Furries or fursuit cosplayers come from all walks of life, and it sounds like some of them are investors, gaining the admiration of their peers and the military.
According to The Daily Beast, a Dutch furry, Pepeyn Langedijk, also known as "EZ Wolf," grew tired of overheating in his lupine suit. He modified an existing military vest to his own needs to create the EZ Cooldown vest, which in turn serves audiences beyond the furry community.
Langedijk and his husband, Tom, live in Amsterdam and run the EZ Cooldown business together full-time. They met during Elfia, a medieval fantasy re-enactment fair, and became the test cases for their product. The vests, which now retail for $215 (cooling packs included), have sold well in 2018, with 80 percent of their sales going to people in the United States.
Langedijk says that don't yet have a military contract, but they have been supplying individual troops.
"A small group of U.S. Navy troops in Japan reached out to EZ Cooldown three years ago to ask if the company could ship to military bases. The service members ended up buying 10 vests, then their friends bought 20, then 30."The Dutch furry revealed that he still has no clue how they heard about the product. The Navy didn't respond to The Daily Beast about use of the vest, but an Army spokesperson explained that soldiers were known to buy cooling vests "in an individual capacity."
Langedijk said he first noticed that the military was using "phase-change cooling vests" on a CNN segment back in 2012 but questioned the viability of the required portable power source, which was heavy and bulky.
The Dutch inventor, who participates in cosplay and works as a videographer, worked to create a slimmer-fitting vest for someone on the go (the miliary used them mostly while seated in tanks) as the vest used by soldiers wouldn't work under costumes.
So Langedijk created his own more form-fitting vest, specially made for people under costumes, from furries to sports team mascots. Instead of requiring a power system, he placed "cooling packs in the small of the back and high up on the chest to complement the owner's body." He worked with partners to create a proprietary chemical blend to fill the cooling packs, launching the product at "Eurofurence," a furry convention, in 2013.
While EZ Cooldown isn't the only vest maker in the business, it's the only one run by a furry, which gives Langedijk major cred in the cosplay community, even among "Milfurs," which are furries in the military.