Cosplay, short for "costume play," has been called everything from performance art to role playing. It's an activity in which the player wears a costume and accessories meant to represent a specific character or idea.
While the Japanese are generally credited with originating cosplay as a form, historical facts about the origins of cosplay culture are sketchy at best. One thing is pretty clear; credit for coining the term 'cosplay' itself goes to Nobuyuki Takahashi, who first used the word in his Japanese magazine as far back as 1983.
The favored looks are often derived from sources like manga, anime, comic books, video games and science fiction films, and costumes inspired from real or virtual world inspiration are the norm. Everything from inanimate objects in anthropomorphic forms to gender-switching is fair game for the players, and there's also a subset of cosplay culture devoted to sex appeal and revealing costumes.
The costumes can range from simple themed clothing to ornately detailed costumes – and that's where a group of cosplayers, artists and designers based in Rock Hill, SC, are hoping to make their mark.
The Cosprint team, Randy Habfast, Kit Howard, Chelsey La Valley and Orianna Buchanan, are looking for funding to launch a 3D printing business to create everything from unique dice, miniatures, custom and other nerdy paraphernalia, architectural models, car parts, fashion pieces, toys, and most importantly, custom armor and accessories.
They say the goal is to offer competitively priced, 3D printed products "sturdy enough to LARP with, yet comfortable enough to wear all day at conventions." The custom fitted costumes will be aimed at kitting out the "everyday cosplayer who may not have the time, the expertise; or perhaps the money, to make their own costumes the way they would like."
Cosprint say the total of $35,000 they hope to raise will allow them to purchase a large format 3D printer with a 2' x 2' x 2' build volume to print out different armor type pieces, as well as two 'desktop' 3D printers for smaller items and accessories.
Some of the funds will also be used to pay for booth space at major conventions throughout the year and the purchase of two different scanners.