The collection is provided by Hanger, who previously broke ground by having their latexwear featured by online retail giant ASOS.
Most of the pieces are loose fitting basics, and therefore good for people experimenting with latex for the first time.
It’s not the first time Selfridges have carried latex: in 2013, part of the Atsuko Kudo ‘Restricted Love’ collection was available in the lingerie section of the shop. With its high baseline cost, latex fashion is perhaps well matched for high-end department stores like Selfridges.
Both Hanger and Selfridges are keen on promoting the sustainability credentials of natural latex. We predict it will be used as a selling point for latex clothing more and more, given the increase in ecological concern and heightened sense of consumer responsibility.
A TV channel devoted to latex clothing? What a time to be alive. Called LatexFashionTV, it brings you reports from various events across Europe, whether fashion shows, fetish gatherings, or cosplay conventions. Films include catwalk shows as well as a look behind the scenes, involving interviews with models and designers.
Besides these ‘on location’ reports, there are also cinematic showcases of particular models, outfits and latex labels, and the channel shares the best of video output by designers too, either of a promotional or behind the scenes nature. All of this ensures LatexFashionTV is your one-stop shop for latex in motion – and all in glorious full-HD, of course.
This is Dark Shiny Fashion Alternatives’ sixth Q&A, and we thank them for sharing.
Can you provide a short bio of your background in fashion? Who are you, what’s your background and how did LatexFashionTV come to be?
My name is Cole Black and my background is in media and video production. I don’t have any formal training in fashion but l work with brilliant people who do. LatexFashionTV came about through a love of film making and fetish fashion.
How did you discover latex and fetish fashion as a focal point for your video work? Did you have a personal interest in wearing latex or was it just a material that you found interesting?
I discovered latex with Batman Returns and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. I knew there was something special about her outfit and seeing shiny outfits on Top of the Pops or late night shows like Eurotrash and Sexcetera would always catch my eye. It seems crazy now but there was no internet back then. So it was kind of a building curiosity. You couldn’t type ‘latex’ into google and bring up thousands of images and videos like today.
At what point did you decide to take your personal interest in latex and transition it to a vocation? Is it a vocation or just a personal side project?
It started as a side project but takes up half my time now. I discovered the fetish scene in the mid-noughties. Seeing people in person wearing amazing outfits that were so visually arresting, I knew working with latex would be fantastic to film and I’ve been shooting it ever since.
Since you’re constantly interacting with various aspects of the latex scene, how would you describe “the market” from a business perspective? Are people in the industry predominately focused on “sex & fetish” or is it an alternative fashion material?
I’d say it’s both. Most designers have some outfits leaning toward fetish and others toward fashion. There are classic fetish style outfits that will always be popular in the fetish scene while celebrities wear stylish latex dresses for fashion and cosplayers slide into catsuits for the latest comic con. For them It’s an alternative fashion material that’s fun to wear.
Latex can be described as a “fetish,” a “kink”, “Alternative fashion” or simply “fashion”. Do you prefer one description over another?
It can be all things to all people or something very singular. Latex will probably always have connotations of being naughty, just like thigh high boots, It’s out of the ordinary, that’s what makes it fun. I guess I think of it as alternative fashion. Lubing up to go to the shops to get a pint of milk isn’t something everyone would do.
Latex seems to be a small subset of things fetish. It can also exist without things fetish as pure fashion. In fact one can argue that “fetish” and the association with sex and/or pornography detracts from the fashion aspect. It becomes fashion for “porn stars” not fashion for regular people. So… Fashion or fetish? What side do you want to promote in your films?
The theme of LFTV is promoting latex clothing wherever that takes us. We can be front row at a fashion show one episode then demonstrate a vac-cube at a fetish club the next. But it’s a fine line to walk to keep everything in balance and we hopefully do it in a fun, friendly way that doesn’t lean too heavily in one direction for long.
Following that topic, the majority of your subjects are women. Are there plans to do any pieces on “straight” men’s fashion? What opportunities would that provide? Are there any stigmas you could break with such a piece?
Co-incidentally, as I write this our last two episodes are Men’s latex fashion shows. We try to cover the scene as we find it and it’s mostly women wearing latex fashion. That’s reflected in everything from the types of outfits for sale to the models in fashion shows. Guys certainly wear latex too but mostly in Fetish clubs and very few actually want to be on camera in my experience.
How about a piece focusing on a cross-dresser? Are there any stigmas you could break with such a piece?
We’ve featured fashion shows with cross-dresser’s before. Our focus is always going to be predominantly women’s fashion because that’s where my interest is. But never say never.
It seems many latex outfits are designed to be body hugging. We’ve heard latex referred to as a “Second Skin.” Do you agree that latex should be used for tight outfits or does it lend itself to “loose” outfits?
Absolutely. One of my favorite things about latex is how skin-tight it is. I personally love outfits that are unashamedly rubber. But there are some incredible loose fitting latex outfits too. I was once shooting in Piccadilly Circus in London with Rebecca from Yummy Gummy wearing a latex dress with a loose skirt and families came up to take selfies with her. That’s a perfect example of latex being seen as fun. They probably didn’t even register it as latex, It was just a cool shiny outfit.
How do you find the market for latex wear distributed between men, women, cross-dressers (men or women), celebrity couture?
I’d guess it’s predominantly Women with celebrity couture the smallest market. There are only so many celebrities.
What is your favorite piece of latex fashion that you’ve had the opportunity to film?
