Furry Fashion (part 1): Youth, Fursuiting, and Magic for Everyone.
by Patch O'Furr
Freaky Deaky Looks
Dancers, club kids, ravers, even Burning Man freaks – they all have standout looks that mingle with fandom sometimes. It’s a great place to celebrate creative expression in all of it’s forms.
Wherever furries meet, they wear their art. In costume or not, even their regular outfits are likely to be colorful with cartoony graphic appeal. The interest crosses over with many aspects of a subculture full of young creative people.
Furs who love fashion recently started a collective to make projects together. I did a chat with the Furry Fashion Collective – that’s coming in Part 2. But first, this topic can’t overlook fursuiting, the fandom’s signature visual statement. It’s the silly side of things, but that’s not all there is to it.
Furries are making a nice presence at #BurningMan and getting love back. https://t.co/wdhY6byqk1 Looks like @Furcon attracted a Burner crew (pic from Dragonscales Photography.) Anyone know them? @asunyra @neonbunny @Amenophis_cat pic.twitter.com/hvDdcsZBPQ— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) February 1, 2018
Over The Top Fursuiting
Fursuits have become a small industry worth millions. It’s having more and more success like the recent auction record of $13,500 for a Made Fur You suit. The passion for this custom-made wearable art is getting noticed outside fandom. Mainstream news about fursuiting-as-fashion includes a good article from Vice and a fashion article I contributed to on Racked.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to write a personal article about partial-fursuiting style. Partialling isn’t just lazier fullsuiting. There’s a need for clothes, but when you’re an animal-person, why settle for boring street clothes? Seize the opportunity and plan a wild outfit. Deck out a partial with accessories for freaky, flashy glam. Go crazy with stuff you might never get away with as a regular human, like that white elephant piece in a thrift shop window that nobody dares to buy.
Over the top is my jam! Wherever I go fursuiting, leaving behind a trail of shedded buttons, bandanas and glitter means I’m turning it up to 11. It’s more effort to put on the accessories than a full suit, but it’s extra fun for dancing and going on stage.
Sooner or later, I’ll spread out my closet full of Furry Trash gear and do photos to get that article done.
Not just for kids!
Young people love fashion, and this is a fandom that skews young – but what about the greymuzzles? Are they just the unkempt nerds you see in long standing stereotypes? Heck no! Let’s hear it from the Greymuzzles group on Facebook, where this inspiring video got shared:
This 64-year-old fashion icon has a powerful message about aging 💅 pic.twitter.com/lpUVZw0NYB— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 26, 2018
Hunter commented on the video. I loved what he said and asked to share it to the public:
“This is excellent, and very relevant to our seasoned group here.
I had an experience some time ago that relates to this video. I witnessed a toony wolf fursuiter pop his top, and the gentleman underneath was around the age of this lady. I mentally sorted this guy as a banker or school principal instead of a bouncy fuzzy critter.
Now, here’s the deal: I associate fursuits (and all of furry, by extension) with youth, fun, vibrancy, energy, partying, creativity, openness, underground, experimental, fresh, liberal, “try everything”, cute, cuddly, and all that.
These are elements I don’t associate with older generations, which tend more towards mature, wise, stodgy, grumpy, controlling, parental, mainstream, corporate, early-bird special, conservative, authoritarian, “don’t do that”, etc.
In that moment, I experienced an acute sense of cognitive dissonance, due to these opposing mental associations. At the risk of “age shaming”, there was a small part of me that felt more mature audiences should “age out” of the fandom. I know, it’s messed up and hypocritical, especially in light of my own advancing maturity.
I had a choice to make: continue with this myopic viewpoint and remain conflicted, or change the way I see things.
To counteract this paradigm, I reminded myself that old-school furries that built this fandom were once the vibrant youth that my mind associates with it. Newly-minted greymuzzles bring their own magic to the table. Both sets have every right and reason to participate however they see fit. Both also deserve due respect, without me trying to impose my idea of what furry is “supposed to be”. So either I can get with the program, becoming enriched by their experience, or remain trapped in my prejudicial (and immature) ways of thinking.
It turns out that dissonance has actually underscored my own participation in the fandom for the past several years, due to my own advancing age and life experiences. Yeah, I get how “you’re only as young as you feel”, but how I feel isn’t consistent. When the furry magic is rolling hard, I feel like I’m in my 20’s (or younger) again. In that state, I “allow” myself to act according to my particular expression: bouncy-wouncy, fun-loving, and insufferably furry. On the other end of that spectrum, it’s the opposite, feeling like I’m in my 80’s (stupid health crap) and I withdraw because I’m not “feeling it”.
Ultimately, I feel as if I’m going to continue in this fandom, it’s going to be through fursuiting. Someday, I’m going to be just like that guy, taking off my head in the fursuit lounge, tripping some random young cub’s shit in the process. Then I’ll lock eyes with them and think, “I was once where you are, and so shall you be where I am. Try to keep up”.
Furry magic has no limits. There’s more in the interview with the Furry Fashion Collective coming in Part 2.
I wanted to share this touching moment. @Reo_Grayfox was telling me his story, and said those lines while staring straight into his fursuit's eyes. Hearing personal stories like this makes you appreciate the vastly diverse reasons why the furry fandom is essential to so many. pic.twitter.com/fD09Wmv6mf— Joaquin Baldwin (@joabaldwin) January 22, 2018
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