Cosplay, short for costume play, is the act of designing, creating, and wearing costumes based on characters or themes. Cosplay has been around for decades, in many forms. Cosplay is usually related to characters of popular fiction. Most cosplay involves sci fi and fantasy such as video games, movies, tv shows, comics, and more.
It is hard to say when cosplay began. This depends on perception and definition. You could say cosplay has been around for centuries, through stage play costumes, movie costumes, and even people dressing up for holidays. Halloween is a great example. So is Santa, and the Easter Bunny. Many festivals and other celebrations have required people to dress up with traditional or non-traditional costumes. Mardi-Gra. However even for todays modern term of cosplay, which more so falls into the geekier, con involved style has been around longer than you may think. Cosplayers have said to be dated as far back as the 70’s, possibly earlier.
WorldCon had much to do with the origin of cosplay as we know it.
First term used in 1984 at WorldCon. The term was created by a reporter mixing the words “costume” and “play”.
In 2009 Jessica Nigri became a internet star when pictures of her in a Pikachu cosplay at San Diego Comic-Con International started catching many people attention. We can see why. Jessica’s images helped boost and promote the cosplay community online.
1st World Science Fiction Convention (Nycon) July 2 to July 4, 1939
San Diego Comic-Con Mar 21, 1970