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Cosplayers connect amid pandemic

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Hyderabad: Cosplay or costume play is a performance art where participants dress up in costumes representing specific characters. This is usually done at Comic Cons and other such events and Hyderabad is also home to a decent cosplay community.

Like other performing avenues, cosplaying has also been a victim of the ongoing pandemic and as city cosplayers say, the activity has come to a standstill in the last one and a half years.

“The last Comic Con happened in 2019 and after that, there has been no event for cosplayers in the city because of the pandemic. Passionate cosplayers have been doing live streaming of cosplays and that’s pretty much what it has become,” says Sai Kiran, a game artist and a cosplayer since 2015. There are many who make money as freelance costume makers, by making commissioned costumes and they have been affected as well due to the pandemic, he points out.

According to Sunil Choppala, a cosplayer and photographer, even getting the right material to make the costumes has become difficult.

“There’s a specific kind of foam called EVA Foam that is popular amongst cosplayers for its physical properties. It can be moulded easily and is cheap. It became difficult to get materials like this foam after the pandemic set in,” he says.

However, all is not negative, as Sunil says that there have been online events that are going on globally and the scenario has enabled the entire cosplaying world to come together. People across the globe connected in online events, something that wouldn’t happen as much in live events.

“There have been many virtual events, workshops, competitions where a lot of knowledge exchange and interactions happen. I got to interact with many international cosplayers, professional cosplayers and learnt the nuances of making costumes as well. We got knowledge that we can utilise when live events start and we can make better costumes,” shares Sunil.

These virtual events have been helpful to costume makers as well, as Sunil says, “There was an online event with a German cosplayer where she spoke on how a commissioned costume should be made and priced and other financial aspects of cosplaying. Now I understand it better.”

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