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Your Fursuit Fursona Awaits
You may have recalled a recent time walking down a street and witnessing a group of people in cartoonish animal costumes on their collective way to an event. While this group could have just as well been a group of cosplayers heading to an anime convention, it’s also likely that you stumbled across a group of furries dressed in fursuits. Yes, furries. Over the past decade, the anthropomorphic culture known as furry fandom, or furries, has exploded in popularity.
While furry fandom may sound strange to some, the concept of humanizing non-human characters through anthropomorphic and other means has been a cornerstone feature of cartoon and movie networks for decades. Now that the culture has transitioned more into mainstream media, more than ever, people are looking to get their first fursuit and join the fun. In this article, we are going to deep dive into everything you need to know about getting your own fursuit and provide helpful tips to help you transition into your fursona.
What Is A Fursuit?
A fursuit is a costume inspired by the physical manifestations of an animal, cartoon, or other fictional characters. The term fursuit itself references the costume’s outer material, typically maintaining the replicated texture of real animal fur. Even though the outfit’s design emulates a non-human entity, many of the components of the costume itself still maintain human characteristics, such as including two legs, two arms, and also the ability for the facial jaw to replicate human speech patterns. At its core, fursuits are simply a form off artistic expression.
Types Of Fursuits Categories
Fursuits types can fall under many categories, and a single fursuit can even span multiple categories or classifications. This isn’t necessarily an exact science, but for simplicity’s sake, we will break down the different types under the following classifications:
- Custom Fursuit vs. Retail Fursuit
- Fursuit Character Types
- Fursuit Feet Types
- Fursuit Body Construction Types
Are you starting to get confused? Don’t worry because we will break down everything you need to know, so make sure to keep reading until the end. Now, first, let’s explore the differences between custom and retail fursuits.
Custom Fursuits vs. Retail Fursuits
Considered the creme de la creme of furry fandom because they’re the physical manifestation of your unique fursona. Meaning, technically, no other person should have a replica of your costume. These custom costumes are typically categorized by their composition of higher quality materials, attention to detail, and expert craftsmanship. Historically, custom made garments are produced by small independent artists or shops who often specialize entirely in the production of these styles.
There is a prevailing commitment by many furries to only support independent artists by refusing to purchase mass-produced garments. This has long been a mark of pride within the furry community, which has also provided a robust financial ecosystem and incentives for independent artists too keep producing costumes.
Retail fursuits are typically a less expensive alternative to the pricier custom made variety. Many of these retail models are available through traditional online eCommerce channels and can be produced on a large scale. Another defining factor is that typically, retail versions are not unique. Thus, the buyer will likely not be able to express their unique fursona fully. Also, the quality of materials may or may not be on par with the quality of some of the custom made options.
Fursuit Character Types
These costumes produce a highly “cartoonish” appearance. Due to this nature, many furries often characterize them as toonies. Additional identifying traits include having highly exaggerated feature sets such as huge eyes, bright colors, and support more mythical features such as dragon wings or multiple heads.
Realistics try to stay true to many of the physical traits that are innate to a specific animal. Realistics are often considered more of a premium design, due to the need for detailed craftsmanship and high-quality materials to capture the animal’s natural appearance and texture accurately.
Semi-toonies often combine different qualities from both toony and realistic, or incorporates unique features not typically seen with more common models. In addition, semi-toonies suits may incorporate technology within the suit itself, such as LED lighting, to provide a more unique appearance.
Quidsuits can take things a step further in their design by having the user replicate an animal’s natural movement on four legs. To accomplish this, the suit is designed using elements such as stilts, platforms, or other apparatuses to support a person while wearing the costume.
Fursuit Feet Types
The digitigrade design is characterized by the user appearing to walk on their toes, while their heels remain off the ground. This is, in effect, replicating the way that animals such as cats, dogs, and other species of mammals naturally walk. The digitigrade design appeals to a more natural look of the character being represented. Expect additional padding to be added to the legs and feet area to accomplish the digitigrade construction type.
The plantigrade design is one in which the character’s heels are touching the ground, which also reflects a typical human posture. Plantigrade construction types are very common, as they are typically slightly less expensive because no additional design modifications will be required to the leg and foot regions.
The unguligrade design replicates an animal that walks on hooves such as horses, deers, and sheep.
Fursuit Body Construction Types
A full design covers the entire body and has all elements of the suit included, leaving no part of the user’s natural body exposed. The features of a full design will typically include a head, body, paws for both the hands and feet and a tail.
Partial designs will leave a portion of the user’s natural body exposed. Common partial design combinations typically include a head and a specific set of body elements such as feet and hand paws or lower bodysuit.
Head Only Fursuit
Head only designs provide the user with only a head base.
How Much Does A Fursuit Cost?
Costs can vary significantly depending on the multitude of factors we covered in previous sections, like whether the suit will be custom or retail, character type, feet type, and body construction type. In addition, any extras such as additional padding, using real animal fur (legal fur usage), or fancy tech could add several thousand dollars to the price tag.
In general, a furry costume can range anywhere between $100 to $5,000+ based on the factors above. While that may sound like a massive price range, keep in mind that, as with most consumer products, you can choose the cheapest or most extravagant.
However, the rabbit hole can get much deeper than the factors we have already covered. Let’s take a look at some other factors that influence costs.
Other Factors That Can Influence Fursuit Cost
While you might assume that the cost of suits would be rather straightforward, there are other elements you will need to consider that can significantly influence your price tag. These factors below can broadly impact your cost if you are seeking a custom furry costume.
