When furries attack: Zweitesich criticized for marketing fursuits as expensive luxuries.

by Patch O'Furr

“Being mean and shitty to people doesn’t make you interesting” – Kaiser Neko

Everyone knows furries are silly. Many of them even claim a tongue-in-cheek Furry Trash label that sells truckloads of t-shirts. So what kind of oxymoron is “Designer Fursuiting”?

The launch of fursuit maker Zweitesich (Second Self) presented the trappings of an upscale luxury brand, complete with slo-mo fashion modeling, and dismaying logo placement right on the faces of the products. (Cool logo design, though.) It emulated the most pretentious of mainstream hype, including eye-popping prices and one of the most overanalyzed sentences ever written to sell things to furries: “created by a designer, not ordered from a tailor.”

Flayrah’s Sonious summarized how the marketing flopped: Fursuit entrepreneur learns rocky lessons about advertising.

Sometimes hype is just hype. Image is part of selling anything. Of course, if you know furry drama, it predictably didn’t stop with a failure to connect. Not when there’s a fandom complex about image that’s way out of proportion to how much the mainstream cares. With this complex, it’s like The Normies are always lurking outside the door, and they’ll break in here if there isn’t constant gatekeeping against fictional entertainment (like the 2003 CSI episode. If it’s been stale since last decade, insecurity keeps the resentment going.)

So Zweitesich gained over the top backlash against what fans saw as capitalist encroachment. But commercial overtures do happen and the sky hasn’t fallen yet. Borrowing a little street cred never gets as horrifying as the specter of a neutered fandom that only has Maskimal-wearing Zootopia fans with all the queer rainbows bleached out.

Still, Designer Fursuits landed on the long list of reasons for why the fandom has been ruined since it started. (Satire alert.)

At first the critics mocked Zweitesich as the faceless product of clueless outsiders; but the drama kept going when the hasty assumption proved to be false and a well-known artist was named (AlbinoTopaz, AKA Tayerr). They shifted to other justification for tearing down the artists talent or personality beyond the business approach. There were also some pretty damn funny parodies.

One of the interesting criticisms alleged a case of “apology marketing” – a strategy to cook up controversy and then do a prepared reversal, gaining traffic both ways. It could make sense for a big company with a high budget, or for chasing traffic or votes (rather than manipulating customers to pay a lot for a couple of hand-made objects.) The criticism pointed out how the marketer for Zweitesich boasted an Addy award for guerilla marketing. But on closer look, it seems like just a token from a local chapter of a club with 1/15th the following of the furry critic. Be careful of overanalyzing a simple misunderstanding.

Critics should also remember that social media negativity is capitalized. Outrage = traffic = profit, and that’s a far more nefarious scheme than fears about targeting a tiny niche fandom. They have bigger fish to fry.

The hype wasn’t even 100% off base. Mainstream news has covered “furry couture”:

It wasn’t that overambitious either. Flayrah’s Equivamp commented:

“AlbinoTopaz’s suits already have a distinctive enough style that she could probably actually get herself to the level of the fursuit studios that kinda come as close as they can to “designer” brand – the highly-sought, recognizable designs whose commission slots sell for $10k+, that people refer to themself as an “[X Brand] fursuiter”… I think her main problem was being too explicit in saying what she wanted the company to be, LOL.”

It’s funny how furries worry so much about the media, but nobody’s harsher than they are to each other. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

TOMORROW: Forget Designer Fursuits… It’s Time For More Bonkers Concept Fursuits.

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