“Fursuits are furry couture – high art furry fashion”. A great fashion news article from Racked.

by Patch O'Furr


It’s a belief demonstrated with skill by Jill, the highly demanded maker at Jillcostumes.  Her quote appears in The Fursuit of Happiness: High Fashion in Furry Fandom  an article from July 2015 at Racked (a style and beauty industry news site owned by Vox Media).

The author is Sydney Parker, a journalist who previously wrote about furries for Splitsider, a news site about the comedy industry.  Her previous piece was about CollegeHumor’s Furry Force and my interview with it’s writer.  I loved helping to put Furry feedback in the story to show a good relationship.

When Fred Patten told me that Sydney was doing the fashion article, it made me want to send feedback again.  (I’m just a suiter, not a maker, but Street Fursuiting is my favorite thing.)  I was happy to hear that some info on Dogpatch Press made helpful reference, like the record top fursuit price.  Most of what I sent didn’t make it in because the finished piece was so long and well researched.  So, here’s the full thing as a bonus.

Sydney Parker asked:

“I’ve had the good fortune to talk to several fursuit designers and wearers including Beastcub, Jill Costumes, Grinning Tiger Studios, Furbuy and more.  I’d love to get a quote from you if you are interested. Perhaps you could answer the following:

  1. What do you imagine the world would be like if everyone wore fursuits instead of human clothes?
  2. What advice would you give to someone who is wearing their fursuit for the very first time?
  3. Do you have any fun stories of something that happened while fursuiting?
  4. Do you ever just hang out at home alone in your fursuit? What kinds of things might you do while suited up?”

My responses – (with much appreciation to my suit maker, Cabbits Co.)

1. If everyone wore fursuits, the world would have fewer built-in expectations and judging a book by it’s cover. It’s hard to tell age, race, even gender beneath the characters people choose. It’s a paradox to say that about masks, but they bring freedom with the way it feels. It intensifies your ideal personality.

I’m a Husky dog and love to be a clown. It’s an incredible rush, and I like to say that fursuiting is my drug. If everyone felt like that, sales of pills to fix people’s mood would plummet. I think people would be way more positive, and also way more sweaty. Personal deodorant and cleaning sprays would be a fixture of the furry economy (along with a massive faux fur industry). You would see billboards for that stuff instead of junk food.

It’s a great workout to get sweaty from the physical demands of costuming. I think dancing is one of the most captivating ways to express a furry character. If you want the best gateway to this hobby, check out a furry dance. Although a lot of activity happens with the internet, costuming in real life is a great motivation to get up for positive activity. I think a lot of people could use more of that. Everyone would be healthier and happier and have more fun.

2.  Someone who is wearing a fursuit for the first time would want to have a handler to help keep them from walking into things. It will take a few hours to get used to it, and then you won’t want to take it off. Pay attention to performing and throwing poses, and work with the people watching. There isn’t a lot more to it, because it’s all about freedom to do it your way.

Furry mischief with stylish goth friend Carmen.

Furry mischief with stylish goth friend Carmen.

3. Fun stories about fursuiting: A friend of mine lived next door to my apartment in Los Angeles, and one day he introduced me to a new roommate who just moved to town, call him Fenris. Fenris came over for a visit and seemed to really enjoy the dragon stickers on my fridge.  A week later I went out to our popular local furry dance. That’s where I most love to get in fursuit, let the drinks flow, go crazy and jump up and down.  After a little of that I headed to the “headless lounge” for a break.  There I saw Fenris leaning on the bar by himself, just taking in the trippy sight of furry butts bouncing around in the laser lights of the club.

I walked up (in Husky form) and said “what are you drinking, Fenris?” He gave me a look like I could knock him over with a feather. He just moved to town and wasn’t openly a member of this hobby group (many people keep it private because it’s silly and gets unfair haters).  Imagine a secret furry meeting another secret furry living right next door. We’re roommates for all the conventions now.

4. I don’t think anyone hangs out home alone in a fursuit… it would feel like being rolled up in a carpet, and you wouldn’t see much of a show, unless you were preening in front of a mirror.  That would be silly and weird, but of course I totally do it a lot while putting an outfit together before I take it outside.  I wear a “partial” and love assembling outrageous sparkly outfits and accessories.

Fursuits are meant to be performed in, and “the magic” is a social thing that’s best shared with others, not so much by yourself. Not all fursuiters like hugs, but I sure do.  I actually like to be far away from a safe home experience, and my favorite thing is “street fursuiting” or “renegade fursuiting” that isn’t officially planned.  It’s more spontaneous that way.

Celebrations like street fairs are the best. It pays to be conscious about not just barging into, say, a mall (or a funeral), and causing a weird commotion that will end badly.  In the right time and place, I love when people are open minded for a silly experience that might just make them a little tingly. I like to be a huge flirt… Some of the most unexpected people will hit on you.  This isn’t like a generic Disneyland experience just for kids (although of course, furries include parents and professionals who know how to be responsible.) It’s about indulging in free expression as a character, which can involve grown ups shedding inhibitions and having a wild party.  My Husky head accommodates a long-neck beer through the muzzle, and it often gets laughs and photos.

  • Coming soon – I try not to be terrible at “Fursuiting inspiration – Patch’s partial style and accessories tips.”