Whether you sit in an office all day or roam the streets at night fighting crime, you need proper attire to let the world know that you mean business. The same approach applies when cosplaying because the correct suit is going to sell your role and help you inhabit your character. Despite the leather-clad heroes and villains you might imagine, combining veganism and cosplay is not just possible but a way to combine your love of action and adventure while supporting your ethics in a community that is not (yet) vegan-centric. So, whether you aim to be a role model for the good of all mankind or an evildoer luring us to the dark side with vegan cookies, our guide will show you a few creative ways to represent veganism the next time you roam Gotham.
1. Choose characters that are vegetarian or who have animal-protection stories
If you’re thinking that there aren’t any vegan and/or vegetarian comic book characters, you’re wrong. In fact, Beast Boy, Bruce Banner (The Hulk), Karolina Dean, Animal Man, Poison Ivy, and Spider-Man (the Tobey Maguire version) are all vegan, while Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Magneto, Zatanna, and Scarlet Witch are vegetarian. Furthermore, Jean Grey, Aquaman, Thor, Black Panther, and Wolverine are animal protectors.
2. Fanfic your way to glory
Have a character you think should have a vegan or vegetarian story-line? Cosplay their vegan revelation at the nearest Comic Con. Imagine you are Rogue, and you absorb the pain of a Mother Cow who just lost her baby. Maybe you want to show Captain Planet realizing the best way to reduce greenhouses gases is to go vegan. Or, perhaps it’s time to cast your vote to convert vegetarian trailblazer Lisa Simpson to full-fledged vegan all these years later.
3. Go stretch
The best parts of cosplay are the costumes, so why not climb into your new skin while wearing something that clings to yours? Fabrics such as latex, neoprene, milliskin, and spandex are a fantasy character’s best friend, and can help you make your own costume. Remember: you can always get pre-made costumes when you begin your cosplaying, and you need to modify your clothes only if you really want to customize or go full-geek. Just make sure to check those labels!
4. Don’t be afraid to cross those lines …
While exploring new terrain, don’t be afraid to dress as the characters of your choosing—whether they be male, female, non-binary, non-human, or otherwise. Cosplay gives you the ability to explore, represent, or promote your dreams … and maybe even the nightmares that keep you up at night. So, whatever floats your boat, commit to the role, and let your cosplay flag fly.
5. Your local garment district, craft store, and thrift store are your new hangout
If you live in a city such as Los Angeles or New York City, you’ll have access to some of the greatest garment-making supplies and extras you could ever imagine. Set a budget before you arrive, and try to remember you probably live in an apartment the size of a shoebox and should come home with a bolt of each different kind of black-light reactive spandex in SpandexHouse. If you live in a place without an elaborate garment district that would make a magpie have a stroke, don’t undersell your local craft store, flower store, and, of course, thrift stores for having a repository of convertibles and notions. These stores might also be able to steer you in the direction of local tailors or sewing classes to help you get that perfect result.
6. Invite your vegan friends to cosplay with you
Social support is important to everyone, but a lack of vegan social opportunities is also a key reason why some people have a hard time going plant-based. Conversely, cosplay is a lot more fun in groups, and you can share the best costuming tips, supplies, and make your costumes together with a nice big ol’ box of vegan pizza.
Suzannah Gerber ran the vegan fashion shop Costume Shock in Brooklyn and currently teaches classes on plant-based nutrition in Boston.