I have the panorama shot taken after the fursuit parade at AC '03 hanging in my office at work. It's a great conversational piece as new people visit my office for the 1st time. I was staring at the picture the other day and wondered what had happened to so many of those fursuits! I don't recall seeing many of them ever again. It made me start to think about the whole issue of what it means to be a fursuiter, either a maker or a performer.
Being a furry, I can truly understand the desire to become your fursona. I think that's what separates the furry from the anthropomorphic fan. If you could achieve your goal, the amount of money it would cost becomes almost trivial. And there's nothing really wrong with that because what is the price of happiness? On the other paw, it's foolish to forego food and shelter just so that you can look like a cartoon critter. But I can understand the desire to own a fursuit on an almost a spiritual level. I, myself, however, am a very practical being. I could not justify the cost of a fursuit to just wear around the house or maybe once a year to go to a con. It was because of this that I wanted to become a performer so that I could wear my suit(s) as much as possible. This included lots of guerrilla fursuiting.
I guess I'm trying to figure out if there are several camps of thinking out there or if I'm making something out of nothing. Is there "class" separation in the fursuiting community? Is there some animosity between the self-made suits vs. the commissioned? The performers vs. the fashion show-ers? Perhaps this issue has come up again in my mind because a friend was recently told that he should get rid of his "off-the-rack" suit simply because it was that. It didn't matter that the suit was still unique in the fandom. Perhaps I should wear a novelty shop chicken suit to the next con.