"JUST Dana? How boring!" he joked. I'd apparently missed out on an opportunity to attend the convention with a chosen "fursona." Many furries chose a name different from their own to get more into character.
Uncool name tag affixed to my chest, I wandered over to the Artists Alley. There were at least six rows of vendors in the ballroom hawking costume heads, chew toys, mittens shaped like paws, fursuit cleaners, fursona sketches, lanyard name tags, and plushy tails. I tried on a purple fox tail. "It's handmade," the seller said. I looked at the price tag: $75.
Being a furry is an expensive hobby.
The furry costume designers were older women who made costumes in their spare time, and younger folks who worked full-time on the outfits. I spoke with several people who dropped out of art school to pursue costume-making careers constructing fursuits; each of which takes at least two weeks to make and sells at minimum for $2,500. Fursuits are designed to fit every part of the body: Some costumes are made by actually wrapping a furry in duct tape, then cutting the person out of it to get precise measurements for costumes that fit like a second skin. Add in custom claws, eyes, whiskers, and fur patterns, among other variables, and it's clear why being a furry requires a high level of artistic talent.