Cosplay Resources

I made a page for my Costume History LibGuide about Cosplay. I was surprised how hard it was to find good sources — so I’m sharing and hoping you will help me grow this list. Feel free to copy!

Word List

This word list, which isn’t in my guide, should be useful for all you librarians. I’ve marked the LCSHs with an asterisk.

With this wordlist, I’ve had success in databases finding useful articles from about 2002 forward.

Cosplay*costume design*characters
alternative histories*fashion*video games*
fans (persons)*clothing and dress*comic strip characters*
steampunk culture*gearcartoon characters*
role playing*gadgetvideo game characters*
victorian futurismmodels and modelmaking*dungeons and dragons*
cybergothic, cyberpunktechnology in art*women superfheroes*
fandomwearable technologygraphic novels*
subculture*dress upanime
geeks (computer enthusiasts)*comic books, strips, etc.*
street style

Books about Cosplay and Steampunk

Here are a few good books we have in our library; do you have others you can recommend?

Some Cosplay Websites

I only found a few that were not sales-oriented. What others are you aware of?


After Comic-con International, (San Diego), the list of orgs and events should probably be local. On my guide, I have the nearest large convention and several local groups.

Exhibition Review: About Time: Fashion and Duration

This past weekend I had the true treat of a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and saw the Costume Institute’s 2020 special exhibition About Time: Fashion and Duration.

The exhibition, originally supposed to debut at the beginning of the summer, picked the concept of time in honor of the Met’s 150 year anniversary. The exhibition plays with the concept of time by creating a timeline of fashion with pieces from the Costume Institute collection starting from 1870 to present day.

A 1901 riding jacket is paired with this Loui Vuitton piece from 2018.

A timeline moves through two rooms and each garment is on display with a counter-piece. The oldest garments in the collection were paired with a newer “interpretation” of the same silhouette, detail, or concept.

A pink Coco Chanel suit from 1963 is compared to a black version designed by Karl Lagerfeld in 1994.

It was also fun to see how designers were represented on the timeline, like Elsa Shiaparellia who appeared first as a “newer” garment paired with an 1870 garment, and then later appeared as the older garment paired with 1978 Yves Saint Laurent jacket. Picture above, an original Coco Chanel suit from 1963 is paired with a 1994 Chanel suit designed under Karl Lagerfeld.

A 3-d printed ballgown from Iris Van Herpen, 2012, is paired with a Charles James ball gown from 1951.

As we reached the end of the timeline, newer couture pieces were paired with a historic piece. New technologies were paired with classic silhouettes demonstrating that the exaggerated pieces we see on the runaway are often rooted in very old ideas.

The Costume Institute exhibit runs through February 7th. One note: due to COVID-19 restrictions, both the museum and the exhibition require an advanced ticket (as does the Met’s Making the Met: 1870-2020 exhibition). Be sure to reserve both tickets in advance for in order to gain admission.

Seeking Blog Contributors for 2021!

The ARLIS FTC blog is seeking additional contributors for 2021!

The ARLIS Fashion Textile and Costume Special Interest Group is currently seeking members who are willing to commit to blogging. FTC bloggers should commit to writing one post a quarter for a minimum of one year. If you are interested in being a regular blogger for FTC, please fill out the form here by January 30th, 2021.

ARLIS FTC members already have access to contribute content to this blog and are encouraged to post announcements and individual posts in this space.

Please note that you do need to be an FTC SIG member in order to sign up, but you do need to be current member of ARLIS/NA!

Fashion Librarian Spotlight: Shannon Marie Robinson

Shannon Marie Robinson

Assistant Director, Fisher Fine Arts Library, University of Pennsylvania

What is your go-to resource to recommend for FTC students and/or faculty?

Since students and faculty are almost always familiar with sources like Business of Fashion or Sourcing Journal, I try to introduce them to projects that are actively changing the industry for the better. Two that offer a lot of freely available information on sustainability / waste in production and ethical labor practices are Redress and Fashion Revolution. Students can “participate” in these projects as emerging designers or as consumers. 

Are you seeing any trends in FTC student projects/topics/etc?

Sustainability is trending in all areas of design!

Tell us about a project you’re working on!

I have a personal interest in speculative design, or design that proposes alternative visions of our near and distant futures. I’m participating in a speculative design reading group that is focused on climate change, an issue that will impact every industry and nation. I’m thinking a lot about fast fashion and the overall waste and environmental destruction caused by apparel manufacturing. 

What are you currently reading?

To accompany my speculative design reading group, I’m exploring Afrofuturism through the work of Black Quantum Futurism. I’m reading Space-Time Collapse, Vol. I. This week my reading group is discussing selections from Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable.


If you would like to be featured in an upcoming Fashion Librarian Spotlight, please contact Co-Vice Moderator, Caetllonn Seadjwyc at Your contribution will be greatly appreciated!

League of Awesome Librarians

This isn’t immediately Fashion-librarian related, but I was writing this for our library newsletter and I thought you might be interested as well.

a scrren shot from the opening pages of the League of Awesome Librarians showing various articles and topics being discussion in this online community.

Last Spring I went to the Library Unconference, a unique gathering spnsored by the Library Collective that I really enjoyed.  The sessions were all highly interactive, immediately useful, and well-presented.  Plus the swag was The Best. That group has now launched an online community called the League of Awesome Librarians.  There is a subscription fee, so I considered that a little review would help people consider whether it’s worth it.

Once you’ve joined (there are 3 levels of support that get you more or less online content), you have access to the posts, discussions, Mastermind groups, and social media of the LAL site.  The site itself is well-designed, and makes easy sense.  At the mid-level membership, there are also quarterly “free” webinars, and if you buy in at the “I’m rich” level, you even get a quarterly sway bag.

There also multiple ways to meet up with librarians, subgroups to join, regular discussion starters to weight in on.  I like that the topics encompass library minutia as well as tangential fun topics like:

We’ve all got one—a lipstick shade, a candy, a soda flavor (cough, New Coke, cough). What discontinued product do you want to make a comeback?

(This prompt was a piece of larger theme of comebacks in librarianship: books, ideas, articles). 

Well done. The feel of the LAL is friendly, immediate, realistic, useful. I’m enjoying it so far. Happy to answer any questions.

(No, this is not a paid advertisement or even something LAL suggested, just my genuine boost of a good thing. -SBS)