Fursuits are animal costumes associated with furry fandom (a fandom devoted to anthropomorphic animal characters). They range from simple tails and ears to full costumes cooled by battery-powered fans. Similar to mascot suits, they allow the wearer to adopt another personality while in costume. Fursuits can be worn for personal enjoyment, work or charity.
Fursuits are usually sold at conventions, or online by commission or auction. Due to their delicate nature, they require special handling while washing. Fursuits are comparable to costumed characters and are similar in construction to the mascots and walkaround characters used by theme parks and stage shows. The concept is also similar to cosplay, despite the latter's focus on Japanese culture.
The term fursuit, believed to be coined in 1993 by Robert King, can also refer to animal mascot costumes in general, as opposed to human or inanimate object mascots. Fursuits have also been featured in visual mediums as backdrops or as part of a central theme.
Types of Fursuits Edit
The standard fursuit is a full body costume that consists of a head, forepaws (hands), hindpaws (feet) and a body with an attached tail. In some cases, the tail is connected via a belt to the wearer and hangs out through a hole in the back of the body. Many suits include special padding or undersuits to give the character its desired shape (this is especially present in larger characters or those of a particular gender). Owners can spend less than one-hundred to many thousands of dollars on one fursuit, depending on complexity and materials used. Furry fans make their own using online tutorials or advice from newsgroups; the suits can also be purchased online or at conventions.
A partial suit or half-suit has all of the parts of the standard suit, with exception to the body. This allows the wearer to have different clothes over the paws, head and tail, such as another costume or street clothes. In partial suits, the tail is usually attached to a belt, and the arms and legs have sleeves that can go up as far as the shoulders and pelvis, respectively. Most recently, a third type known as the three-quarter suit has been developed, which consists of a head, arms and pants made to look like the legs, tail and feet of a specific animal, or a torso in place of legs. This type of fursuit works well for characters who only wear shirts or without and just a pair of pants.
Reasons for fursuiting Edit
Not everyone in furry fandom owns a fursuit. In an Internet survey of 600 participants, the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Davis found out that 18% of respondents own a fursuit.
Furries enjoy wearing their suits for parades, exhibitions, conventions and informal meetings. Often, these are of a personal character who they are expressing as a form of role play or for expressing their true personality. Some players of live action role-playing games (LARP) create elaborate costumes, including fursuits, for their characters. The characters can either wear a half-suit or a full suit, depending on what the character needs. Weapons and armor could be worn and used by the players; though each convention or meeting has their own rules about weapons on the convention floor. This is similar to cosplay, except the later focus on characters from popular media, with emphasis on Japanese pop culture such as manga, anime, and video games.
Some furry fans do fursuiting for a job or to bring attention to an event or charity. This can include mascots, but not all mascots are furries. Many are hired through an agency to represent a character, while others bring their own constructions to an event instead. There are also several volunteer fursuiting groups across North America that either ask or are asked to entertain at various social functions. Some groups even set up their own charitable events or perform on the streets to passersby.