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Thoughts on using real fur for fursuiting?

Asher Grey

Probably Sleeping
I don't condone hunting, so first off, I don't get fur in any way that supports it. However I have found myself in the possession of various pelts and bits of fake fur here and there. My grandfather died and I inherited tons of treated coyote pelts and strips of rabbit fur, my mother has old fur coats from god knows where that got torn and went straight into her sewing pile. In short, I have a substantial quantity of real fur at my hands.

Even pre-acquired materials aside, I know of easy sources of real fur that don't support animal cruelty. Fur clothing items can be surprisingly cheap at goodwills. Another is a friend of mine who taxidermies roadkill and is more than happy to share animal remains with others. Or turns it into weird hats.... But that's another subject.

Does anyone here work with real fur? Or is strongly against it?

I know the materials would pose different challenges, but I'm more familiar working with leather than faux fur. I'm sure the suit would be much hotter, maybe even too hot, but it's winter here in the northwest and I wouldn't mind one right about now. It could also serve well for partials.

I think it would be interesting in theory to try and make a fursuit head using a taxidermy but that pushes the limit even for me. But as far as the soft, unblemished deer pelts packed up in my closet? Thoughts?
 

Kit H. Ruppell

Exterminieren! Exterminieren!
A fursuit made from actual dead animal bits sounds a bit nightmarish?

You might risk encouraging other people to use real fur as well, and those sources could involve cruelty.
That, and it will probably reek something awful.
 
A

Aznig

Guest
Now I’m nowhere near an expert on this topic, but I’m fairly sure real fur isn’t even safe for use. Don’t quote me on that though, that’s just some tidbit I think I remember hearing somewhere.

The bigger thing though, is ethics. A majority of the fur obtained for human use is from animals that were raised and slaughtered solely for their fur. It does indeed seem pretty unethical to take the fur of a real animal to make a giant replica for a human to wear.

Now if you are getting fur from a source you know (as you mentioned), I’m fairly sure curing it properly (in terms of being used in a suit) would be difficult. Furthermore, the safety of it in general is something I’d double check if I were you!

Now I do believe we have a member who knows more about this: @Kellan Meig'h
Best wishes with whatever you do end up doing
 

PercyD

Lover of Beasty Baes
Not an expect either, but I think it might be better to use the reclaimed pelts for something else.

It might be cool as an accessory that you take out every once in again. However, a full actual fur suit might be murder for upkeep. My experience with furs are that they are fine as coats and can actually last for decades. Yet, they are only worn for special occasions. They also need to be stored properly.

Beyond practicality and focusing on ethics: I would disagree with the statement "using [X] might start a trend to encourage others to do [X]" in general. Mainly because, people who wanted to do [X] will probably do [X] regardless if you decided to do it or not. It's just better to be critical of the ones that do and encourage the more ethical choice- regardless of what it is.
 

Asher Grey

Probably Sleeping
Not an expect either, but I think it might be better to use the reclaimed pelts for something else.

It might be cool as an accessory that you take out every once in again. However, a full actual fur suit might be murder for upkeep. My experience with furs are that they are fine as coats and can actually last for decades. Yet, they are only worn for special occasions. They also need to be stored properly.

Isn't that applicable to fursuit parts anyway though? It seemed logical to combine the two
 

PercyD

Lover of Beasty Baes
Isn't that applicable to fursuit parts anyway though? It seemed logical to combine the two
I think I'm not reading correctly:
Isn't what applicable to fursuit parts? And what are you combining?
 

Asher Grey

Probably Sleeping
That, and it will probably reek something awful.
I've never worn a fur coat that smelled bad, I don't see how cutting up and sewing together its material for paws or a tail would bring out a different smell. Unless there's a chemical process I'm unaware of with post-cured fur.
 

Asher Grey

Probably Sleeping
A fursuit made from actual dead animal bits sounds a bit nightmarish?

You might risk encouraging other people to use real fur as well, and those sources could involve cruelty.

I mean, I know furries who wear actual fox tails so it didn't seem that out of place. And I really do doubt that others would copy it for, well, several reasons.
 

PercyD

Lover of Beasty Baes
That fursuits can last for years but need lots of care and upkeep, and are only worn on special occasions :0
Ah. Yea, but a normal fursuit's upkeep doesn't lend itself well to fur coats.
Also, fur coats are worn for different 'special occasions'. You might wear a fur coat for an hour tops at a special event. The coat is, at most, handed off to coat check that stores it accordingly.

With a fursuit, you can end up in it for *hours* at a time at a con.
The material needs to be breathable, flexible, easily laundered, easily worn.

Fur pelts require conditioning and a different sort of upkeep. Not suitable for a suit that you'd wear for more than being seen wearing it into an establishment.
 

Bitterfangs

Member
Please no.

Why?

1) I am an insufferable vegan and am legally obligated to proselytize about the horrors of fur and leather otherwise they take away my membership card. Even if you obtain it secondhand, or through roadkill, or through ways you consider "humane" (obligatory screeching about how there's no way to humanely kill something that does not wish to die) the use of real fur and leather to make fursuit bits encourages others to follow suit if they like it. They may follow suit with materials gained from factory fur farms, or from other sources you personally find distasteful, and (ideally) you wouldn't want to encourage that.

2) Real fur and leather does not breathe. It's insulating. If you've been in a fursuit made with the usual faux fur materials, you'll know that it's like being in a sweaty full body mitten. That's with a material that is a zillion times more permeable than organic fur/leather. If you make fursuit bits with animal bits, you're going to be a sweaty toasty sausage in 30 seconds.

