Is it okay to buy cosplay? It’s a question that both beginner and even experienced cosplayers ask.

You’ve probably seen a bunch of different cosplay photos and videos online of people making their costumes. There is a whole section of content showing cosplayers and their progress with their new costume (e.g. #cosplans). In fact, conventions have an entire section called the Masquerade, where they give out prizes to cosplayers who make the best costumes.

So you might be thinking that in order to take part in cosplay, you have to make them yourself. Is that true? Let’s find out.

Is it okay to buy cosplay?

Not only is it perfectly fine to buy your cosplays, there are many cosplayers who do this. Buying your cosplay is quite because not everyone has the skill or time to sew and craft their own costume. So you don’t have to worry about being a fraud or fake if you can’t make your own cosplays. The only situation where you can’t buy a cosplay is for a masquerade. In that scenario, all costumes must be made by yourself.

In this post, I’ll go whether is it okay to buy cosplay and why it totally is. By the end of the post, you’ll have no doubt at all and be alright with buying cosplays!

1. Not everyone can sew

sewing machine (is it okay to buy cosplay)
Getting good at sewing takes years of practice. Buying a costume doesn’t take as long. 🙂 Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay.

To me, this is the number one reason why people buy their cosplays. Not everyone can sew or craft their own costume from scratch (including myself). Learning how to sew at a decent level takes YEARS of practice. It’s a skill that is not easy to learn. While learning how to sew is great and there’s a lot of fulfillment in making your own costume, you may not want to invest in so much time and effort yourself. Maybe you just want to put on a costume and not have to worry about learning a difficult skill. In that case, buying a cosplay is totally for you!

2. Time = Money

Matching outfits is very important for cosplay dance groups. So it’s easier and more practical to buy cosplays in this case. Cosplay group: Mahou Dreamers. Photo by Shaded Lenz Photography.

Building a costume takes a long ass time to make. While there is definitely joy in the processing of costume-making (that’s why many cosplayers are into the hobby), not everyone feels the same way. Not everyone can commit time to make one; your schedule might be too busy to create a costume completely by yourself.

Instead of having to spend weeks or even months creating a costume, what if you could just instantly have a costume ready by clicking the BUY button on a cosplay website? By purchasing a costume, you save HOURS and HOURS of labor by getting someone else to do it for you!

Especially for group cosplays such as Love Live!, it’s more practical to buy a set of cosplays for each member than it is to get every member to make their own costume (or getting 1 member to make everyone’s costume).

If you’re someone who doesn’t have much time to spare, then buying a cosplay is totally worth it!

3. Costume-making can be stressful

messy (is it okay to buy cosplay)
Costume-making can be stressful. For some, it may not be worth the effort. Image by Pexels from Pixabay.

While making a costume can definitely be super-fun, it’s also filled with frustrating moments at times.

Things like:

  • Sewing the wrong way
  • Not having enough glue
  • Realizing you’re taking on a cosplay project far too difficult for your skill level
  • Making a silly mistake because you’re so tired
  • Cramming everything because the con is tomorrow

All these things can happen while making a cosplay, and it can be totally stressful and not fun dealing with it. If you rather not have to deal with any stress with a cosplay, then you’re better off just purchasing a cosplay and letting someone do the dirty work for you!

4. You want someone talented to make your next cosplay project!

My Marth cosplay was made by Cosplay Station and I’m proud to share their work!

Just because you’re buying a costume, doesn’t mean it’s going to be inferior quality (unless it’s from eBay wink wink). In fact, cosplay websites make some of the best costumes and a lot of them use high-quality materials. So unless you’re an expert at costume-making, you’ll probably be able to buy a costume that would likely be better than what you could make.

I can always appreciate when I wear a cosplay that is well-made by someone I purchased it from. It’s pretty much like buying a nice dress shirt or jacket from a clothing store. There’s definitely an art of buying cosplays as well!

5. Most people don’t care if you actually made the costume yourself anyway

Most people won’t ask whether you made it or not, they just want your photo! Photo by Mooshu. Licensed by CC BY 2.0.

I feel like the main reason why a lot of you guys ask is it okay to buy cosplay, is because you’re worried what other might think if you didn’t make your own cosplay. Are you a fraud if you didn’t make the costume yourself?

Well, I’m here to tell you that you have nothing to worry about! It doesn’t matter if you did or not. If they love how you look, they will complement and ask for your photo, even if you just bought it on a cheap cosplay website.

I myself never get asked if I made my own, I guess it’s obvious I didn’t. And if someone did, I tell them the truth; I bought it or had someone make it for me. If everyone cared that costumes all had to be handmade, a lot of us would be cosplay “frauds” in that case!

Of course, that’s not to say people who make their costumes shouldn’t get recognition. You should always be proud of a costume you made on your own.

Which brings me to my bonus point…

The ONLY time it’s not okay to buy a cosplay

While it’s always okay to buy a cosplay, the one exception is for cosplay contest and Masquerades. If you didn’t know already, every cosplay contest requires you to make your costume completely on your own; no store-bought parts are allowed. After all, the whole point of a Masquerade is to showcase your cosplay-crafting skills. So don’t be a cheater and buy a cosplay for a Masquerade!

So unless it’s for a cosplay contest, the question to is it okay to buy a cosplay…is definitely YES!

Is it okay to buy cosplay AND make your own costumes?

crafting (is it okay to buy cosplay)
Buying cosplays and making your own are not mutually exclusive. You can do one or the other, or both, and be happy in the cosplay world! Image by Gabriele Lässer from Pixabay.

I wanted to point out that this post isn’t about bashing anyone who makes their own cosplays. Not at all. If you want to make a costume with your own hands, by all means go for it!

There’s definitely something fulfilling making your costume from scratch, and tons of cosplayers are in this hobby for that reason. I go into more detail about why it’s great to make your own cosplay in another post.

At the same time, there shouldn’t be a stigma towards cosplayers who don’t make their own costumes. We’re all in this hobby for various reasons, and not everyone wants to learn how to sew or craft. If you fully enjoy cosplay and buy costumes from someone else, then that’s totally okay!

There you have it! We have answered the question of whether is it okay to buy cosplay?

Let me know in the comments about how you feel. Is it okay to buy cosplay FOR YOU?

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