Ferrin clothing: what my weasels wearPosted: September 21, 2012 | |
I’ve been working on some art. Boy, am I rusty at inking a drawing and digitally colouring it, but I wanted to give you a look at my ferrin race and their clothing. So here are a couple of ferrin trying on new clothes and accessories.
Cute, aren’t they? But that cuteness made me wary. I didn’t want my ferrin to be just another race of Adorable Talking Animals with human-type clothing plunked onto them. Fantasy does that a lot, especially in juvenile literature. And to be frank, it bothers the hell out of me. This mindset assumes that all civilized beings will follow human norms, because obviously a non-human character isn’t a real person and can’t come up with their own clothing culture. Either that, or the writer is just writing for kids, so who cares if the premise makes any sense? Either way, I find that most “clothed animals” lack substance and are insulting to everyone’s intelligence.
So if my ferrin were to wear things on their bodies, there had to be reasons. They’re short-limbed folk who move around a lot and switch frequently from two feet to four, so their garments would need to allow free movement. Their fur is perfectly suitable to keep them warm in the mild Aligare climate, so warm clothes would be unnecessary. And because of that fur, modesty isn’t considered a big deal: the delicate parts are more or less covered already.
There are a few practical ferrin garments. One is the apron, modelled by the white ferrin in my picture. These are usually made of leather or canvas. They’re common clothing for hard-working ferrin who need physical protection — for farm work, handling fire or hot liquids, that sort of thing.
The other practical choice is a collar, modelled by the grey ferrin. Ferrin who cast a lot of magic might pick a collar with a gemstone in it, so that the gem will collect residual casting from their fur. Every bit of casting is valuable, after all. Ferrin who cast enough to merit a gemstone collar are typically magelings or healers — highly skilled, valuable members of society. (I didn’t set out to make collars a point of irony, it just sort of happened.)
Most ferrin clothes and accessories are less practical. They’re for self-expression — wearing a favourite colour, or a shiny item they just like, or an item gifted by a friend. Ferrin don’t often keep property or a lot of material things, so their valued items tend to be something small that can be worn on their person. It might be a pendant of precious metals, or it might be just a bit of string tied around their tail.
Sarongs are a popular choice of garment — these big, scarf-like garments can be wrapped, tucked and tied according to the wearer’s tastes. Sarongs can be plain or they can have ruffles, tassels or patterns.
Many ferrin put one on when they’re heading into a populated area, so that they match their aemet and korvi friends’ clothing customs.
Breeli crowed a laugh and bounded off to choose a sitting cushion. Her sarong flapped loose, tied with one fist-clumsy knot; that she had put clothing on at all was a nicety.
Remedy, a story of Aligare, Chapter 5
So, in the same way that ferrin settle into niches in Aligare society, they find apparel that works for them. These aren’t hard and fast rules. Are there ferrin who wear pants? I dunno, I can’t imagine the waistband would be very comfortable when you have fur and walk on all fours, but I’d still bet that a handful of ferrin wear pants modelled after korvi clothing. It’s a very individual process and, when I’m writing about a race of individual people, that’s exactly what I want.