3) Real fur and leather is not uniform. If things break, or wear out, or get stained and need to be replaced, you're gonna be fucked trying to patch or repair it without there being a glaring inconsistency in the texture or color. Faux fur is easy to make uniform.

4) Faux fur can be stretchy. Dear god, stretchy fur is amazing for high-movement areas of a suit. Armpits, crotch, knees, jaw, etc. Makes it look more realistic, and is less prone to stitch popping.

5) You can chuck (well made) faux fur garments in a washer, or more delicate faux fur ones in a sink of gentle detergent, and hang dry it. You know how a fursuit smells after a con weekend? Yeah, you want to be able to wash it. Good luck doing that with real fur.

6) Faux fur is available in solid pieces much larger than you could get from a living animal, so you can have a consistent fur pattern instead of trying to frankenstein-stitch different pelts into a cohesive design.

7) [[ continued annoying vegan shrieking ]]
 
Besides the practicality that others have mentioned, a lot of people are not fans of real fur and you could be susceptible to someone trying to destroy the suit if you wore it in public. It might not reflect well on the rest of the fandom, either.

I would strongly discourage it.
 

PercyD

Lover of Beasty Baes
Besides the practicality that others have mentioned, a lot of people are not fans of real fur and you could be susceptible to someone trying to destroy the suit if you wore it in public. It might not reflect well on the rest of the fandom, either.

I would strongly discourage it.
I would agree to your property getting destroyed, regardless of the actual source of the fur. Self righteous people tend to shit on fur tanning, which can be a cultural thing in some places. That time some (racist) eco-activists harassed a boy who killed a (non-endangered) whale and fed his whole village in Alaska comes to mind.

It something that bothers me because this is a place where you can't actually go to the grocery store and get food. It costs so much to deliver food out to these places. It might also be because the people live on a reservation sort of area, so no one does anything about delivering food there. The people hunt and sutain on their own, and then they get shit from eco-activists? Like, literally, there are industries killing endanged species internationally (looking at you Japan, Norway) and you're going to harass a 13 year old boy whos ACTUALLY contributing a lot more to the ecosystem than you are? --I digress.

I'm not in the habit of doing PR for the furry fandom- or any fandom, really. You can't keep fools from being foolish, and fandoms are boundless non-organized groups that have very few ways to set decorum. You can do that for you own specific community, but not for a fandom.
I would say, just tend to your own behavior and maintaining your own character.
 
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Kellan Meig'h

Kilted Luthier
Actually, I could not imagine using real fur in a fursuit. Tanned fur does not have a tenuous grip on the hair shafts so the fur needs to be treated accordingly. The best fur is rabbit and even at that, would not be super durable. I have an arctic parka with a real fox ruff around the hood but it has been replaced once in 20 years. It was getting hair-bare. I also have a high end motorcycle jacket, classic highway patrolman style made from thick bison hide. It is heavy, does not breathe unless I unzip the front a bit and I have to fight the funk from long days on the road in the sun. I have had it dry-cleaned yearly and it always smells nice at the start of the riding season. Not so a month or two in. A fursuit made of fur would be unduly hot, expensive and danmed near impossible for a dry-cleaner to clean. That's as long as you are not allergic to the dry-cleaning solvents.

Just my $0.02 USD worth.
 

Fursuitsandmore1022

A Sorta Experienced Fursuit Maker (•̀ᵜ•́)
Even if it did come from cruelty free areas, It would be extremely hot in your suit and just inferring, May be dangerous to wear, since dander might make you allergic to your own suit. Im not sure if dander works like that, just guessing.
 
As someone who actually has worked with real fur for several years (Not for fursuits though), I have to say while you COULD I don't recommend it. Fur does not breath. At all. You will roast. And yes, it would be dry clean only. But if you think you could, you can try, but it is going to be really hard. I work with real fur as a hobby all the time but even I wouldn't use it for a full fursuit. Your going to have a lot of obvious seams where the fur is short and it might end up looking like a franken-animal. I really wouldn't cover more then your arms feet, and head in fur, and making a good head out of smaller animals will be really hard. But if you want to go for it.

Now to dispel a few things said. Garment tanned fur is NOT dangerous. Its literally made to wear. And properly tanned fur smells really nice. I love it personally. Now taxidermy furs can had toxic chemicals in them. This is more true of old mounts that used straight up poisons as preservatives but even modern mounts usually have some sort of fungicide in them. They were never made to be worn, especially on your head. As for longevity all furs *(faux and real) will wear out. friction causes hairs to wear down and fall out. the leather side of real furs will need occasional oiling, but oddly enough the oils in your skin will help with that, since leather is tanned skin. But yes, matching peices when they wear out would be harder with real fur.

And as fur the ethics of real fur... As long as its not from an unregulated fur farm, poached from threatened/endangered species/ and is sustainability harvested I don't have a problem with it. And I doubt the wildlife downstream of the Chinese factory that made your faux fur appreciate the excess dyes and chemicals dumped directly in the river from the production of your "cruelty free" furs.

*Oh, and most people have no idea how to ID real fur anyway, so the likelihood of someone ruining your suit if you don't say its real is minimal.
 

Hail-Purity

Cat-Lover
I have a feeling that it would be a nightmare to get a hold of that much fur ethically and at a good price point, fursuits are already expensive enough with faux fur.
I have some makeup brushes that use actual animal hair and they costed me an arm and a leg lmao as for the breathable ect i feel like people above me did a much better job at explaining it.
 

Vic_the_Hard_Rock_Wolf

Well-Known Member
Save for the use of real tails (which is simply creepy) I'm too much an asshole to mind myself, however using real fur obviously risks getting bad looks from a lot of people
 
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