Buying a cosplay costume isn’t as easy as going to the Halloween costume store and picking up a package. Cosplay costumes are worn to many events throughout the year, and for this reason, they need to be both well constructed and accurate. Unfortunately, many amateur costume shops out there don’t monitor the quality of their costumes. Worse, there is a widespread practice of photo stealing.
Be Wary of Stolen Photos
Stolen pictures are unfortunately widespread among less reputable cosplay shops. Because it is expensive to make a costume prototype, many costume stores in China will steal another store’s photo. They won’t attempt to make the outfit until someone has purchased it.
The result of this can be disastrous. The result may be nothing like the image they’ve used, meaning that the final costume may be in different colors or made of different materials. It may be too long or too short. Because these costumes are often expensive, a badly made costume can be a huge disappointment.
To protect against stolen photos, browse the net to look for many cosplay shops. Get an idea of their style. If they have very inconsistent pictures, it can be a red flag. For example, if some are on mannequins, some on people, and some are only images of a character, you may want to avoid them. Never buy a cosplay costume if the only representation of it is a picture of the character, rather than an actual costume.
This practice is prevalent for EGL or Sweet Lolita cosplayers. Before purchasing, check favorite Japanese brand sites to be sure that the image isn’t stolen, or ask one of the prevalent online communities if they’ve seen the picture on a brand site before.
Communication With Costume Company
Communication or lack thereof can be another big red flag. Often cosplay shops are located in China or South Korea, but if they have a big English Speaking clientele, they will have someone on staff who can speak English. If custom work is required, make sure that there is a good line of communication before ordering.
Payment to any Cosplay shop should ideally be made over Paypal. This way, a buyer can immediately open a dispute if 30 days have passed. It sometimes takes longer than 30 days to make and deliver a costume, but this can be easily settled by closing the dispute once the cosplay costume is safely delivered. Only pay by credit card if the costume shop is located within the same country.
There are some amazing cosplay shops out there, with impeccable quality. Some can replicate a costume with near 100% accuracy. It would be a shame to let disreputable companies spoil this fun hobby for many cosplayers. With research and some good consumer habits, cosplay fans can find great costumes from excellent cosplay shops.
Thank you for reading!