The company for a work sells costumes or accessories based on their work, so that fans (usually younger kids) can dress up like their favorite characters. Obviously, this includes those annual assortments of official Halloween costumes based on the year's current movie blockbusters and whatnot, but some of these items are produced and available year-round.
Now actual Cosplayers
almost never get involved with this stuff, unless either companies offered tailoring services, perhaps, or it's to take apart and reconstruct with more expensive material and more accuracy.
This can also overlap with Defictionalization
(if gear is made based on a Show Within a Show
or in the case of working examples of said gear), Sexy Whatever Outfit
of The Merch
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Anime and Manga
- Official Naruto headbands are all the rage amongst fans. Some fans wear them on a daily basis, even when not cosplaying. Some will even wear five or six at a time- one or two on the head, plus some wrapped on the arms and legs, or decorating backpacks. Think Too Many Belts: The Headband Edition.
- Also, "unofficial" headbands with all manner of symbols in place of the usual hidden village emblems.
- Akatsuki rings, robes, hats, and such are all also available.
- There's also Hellsing gloves.
- Fullmetal Alchemist has a few licensed objects too that are used by cosplayers, including the official pocket-watch, gloves, and a pendant.
- Non-kid targeted full costume version: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has Official Barrier Jacket Imitations. This either says something about the size of its Periphery Demographic, or it says something about the obsessiveness of its main demographic.
- Those were made by this site which has costumes for a lot of anime.
- If there's a significant piece of jewelry worn by an anime character, expect it to be sold as merchandise. This goes from Misato's cross pendant to Griffith's crimson behelit (both open and closed eye versions)
- Speaking of Misato, you can get the sunglasses she wore in the first episode, along with series-accurate Mari and Gendo glasses.
- In the height of its popularity, Sailor Moon sewing patterns were even available in the US. Apart from that, transformation brooches, pens, earrings and the bracelets/watches from Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon were also sold, at least in Japan.
- The latter is common for Tokusatsu series, see below in Live Action.
- Transformers Masterforce had Masterbraces, in both Headmaster Junior and Godmaster forms.
- Tokyo Mew Mew had official costumes and cosplay kits. Each kit came with a headband (animal ears or hair buns for Minto), a choker, and a tail (wings for Minto and a ponytail for Retasu).
- Considering their weight and the lack of card sleeves, this is mostly what Duel Disks are good for.
- Death Note
- Misa's jewelry is sold pretty much anywhere they have manga/anime merchandise.
- And Ryuk's earring too.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann merchandise is complete with shirts based on Kamina's tattoos. Sadly, no Triangle Shades.
- Bleach fans can get their own version of Urahara's trademark green-striped bucket hat.
- Not to mention the shikai of every major character (And a few of the bankai). And you can get all three versions of Ichigo's Hollow mask.
- Haruhi Suzumiya SOS Brigade Leader armbands are sold.
- The Japanese company ACOS has created a LOT of officially licensed cosplay outfits for various anime, although they tend to be ridiculously expensive. Some examples:
- Inazuma Eleven: Outfield and goalkeeper uniforms for both Raimon Soccer Club and Inazuma Japan, the Teikoku outfield uniform, and the Raimon Junior High boys' uniform.
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni: Outfits for Shannon and Maria Ushiromiya.
- Evangelion: NERV uniform (both men's and women's), outfits for Shinji, Kaoru, Mari, and Misato.
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn!: Present and 10-years-later outfits for Xanxus and Squalo and the Kokuyo Junior High boys' and girls' uniforms.
- Gundam: Red and white ZAFT men's uniforms and four different Celestial Being uniforms (Lockon, Tieria, Allelujah, and Setsuna).
- The school uniforms from Lucky Star and Haruhi Suzumiya.
- One Piece: Outfits for Luffy, Nami, Zoro, Sanji, Robin, Shanks, Ace, Trafalgar, and Chopper.
- Pokémon. Ash Ketchum hats from all four generations are available.
- Judge Dredd's helmet has been available for some time; his badge is a more recent addition.
- There have been numerous roleplay toys released featuring the iconic items of characters from the Marvel Universe, though there comes the penchant for added "toyetic" features to make it playable for kids. For instance, remember the last time Captain America had a shield that shot out foam discs?
- If you like any of the jewelry or weapons used in the Lord of the Rings movies, that is all available for purchase as well. Not just as cheap knockoffs, either, but as fairly expensive custom items. One of the most popular is probably the Evenstar pendant...as well as the Ring, of course.
- Replica Indiana Jones hats range in quality from cheap costume pieces to legitimately finely made hats. It's also possible to find replicas of the specific designs of the jackets of each movie.
