How To Generate Zero Waste In Cosplay
Since the 1990s, cosplay has surged in popularity, becoming a profitable industry with an incredible net worth of between $25 and $50 billion. Costumes are becoming more elaborate and conventions are spreading all around the globe. Cosplay is even inspiring our everyday style. You can head to work wearing a leather jacket just like Luke Skywalker’s or slip on a Deadpool inspired red and black jacket for your next night out. But while you may be able to buy cosplay inspired leather jackets straight off the peg, each year cosplayers spend thousands crafting costumes and accessories. But with each amazing cosplay comes all those discarded failed attempts and inevitable leftover materials. Luckily, achieving zero waste in cosplay is possible with a little thought, time, and effort.
Use What You Have
Leather is a great material to use for creating cosplay accessories and while it sounds obvious, using what you already have is a huge step towards reducing waste. Over 15 million tons of textile waste is produced each year in the U.S., which has doubled in the last 20 years. But much of this waste can be avoided by simply re-using costumes you already have or finding new ways to use accessories that are just sitting in your closets such as scarves and shawls. You may also have leather belts, shoes, bags, and jackets that are worn and tired but perfect for making holsters and straps for cosplay.
Use Thrift Shops
Leather is perfect for creating ancient, fantasy, or medieval characters. It’s also great if you want to cosplay some more modern characters. Thrift shops are ideal for finding affordable leather items that you can repurpose. But not all thrift shops are the same. Some are hiding some fantastic finds that you can transform into your next costume. Do your research and find which thrift shops offer the best leather items that you can repurpose. It’s also worth finding your nearest garment district and becoming a regular at flea markets. Focus on the base of a costume piece that’s easy to add or take away features that work best for your needs. This will take time and practice, but over time will save you dollars and wasted fabric.
Host A Cosplay Swap Meet
Around 43% of cosplayers create up to two new costumes each year while 25% create at least five. But while they may still be in pretty good condition, many of these costumes will never be worn again. However, as leather is a thick and sturdy material, it remains wonderfully durable and can hold its shape through multiple wears. Instead of trashing your unwanted cosplays, host a cosplay swap meet instead. This gives you and likeminded people the chance to get together and swap or buy and sell unwanted costumes and props. Make sure the guidelines for trading are clear up front and if possible, have participants share photos of costumes and props that they are wishing to swap beforehand. This will give everyone an idea of what to bring.
Achieving waste-free, eco-friendly cosplaying doesn’t have to be hard or complicated and certainly doesn't take any of the fun out of creating your cosplay costumes. Being just a little bit more aware of what you buy and what you use for cosplay will not only save you money but also help save the planet, too.