Costume Designers Talk Fetish, Furries and Playboy Parties


Halloween is here. Rejoice. Go crazy on candy. And, if possible, wear a costume.

We sat down with Winter Mullender, lead designer at Leg Avenue and Michael Adams from Kigurumi, who recently started selling their Kigurumi animal “onesies” in Urban Outfitters (think hipster-ish Halloween). Here's what they had to say about the wonderful world of dress up.

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Kigurumi outfits

The big question: Why do people love costumes?

Mullender: “When I started designing years ago it didn’t seem like a big deal. But when the Playboy Mansion started throwing parties and other people did that as well, I feel like it developed the costume craze like that. People got excited about being in costumes and it went from there.


Have there been changes to how you make costumes?

Mullender: We cater differently to plus size costumes. We have the same type of characters (sexy pirate, sexy cop) but we offer more sleeve coverage, and leave out sheer panels on the side. A bigger girl is still sexy.

For the everyday costumes we have made changes due to trends. Girls today want to look cute but don’t want to show their midriffs as much. They don’t want hip huggers and a bra top, they want a shirt dress and not have it all hanging out.

So what's a big change you are seeing in the costume space?

Mullender: I think there’s something happening now with people that want to make their own costumes a lot more of accessories and bustier and things like this, rather than a costume in a bag. People are very creative now, and they like to put things together themselves- no one wants to be seen wearing the same thing as the next person.


We're seeing a lot more animal costumes at the moment: Why are these so appealing, is it because they are "cute"?

Adams: That is definitely a side of the Kigurumi sale appeal. Not because they’re more modest, but because of the innocent playfulness to them. You get to be your favorite animal in a fun way. It’s not just a costume or pajamas, it’s its own thing. People can wear it as a costume.


But we also get pictures of kids sitting in class with Kigurumis on. It’s another style of clothing that always puts a smile on your face when you wear it. It’s difficult to say what the trend is because I’m not that plugged into the costume scene, but maybe in a way it’s more empowering than wearing something a little more revealing. It’s fall, it’s cold outside, and Kigurumis will keep you warm at those Halloween parties.

What about people fetishizing what you do?

Adams: When I bring it up to people that’s the first thing they ask. We got a lot of links to our site from these fetish sites. As a web developer I saw that a lot of them were these fetish sites.


It’s not this onesie, it’s this animal-thing. Part of it is covering your entire face and Kigurumis don’t cover the whole face.

Mullender: We do have dragon costumes and panda costumes, but I wouldn't consider what we sell sexualizing an animal. It’s a cute thing, cute little jammies. They’re not realistic costumes. Would you rather be a cute panda or an ugly panda? People want to be cute.


However, there’s always a concern of young people wearing these costumes and I saw a sixth h grader wearing our leopard print cat-suit out. How can their mother let them wear an adult costume? We can’t control what parents let their kids buy.

So what’s the inspiration for the huge variety of costumes at the moment?

Mullender: A lot of the time we draw inspiration from TV, like Game of Thrones which is very popular right now. The Warrior Goddess look is also popular and this ties into people who are throwing themed Halloween parties.


What about diversity and costumes: At Leg Avenue all the models seem “very similar” looking?

Mullender: We have two African American and one Brazilian model for the lingerie catalog (Leg Avenue has a lingerie catalog and a costume catalog). We are getting an Asian model for the 2015 catalog right now. We know we’re running a little late on this, but we will get it down.


Below, check out costume trends for the last 30 years, according to Spirit Halloween.

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Happy Halloween y'all!

Romina Puga is a pop culture reporter and producer for Fusion. You can find her on "Fusion Now," Fusion's daily TV updates, going over new movies, music, apps, and why D'Angelo is still sexy.

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