- Most Star Wars characters have Official Cosplay Gear of varying quality. Take, for instance, Darth Vader helmets, which range from the $30 Darth Vader Voice Changer toy to the $200 Supreme Edition helmet.
- And let's not even start on lightsabers...
- Many film adaptations of Comic Books often include costumes for when Halloween arrives. Again, the quality ranges from very cheap to actually kind of nice.
- Harry Potter: School Uniforms for all Hogwarts houses are available, as are wands, time turners, the deathly hallows necklaces and so on. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter area at Universal Studios Orlando's Islands of Adventure (and eventually Universal Hollywood) includes a ton of merchandise, such as house robes and replica props (including many of the wands).
Live Action TV
- Disney has been doing this since Davey Crockett aired and there was a demand for coonskin caps. This caught Disney off-guard and they lost much of the market share to independent cap manufacturers. Disney would not repeat the mistake either with the next big merchandising craze (Zorro) or ever since.
- Power Rangers use the toy versions of their Super Sentai counterparts' Transformation Trinkets as their morphers... and also release it as official merchandise.
- More recently, Bandai's Japanese web store has been offering child and adult-sized versions of the clothes worn by Super Sentai and Kamen Rider characters, such as the Amanogawa High School uniforms or Captain Marvelous's jacket and jewelry. They're also pricey as hell.
- There are also costumes that can be custom-ordered of Super Sentai and Power Rangers heroes suits, of both the costumes and the helmets. The amount of work put into these can be astonishing.
- In general, most Tokusatsu series are Merchandise-Driven, and some of the most popular toys are the DX transformation trinkets, weapons, and other props that each character wears. It's one of the reason more recent Super Sentai and Kamen Rider series are so gimmicky, with collectible transformation trinket items for you to buy and collect. And of course, they're required Official Cosplay Gear.
- New series Doctor Who has produced an official toy version of the Doctor's sonic screwdriver; initially, the toy was slightly larger than the real thing, to fit the batteries and sound chip in, but then the show's prop wore out and the new one was made out of the same mold as the toy, so they're now exactly alike.
- There's also an officially licensed replica of the Tenth Doctor's coat for sale. It's a tad more expensive though. This is also true with the Eleventh Doctor's jacket and Captain Jack Harkness' coat as well. They sell for the same price.
- Several more Sonic Screwdriver toys have been released, including River Song's, the 3rd, 4th, and 11th Doctors', and flashlight versions of the newer ones. There's also Jack's Vortex Manipulator, the Chameleon Circuit fob watch, and River's journal. Most are available on ThinkGeek.
- Way back in the William Hartnell era, official Dalek costumes were a hugely popular toy on Christmas, 1963 - a Dalek dome hat made out of moulded plastic, and a thin, printed plastic cape for the body. These go for an absolute fortune for collectors. One appears being worn by William Hartnell's granddaughter in An Adventure In Space And Time.
- The Fourth Doctor's scarf was a great example - the BBC produced child-size replicas in the 70s based on the special shortened scarf worn by the Fourth Doctor when filming stunts. The BBC would even send free knitting patterns to viewers who wrote to a special address - the one in the 1980s even included the Fifth Doctor cricket vest pattern that future Tenth Doctor David Tennant's mother made for him. The success of this caused the producer of 1980s Who to make some questionable Merchandise-Driven costuming edicts, such as imposing Limited Wardrobe and ordering the costume designer to make a special shirt for the Fourth Doctor that could be marketed specifically as his shirt (she declared that the design of shirts is such that it cannot be improved, and so he decreed that question marks should be embroidered onto the lapel). Some more official scarves have been produced recently, though with some small inaccuracies (one colour is missing on some of them, and the stitch used and yarn gauge is wrong) - nevertheless, it's one of these replicas that shows up around the neck of a character in "Day of the Doctor" as a Mythology Gag.
- Mexican wrestling has long had "Fan Support" masks as a staple of their merchandising, which one buys and wears to shows to support their favorite Masked Luchadores. This trend has hopped north of the border as well, with WWE marketing masks for Rey Mysterio, and Rey himself encourages it by personally walking over and meeting anybody who is wearing his mask and sitting either along the entranceway or in the front row during his entrance.
- The WWE and Figures Inc. once offered both plastic and leather replicas of Kane's Mask, some of which came with glued on hair.
- Another merchandise aspect would be toy title belts, available in any toy aisle. (And, for the really REALLY dedicated and rich fans, actual title belts, available from dedicated leatherworkers as custom jobs and in qualities from 'presentation' to 'build a promotion around winning it'.)
- Averted among theatre fans in general. Most dedicated theatre cosplayers wear homemade costumes, and probably would even if official costumes were available for purchase.
