[The Guardian] It's not about sex, it's about identity: why furries are unique among fan cultures
The Guardian, tktktk
It's not about sex, it's about identity: why furries are unique among fan cultures
The Guardian, Feb. 4, 2016
Furry fandom, an obscure subculture united in their passion for all things anthropomorphic, can be lucrative business – because artisanal fursuits are haute-couture.
A single design can require up to 200 hours of work and sell for thousands of dollars. The business follows seasonal trends as well: one year it’s neon colours, the next grumpy-looking characters. One season, everyone wanted to be a sled dog. It’s all, of course, about the fur – even sharks, reptiles and birds are adorably fuzzy – and Los Angeles’s fashion district has stores devoted exclusively to hundreds of varieties.
Sarah Dee, a master fursuit maker, flies out twice a year for sourcing, carefully handpicking $5,000 worth of furs (a single suit requires about 5.5 yards), dragging it across town in giant bin bags to the FedEx office and then stuffing 30-inch cardboard boxes addressed to Colorado, where she tailors suits to fulfill the fantasies of fur aficionados worldwide.
Menagerie Workshop, Dee’s one-woman fursuit empire, caters to the full furry spectra, from hobbyists content with a pair of ears or a tail to lifestylers who go all out with role play like “scritching” (scratching and grooming).
Ranging from SpaceX employees to artists, her average customer is in their late 20s – in the “sweet spot” where they have enough money to spend but are not too tied down by family and work – though she’s made costumes for people as young as 12 (with parents’ consent).
To this day, Dee has brought more than 300 “fursonas” (furry personas) to life – including Baltoro the Fox, realistic with taxidermy eyes, hand-molded silicon paws and muzzle and digitigrade hind legs; Zeke the Hyena, cartoonish with hand-stitched stripes and airbrushed abs; and Blaze, a vixen with flirty eyelashes and curvaceously padded chest.
“What draws people in is that they can create this character which is a better version of themselves,” she explains. “It’s fun to just be silly, to use your imagination. To not have to conform to what people think being an adult is like.”
➞ Read at The Guardian.