Supply & Demand
Yes, old school economics class 101 comes into play when it comes to costumes, and more specifically, the custom made options. The rising demand for custom furry costumes frequently outpaces the supply of available artists, causing artists to stop accepting new orders and extend waitlist times.
If there is a shortage of independent artists accepting new custom orders, as often is the case, you can expect prices to rise significantly.
Word spreads fast within the furry fandom community about the popularity of independent artists and their quality of work. Often, a single artist can be booked out for months or years at a time. If you can manage to get on a list of a popular artist, you can likely expect to see a surge in pricing as well.
Raw Materials & Supply Chain
Just like in any other manufacturing business, the cost of raw materials can fluctuate based on availability. Many custom made options include high-quality leathers, resins, fiberglass, and clays. Also, some makers may only be able to source their favorite materials from a short-list of suppliers, which always presents a risk of supply chain issues.
Needless to say that custom orders take a lot of work and often may need an extra set of hands (or paws) to get the projects completed on time. An artist may also want to increase their production capacity. In either case, labor costs will always play a big factor and are will likely be passed on to the consumer.
Many of the best furry costume makers live in various parts of the world, so if you decide to order from one you, then international shipping will be required. Bear in mind that depending on the origin country of the artist, international shipping rates could be double the average cost. Make sure also to consider that it could take additional 40+ days actually to receive the finished product. So if you are on a tight schedule, you may want to find artists within your country.
Where To Buy A Fursuit
Over the last 10 years, there have been significant increases in the number of purchasing outlet options, both custom and retail. Below, let’s take a look at some great options:
Places To Buy A Retail Fursuit
eBay tops our list of best retail outlets for acquiring a suit, as you can find a diverse selection of new and previously worn items. Many furry costume owners resell their original custom-made suits, which provides you an opportunity to snag a great deal. Make sure to review the seller’s reputation and verify the details of the costume before purchasing. Lastly, some sellers may also offer some customization options on the fursuit before shipping it out, so make sure to check.
2) The Dealers Den
The Dealers Den is a niche site that caters specifically to fandom auction items, with a diverse selection of both new and used furry suits for purchase. They also have a vibrant Twitter account letting customers know about new items arriving in their auctions.
DHGate is a global eCommerce platform in which sellers, both larger companies and small independents, can promote their shops to a worldwide audience. DHGate has an inventory of various options that are worth checking out. Make sure that you read all the fine details of the product, and if possible, talk with the seller and check reviews from other customers on their satisfaction before purchasing.
Not a big surprise here, but like most other things, Amazon actually has a light selection of retail options. No need for a long explanation here because it’s Amazon and they have a little of everything.
Places To Find Custom Fursuit Artists
Twitter is one of the best places to search for independent artists who are accepting new fursuit commissions. Also, you can often check out their tweet portfolio of finished projects, find links to their website, see if they are taking commissions, and also review feedback from their existing followers.
To find fursuit artists on Twitter simply search for hashtags like the one below:
Had a wonderful time making this adorable dragon!
Head features pose able eyebrows, eyelids, and 3 different tongues.
— Mayor Ruffles (@MayorRuffles) October 16, 2019
— TaliSoundWave🐠 (@TaliSoundWave) October 15, 2019
💙2020 COMMISSIONS ARE OPEN!💙 If you are interested in becoming an Unfurgettable family member you can shoot me a message! I’m available from small parts to digi fulls and everything in between. #fursuit #furry #furryfandom #commission #costume #mascot #fursuitmaker #custommade pic.twitter.com/5OCSAAlKf9
— 💙Unfurgettable Costumes💙 (@UnfurgettableCo) October 16, 2019
Much like Twitter, subreddits are a great place to find a community of furries that share information regarding some of their favorite custom fursuit makers. Also, you can find a treasure trove of information regarding topics like how to make your own costume from scratch, and even find great deals on resold items!
As you can probably tell by this point, the process of finding many of the top makers involves a lot of social media searching. Tumblr is another great resource for finding talented furry suit makers. Try searching terms such as “fursuit making” and find information on different artists as seen by some of the posts below:
What is fursuit fur made of?
Many fursuit furs are often made of a material common called Faux Fur. The Faux Fur is actually a synthetic fiber that is derived from non-natural materials.
Where can I find fursuit fur?
You should be able to easily find Faux Fur on internet sites like Amazon, Joanne fabric, or at a local fabric shop.
How much does a fursuit head cost?
Fursuit heads prices vary based on a number of factors including if the head will be purchased from a retail outlet or custom made. Custom made heads typically range between $500 to $1500.
Are fursuits the same as cosplay?
While some consider it a form of cosplay, others factions believe that furry fandom is a separate culture entirely. Cosplay is largely based on assuming an existing character’s identity, while Furry Fandom is often associated with creating a unique identity via a furry costume.
What is a fursuit commission?
Fursuit commissioning is the process of hiring a professional or amateur costume maker to design a suit on your behalf. When commissioning a fursuit, the artists will likely provide you with a reference sheet, which provides them with all the specifications needed, including physical measurements, colors, patterns, extras, etc.
What are fursuit eyes made out of?
Fursuit eyes are commonly made out of buckram which is a synthetic fabric.
Where can I find furry artwork ideas?
Feeling A Little Furry Right Now?
Now that you know a lot more about fursuits and the culture, you are ready to deep dive into furry fandom! We covered a lot of topics in this article, everything from what fursuits are to where to buy fursuits. Of course, we couldn’t cover everything in a single article, but now this is where you come in!
What did we miss? What more do you want to see included? Help other readers out by sharing your knowledge in the comments section and make sure to share on social media. Live furristic, my friends!