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Annika Heip as Demon Hunter, wearing her self made costume with worbla armour, Photographer: Dartura/ThisMomentPictures

The whole costume­ thing started many years ago, when I was able to dress myself up, not only for carnival, but also to play with friends in the forest. I imagined and developed characters and always wanted to dress up as my favourite fairytale characters, such as Allerleirauh, Rose Red, The Last Unicorn and many others. When I was about 16 years old, I discovered LARP, then cosplay and now both hobbies are a part of my life.

Sophie Vetter as Melina, a Reikland (Warhammer) bandit , used-look costume with handmade leather details by Reikmetall
Sophie Vetter as Melina, a Reikland (Warhammer) bandit , used-look costume with handmade leather details by Reikmetall

Having done LARP and cosplay for a few years, I have noticed the following: there are very few people doing both and those who do, most often pursue them in a very unbalanced way. Thus, the subject I want to deal with – “Why would LARP be interesting for cosplayers?”

Cosplay is when people wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character or idea. I think the main “reasons” for cosplaying are crafting the beautiful costumes, spending time with friends from all over the world (this happens not only at the conventions but also during cosplay & fandom boards) and seeing your favourite actors in person.
LARP stands for live action role-playing game, a form game where the participants physically act out their characters’ actions. LARP differs from convention to convention. There are some events where you can hang out with friends, do a little roleplay and wear a costume bought
for less than 100€. Most cosplayers I know who are also doing LARP, go to this kind of events once every 1 to 2 years. There are also events where you start planning one year in advance, work on your costume(s) for months (and never finish!) and play challenging characters a few days without a break, maybe with people you’ve never met before.
You see – there are lots of possibilities. But let’s take a closer look at the costume part. Crafting a
costume for your LARP character is something pretty different from doing it for cosplay. It’s not about
copying something as perfectly as possible (find the right fabrics, search the whole web for the
perfect wig, etc.), it’s more about bringing your own ideas into reality. This is sometimes very
difficult and not always satisfying, because not all of us are designers or pattern makers or have a
clue about colours and how something from out of your head may look in real life. And of
course, LARP costumes have to survive a battle, so even if worbla armour look very cool, it will
not look cool anymore after your second encounter with an orc on the battlefield.
The other important thing is the roleplay, also completely different from Cosplay, because you have
to dive into the character and consequently keep playing it for some days without a bigger break.
Furthermore, you have to keep in mind that your actions may have negative effects on the whole
game (e.g. if you kill your enemy, the person playing this character may be frustrated because his
character is dead now and he has to continue with another character).
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Tobias Frisch as Commander Cody (Revenge of the Sith) in his selfmade costume
You really need ideas and the will to make your own props, ­which is also linked to rules, but based on your own fantasy. Moreover, you should like playing a role. Many people don’t dare trying this out – if somebody addressed me as “fair lady”, I would burst into tears of laughter! – but if you don’t, then you’ll never know if it is for you or not.
Maybe you wont attract too much attention at a cosplay convention, maybe nobody is going to take pictures
of you (because even if there are photographers, you’re an always­ moving­ bee so the snapshots are
all blurred) and you wont have time to talk about real life stuff with your friends; you most likely
will not meet any real actors and you’ll probably not stay in a fancy hotel room, but in a tent with bugs
and spiders. Nonetheless, you’ll have the opportunity to work out your own idea of a character, not
only for the costume, but also by playing this character for a few days. You may discover new
sides of your personality and especially go through adventures like in books or movies, only with
soaked shoes, no sleep and – of course – your (new) friends.

Lena AvaLena B. Driftwood is addicted to Elvenstuff, professional costumes & pattern making. She plays several instruments and has been Larping & Cosplaying for 6 years.