ok I’ll be honest; I am not 100% sure of the name. I’ve seen Jo-Ann, Joann’s and JOANN. But since Yaya Han calls it by JOANN, let’s go by that!
Anyways, if you live in the US, then you may already know about JOANN. It’s THE place to shop for cosplay materials! As far as I know they are the only brick-and-mortar chain retail store that has a section that specifically caters towards cosplay materials and products. You can literally find everything you need at JOANN for your next cosplay, including fabric, sewing supplies and even paint!
There are many JOANN locations in the US. So unless you really live in the middle of nowhere, you’ll probably find a local JOANN store near you!
If you don’t have a JOANN near you or you don’t live in America, then Michaels is another fantastic option for cosplay supplies locally. Their stores are huge and they have lots of useful materials related to cosplay such as fabric, tools and crafting materials you can use for your costume. There are so many Michaels locations in Canada and the US, so you’ll be able to find many cosplay supplies here.
This is for my Canadian readers. Fabricland is another great chain retail store that sells…you guessed it..fabric! The nice thing about Fabricland is that they often have many discounts and sales, so it’s a great way to save a lot of money on fabric. If you buy in bulk, you can stock up for future cosplays.
4. Thrift shops
Many cosplayers including myself absolutely love thrift stores such as Goodwill, Salvation Army and Value Village. Not only can you find cosplay gear such as shoes, boots and clothing, but you can get them at dirt cheap prices! Like for example, the boots I used for my Roy Mustang and Marth cosplays, I only paid $2 CAD for them at Goodwill. Thrift shops are totally amazing for closet cosplays (if you want some closet cosplay ideas, click here).
5. Cheap clothing stores
Many characters in series like Pokemon and Chainsaw Man wear regular clothing that’s easy to get from clothing stores. So places like H&M and Uniqlo are great if you want buy things like a dress shirt, dress pants or a certain colored dress.
I remember once I was planning to cosplay at a convention outside of my hometown. Unfortunately, I forgot half my cosplay at home! I was bummed out at first, but I improvised and decided to hit up a local mall in the area that had an H&M store. I bought a white dress shirt to do a casual version of my character. In the end, it worked out for me! I still looked great and tons of people asked for my photo at the convention.
So if you’re in a pinch or you’re looking for a place to find regular clothing for your cosplay, then find those cheap clothing shops in your area!
6. Hardware store
Yes, hardware stores have quite a few useful items in them! Mostly everything you need to make cosplay props will be found inside a hardware shop. Things such as glue guns, wood and cutting materials will be available. Stores such as Home Depot, Home Improvement, Lowe’s and RONA are great if you need hardware-related items for cosplay. Those stores are all over North America, but if you don’t live on the continent, I’m sure there is an equivalent in your area!
7. Wig Shop
Okay, of all the local shops, I would say for a wig shop, you need to be the most careful. There is a reason why many cosplayers buy their wigs online; it’s hard to find the right wig in-store. That’s because a lot of wig shops will sell wigs using real human hair, which is GREAT if you’re wearing it out normally for yourself. But for cosplay, not so much. It’s far more difficult to style human-hair wigs than synthetic fiber wigs (which is what most cosplay wigs use).
So if you really want to buy a wig in-person, then make sure it’s synthetic. But chances are, it’ll be really difficult to find the wig you’re looking for at a local shop, especially with the styling.
It’s all good though. There are plenty of online wig sites that sell for very cheap, making them a popular buy online. Click here if you want to know the best wig sites!
8, Halloween and party stores
I’m sure when you first started out in cosplay, this was the first place you went for a costume! It does make sense. Well, you can definitely still use them to get accessories for your new cosplays. I wouldn’t recommend buying a full costume at a Halloween or party store; as I mention in my cosplay vs costume article (click here to read), the costumes at party stores are meant to born only during Halloween and far less often than a cosplay. Therefore, while the prices will be cheaper, the quality usually won’t be as good.
With that said, you can get a lot of useful stuff at a Halloween store! I myself have bought many accessories for my costumes, such as my eyepatch for my Kaeya cosplay. And as mentioned in the previous section, you can also buy wigs here as well (although not as good quality).
9. Fabric/fashion district in your area
Many cities around the world have a fashion district; examples include the ones in Toronto and Los Angeles. Not only can you get clothing and materials for your cosplay like you can with thrift shops and cheap clothing stores, but I also find you can find some really cool accessories for your costume as well. When I cosplayed Sebastian from Black Butler, I found some cheap but really nice-looking chains to add to my blazer of his outfit.
So if you want to add a little spice to your costume such as jewelry or other cool knacks, then definitely hit up the fashion district in your area!
10. Local cosplay stores
I saved this one for last but it is honestly pretty rare to have an actual cosplay store located near you. I live in one of the biggest cities in North America, and we don’t even have one here (except for one in my opinion). But in the event that you do, then you have a HUGE advantage in being able to buy cosplays right from the source without paying any shipping usually!
When I visited Tokyo, they had tons of stores selling high-quality cosplays. While the prices were high, the materials used were top notch.
Sometimes, you may be lucky that an online cosplay store has an office in your local area. One example is Cosplay Station, where they have their office in Toronto, Canada and you can pick up the costume right there, saving you the hassle of shipping. They’re really cool! Check out the interview I did with them here.
To summarize, here are the 10 places where you can buy cosplay supplies locally:
- Thrift stores
- Cheap clothing stores
- Hardware store
- Wig store
- Halloween and party stores
- Fashion district in your local area
- Local cosplay stores
And there you have it; 10 places to buy cosplay stuff locally! I hope you found this post useful.
If you have any questions or other places you’d recommend, let me know in the comments below!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!