Costumes are so expensive, why?
Recently, I started to take photos of some cosplayers and get to know this area better and better. I even cosplayed the Captain of America once.
I became interested in this group, so I joined some forums and asked questions.
I found most people are making costumes themselves, they talk think about fabrics and how to make costumes. I was curious about why they don’t buy costumes instead until I see a related question on Quora. Costumes are expensive, and they can get a lot of fun from making costumes step by step.
I decided to figure out why the costumes are so expensive. After some researches, here is what I found.
It is all costumes are that expensive, but the prices are related to its effect. Customized costumes are the most expensive ones, especially those armor type and robot type. For example, some dude is so addicted to Iron Man, he spends quite a lot of money on his costume. His costumes have generations, functions and fit his body well.
Companies are different, they need to do volume productions, balance the cost and benefits.
Take Overwatch as an example, companies need to do research to the market, then decide the products to produce, the group people to sell to and the rough prices on every product.
In this step, Complex characters like Reinhardt and Winston will be ruled out, unless those characters are so popular that people will spend a lot of money on it. Those costumes are too complex for volume production, too expensive to ship, too hard to fit most of the people and too costly for the customers. Anyway, there are not so many cosplayers that require so much in detail, even they make it, the selling would be a huge problem. So they only provide this service for a few people.
After that, they will get prices from the factories and suppliers to know the rough cost. Factories and suppliers always require volume orders. If the company cannot sell them as their expectations, the loss will come. To satisfy the most, it is a good choice to reduce the details or use cost-effective materials instead of the best. That’s why some costumes look different more or less than the original characters and lost some functions. If you spend 100$ more, you can keep those details with the best fabric. FYI, because of the cooperation between companies and suppliers, some best materials may not reachable for normal cosplayers.
Using a simple process to replace the complex one is also a usual way to reduce the cost, people may not know the differences. So you need to check the details carefully while choosing two similar costumes at different prices.
Next, let’s talk about the most expensive part, mould. Some costumes or props required mould, even for a one-time building. Making a mould costs a lot of money. As for companies, they can do volume productions and cover the cost of every product. So you are actually paying money for their mould, which rises the prices as well.
But it’s actually fair enough. Companies reduce the time of production on every product. Time is also a cost.
Making your own costumes and props, you will get a lot of fun, but spend more time and may lose some details of the selling one. Buying costumes can save your time so that you can focus more on the characters and do a much better performance.
Then the new problem comes out, how do we choose? Just assess your time and check how much time you need on a costume, after that, compare it with the price.