- As seen in the pic, Barbie gear has been sold for years.
- Since the mid-90's they've marketed three-foot-tall "My Size" Barbie dolls, so that little girls could take the dress off the Barbie and wear it themselves.
- American Girl catalogs are filled with examples. From about the late 80s until the 2000's, the Historical Character clothing was available in girls' sizes. Many of the modern outfits come in girls' versions. The baby dolls have matching outfits for the girls. And the whole concept? Is called "Dress Like Your Doll". They're not even trying to be subtle.
- A couple of child-sized BIONICLE costumes have been released, including Vakama Hordika and Nuparu Inika.
- Disney isn't always first to the party, but when it gets there it gets there in a big way. A Disney executive went to a "Disney On Ice" show in the late 90s and saw how many little girls arrived in home-made and pieced-together versions of their favorite princess' outfit. He promptly launched the successful Disney Princesses franchise.
- Final Fantasy - Every character in any of the games that wears jewelry? That jewelry is available for purchase and wear, though, made of less expensive metals.
- According to the site, Yuna's necklace is literally made out of "metal." They can't even tell us what KIND of metal!
- You can buy Squall's coat and pants.
- In the PS1 release of Lunar 2: Eternal Blue, Lucia's pendant was boxed in with the many other Feelies of the English relese.
- Among the very large Merch line of the Tokimeki Memorial series, can be found for sale all variations (winter/summer, male/female) of the Sailor Fuku of every single game of the series, be it either standard branch or Girl's Side branch.
- Assassin's Creed - Through Ubiworkshop, you can buy Desmond's shirt from Brotherhood, and a number of shirts and hoodies for anyone who wants to pretend they work at Abstergo. Desmond's hoodie is on the way, too.
- Persona3 has S.E.E.S. armbands.
- Inverted for Mass Effect - BioWare has been selling N7 hoodies through their online store, which then became a casual outfit for Shepard to wear in the collector's edition of the third game.
- Homestuck sells an array of the iconic shirts worn by the main characters, including their original shirts, later variants, and the God Tier shirts and hoodies. Not all of them are absolutely consistent for cosplay purposes; all of the God Tier shirts are short-sleeved, whereas in-comic only half of the characters have short-sleeved God Tier shirts. The official store also sells Neophyte Redglare's necklace and the necklace Sburb players wear that is supposed to summon their kernelsprites.
- The Real Ghostbusters had this with Kenner's role-play equipment. Kids could own their very own Proton Pack, Ghost Trap, and other ghostbusting ephemera. There were at least two mail-in premiums for miniature flightsuits, too—the first bore the regular No-Ghost logo; the second was a Ghostbusters II tie-in.
- Kenner also made role-playing toys for several of their other licenses, including Batman and Robocop.
- The Disney Store and Disney Theme Parks sell child-sized costumes of the popular animated characters, such as the Disney Princesses, Peter Pan, etc., year-round (with a bump in stock near Halloween). Simplicity carries the official sewing patterns.
- Underoos. In fact, the t-shirts of those are sold to adults (and even have the "cracked paint" look).
- Masks (including those masks that change your voice), toy weapons, and other gear, have been sold for action shows so fans could pretend to be their favorite characters.
- Abbyshot Clothiers has been doing this for several years across a variety of categories. Most famous for making a wide selection of insanely expensive Matrix replica trenchcoats, they have clothing from Final Fantasy, Fullmetal Alchemist, Jay & Silent Bob, Mad Max, Firefly, and so on. Most recently, they became the official licensed supplier of replica Tenth Doctor wool blend overcoats.
Examples within fiction
- At least one Spiderman continuity has had someone start marketing copies of Peter's outfit, which he ends up buying because they're of better quality than the original.
- In Superwomen of EVA: Spirit, shortly after Hikari creates her Spirit persona, cosplay stores start making Spirit costumes. Hikari then proceeds to replace damaged costumes by buying new ones from the store, retroactively making the costume official, even if the makers don't know about it. Probably inspired by the Spiderman example above.
Live Action TV
- In the Australian sci-fi miniseries The Girl From Tomorrow, one of the the kids has an official voice-changing mask from his favourite sci-fi TV show. In the finale, they use it to bluff the villain that the Time Police have come for him.
- Two of the heroes of Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger wear Z-Cune Aoi costumes in one episode. Several characters wear various cosplay costumes throughout the series, with one character always being dressed in the civilian uniform of a Super Sentai character.
- As part of its cascade of Mythology Gags, Dragon Quest IX includes a wide selection of costumes based on most of the playable characters from all of the previous Dragon Quest games. Some of these sets include wigs, and at least one involves a full mask.