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A "space squirrel", at Toronto's furry convention, Furnal Equinox.
A reference sheet used as part of the design and build process for constructing a fursuit.
A large group of 'fursuiters', furries who wear fursuits, at Anthrocon 2010.
Fursuit of a Border Collie

The term fursuit is believed to have been coined in 1993 by Robert King and is usually used to describe custom-made bipedal animal costumes owned and worn by cosplayers and members of the furry fandom, commonly known as "furries"; a furry who wears a fursuit is called a fursuiter.[1]:13 Unlike mascot suits, which are usually affiliated with a team or organization, fursuits represent an original character created by their wearer, and are often better-fitting and more intricately crafted.[2] Most fursuits are made with see-through eyes, rather than simply eye holes, and many have articulating mandibles. Fursuits are made in a wide range of realism, from cartoonish costumes to near-lifelike replicas.

Contents

HistoryEdit

Although an early, genderbending fursuit appeared at the first ever furry convention in 1989, fursuits did not become widely known until the mid-1990s and the rise of the Internet.[2] Most early fursuit making was done on a hobby basis using guides released by members of the community. However, by the mid-2000s, fursuits were in such high demand that fursuit making became a viable business.[2] Including used suits, the industry now sells millions of dollars worth of suits each year, and organizations such as sports teams are increasingly commissioning fursuits as custom-made mascots.[2]

Fursuit constructionEdit

Fursuits originated due to the dissatisfaction with the quality of mass-produced mascot costumes.[3] Fursuit making is a growing industry, with new costume makers who handcraft custom suits entering the market every week.[4] A few dozen of these makers are highly respected and command prices up to $4,500 or more for a full suit, while there are several hundred more who charge less, usually between $1,000 and $3,000.[2] Some of these, however, are "fly-by-night" operations or make suits of sub-par quality, leading to the proliferation of fursuit review sites to weed them out.[2] There is heavy turnover of these smaller makers, with only a third of them able to stay afloat, due to suit-making being labor-intensive, and requiring a unique style and a following.[2]

People also sometimes make fursuits from scratch as a hobby without opening a business themselves.[5]

In order to make them fit correctly, many fursuit makers utilize "duct tape dummies" that are made of the wearer's body.[6] They are made with faux fur that is sometimes sourced from places like the Los Angeles Fashion District.[4] A single suit can take more than 200 hours of work and sell for thousands of dollars.[4][7][3]

Fursuits can be expensive to clean,[8] although many modern-day suits are machine-washable.[4]

Types of fursuitsEdit

Besides the typical full-body suit, the partial suit, where the suit's body is substituted by normal clothing, is a popular variation. Three-quarter suits only include part of the body, like the torso or legs, appearing similarly to a funny animal character.[1][page needed] Quadsuits are one of the most challenging and expensive types of costumes to make, and involve the wearer walking on all fours with arm extensions to create the illusion of a real animal.[9]

Fursuits can range from cartoon-styled to hyper-realistic.[3] The most popular animals for fursuits to be based on are dogs and big cats.[4] They may also be based on fictional animal hybrids.[4] Some suits may include integrated technology, such as LED lights and programmed expressful eyes.[4]

In cultureEdit

Fursuits are heavily associated with the furry fandom by the general public, despite the fact that only 15 percent of its members own a fursuit, mainly due to their cost being prohibitively high.[5] They may also be seen as overtly sexualized due to negative coverage from shows like CSI, though this is typically not the case.[2] Furries who own a fursuit often base them on a "fursona", an anthropomorphic character that represents themselves.[3] Dedicated fursuiters may own as many as a dozen suits based on different characters.[2] Despite being stigmatized as "bizarre", many members of the furry fandom aspire to be society's highest earners, in part to afford expensive fursuits and associated furry art.[10]

Fursuits are usually worn to furry conventions such as Midwest FurFest and Anthrocon.[3] Some fursuits of existing characters are made for the purposes of cosplay and are worn to anime or gaming conventions. They are also worn in public, though this often requires a spotter or handler to ensure the safety of the performer from things like rowdy people, exhaustion or accidents due to limited vision.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Riggs, Adam (2004). Critter Costuming: Making Mascots and Fabricating Fursuits. Ibexa Press. ISBN 0-9678170-7-2.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Who Makes Those Intricate, Expensive Furry Suits?". Vice. 2017-07-27. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  3. ^ a b c d e Brown, Meg (2017-03-26). "The Fursuit of Happiness". Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Wall, Kim (2016-02-04). "It's not about sex, it's about identity: why furries are unique among fan cultures". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  5. ^ a b "'It's Not a Fetish': An Interview with One of the World's Leading Furry Researchers". Vice. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  6. ^ "Furries Tell Us How They Figured Out They Were Furries". Vice. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  7. ^ "'Furries' Descend On Golden Triangle". WTAE-TV. June 16, 2006. Archived from the original on July 3, 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-30.
  8. ^ Maass, Dave (2007-10-07). "Fluff Piece". Santa Fe Reporter. Archived from the original on 2013-02-02. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  9. ^ Parker, Sydney (2015-07-09). "The Fursuit of Happiness: High Fashion in Furry Fandom". Racked. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  10. ^ "The one fur cent: inside the lives of the world's richest furries". www.newstatesman.com. Retrieved 2019-03-11.

External linksEdit