That’s so tough. I do love a classic catsuit or latex leggings. My favourite thing probably changes with whatever I’ve filmed recently. I’m working on a motorbike film right now with an incredible latex biker catsuit.
It seems London and Berlin get all the latex events. A cosmopolitan city like New York has nothing. How come? Which event has been the most fun to film and why?
We’re lucky in the UK that London is kept busy with latex events. Other places both in the UK and around the world have latex events. In fact the biggest collection of latex catwalks was in Manchester at Sexhibition. New York has its own ‘the Baroness’ who as well as being a legendary latex designer I think holds regular latex events in NY? I’ve yet to travel to the states to shoot latex but would love to in the future.
In viewing the LatexFashionTV Youtube page, we notice that most of your pieces are in the 5 to 10 minute range in length. Do you have plans to create a longer, documentary style piece? With the range of access you have, it would seem you can take a deep dive into topics centered on an event, a designer, or one of your “challenge” concepts.
I’m a fan of shorter content so always aim for around five minutes give or take. There are plans for longer pieces, one following models shooting abroad, another is a deep dive into a designer. I did just shoot a pilot for a longer show format that worked pretty well and plan to develop further.
On that note, I’m sure it would be interesting for our reader to have a better understanding on the effort involved in putting your pieces together. The videos don’t jump straight from the camera to Youtube. Editing of both the video and the audio tracks is required. What’s really involved?
For anyone who doesn’t know the ins and outs of film making it can be pretty involved. I think of it as putting together a massive jigsaw… and you’re also making the pieces you’re going to need to put the jigsaw together as you go along.
It starts with the idea. Then I make notes about what I want to shoot. Planning what equipment I’ll need and outfits for the models to wear. An outfit for me to wear if it’s a club with say, an all rubber dress code.
Then there’s the actual filming itself which usually involves traveling. Shooting means making sure everything is shiny and perfect. Making sure everything is lit. That the sound is recorded properly. Back at the edit suite the footage gets copied off the cameras, backed up on two separate hard drives and again in the cloud. I’ve been shooting latex for over a decade and my main archive is pretty big.
Then I’ll start editing and organizing the footage. For a lot of films I have a certain style in mind so I’ll start dropping the footage I need on a timeline and putting it in order. Then there’s choosing music. We license a lot of tracks from music libraries. Sometimes finding the right music track can take longer than editing.
Editing from start to finish can take anything from a few hours to a few days. Right now I have around 30 films in production. Some waiting to be published. Some in various stages of editing. So it gets a bit crazy.
What drives your creativity for your video pieces?
Anything that seems likes it’s going to be fun. Something I haven’t done before or something familiar with a new twist.
Less or More? You’ve had the opportunity to film all sorts of outfits and costumes. What pops out more on film – the skimpy, the full enclosure or the couture?
Anything colorful is great on camera. Filming a black outfit in a dark club can be difficult. I personally love outfits that cling and are unmistakably rubber with lots of shine. A lot really depends on the model wearing it and what she brings to it as well.
Is filming latex more of a challenge than filming everyday outfits? Do you need to take special considerations for things such as lighting? What other differences are there?
It’s a lot like shooting a shiny car. You need highlights and reflections to emphasise curves and shape. Shooting outside in daylight always looks great.
You’ve done a piece titled “Wearing Latex for a Week Challenge.” This seems to be a “holy grail” type of experience for many latex aficionados who would love to wear latex in public but are too scared to actually take the leap.
What tends to be the general reaction of people to the outfits as you are filming? Do they react with ignorance, puzzlement, disgust or appreciation?
The ‘challenge’ films are some of my favorites. People’s reactions depend on the situation. Wearing latex in more regular settings like city centers or coffee shops get some looks I’m sure. But the outfits worn for those locations are somewhat appropriate and fashionable. Maybe latex leggings or a latex dress. It’s not too out of place. No one is dressed in a full Catwoman outfit in Starbucks. The idea behind them isn’t to shock people for the sake of it. It’s to see how latex clothes can work as part of every day life.
As a man, I find if I get women [who are not fetishists] offer a comment on an outfit it tends to come off as positive. When a man offers a comment, it usually feels as a backhanded insult. Have you ever considered filming the “viewers” reactions to what they are seeing? Would that perspective help a latex aficionado put together an outfit in which they would be comfortable wearing without provoking strong reaction – either positive or negative – from the general public?
I generally see positive reactions. But then I’m around people in latex at events or in situations were something different might get a second look but isn’t entirely unexpected. I’m more interested in portraying people as comfortable and confident in their latex rather than looking for a reaction, positive or negative.
Would you consider filming a “latex challenge” video with a person that is neither a model nor a fetishist? How about about the same for a man? How about a cross-dressing man or woman?
I love the idea of introducing a newbie to latex. We’ve done a variation on that with someone’s first time wearing rubber to a club but would love to expand on it more.
What are your goals for Latex Fashion TV?
To keep bringing you latex fashion and rubbery adventures. Our monthly views just passed 500,000 which is insane but pretty awesome.
What is your favorite part of being involved with latex fashion?
The friends I’ve made and the people that make up the latex scene.
What is your blue sky accomplishment to achieve in the world to latex fashion?
To be known as a great place for latex and rubber fashion and to promote the latex community in a positive way.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated that “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” People tend to be fearful of things that are different. They express that fear through aggressive or demeaning behaviour towards others to express that their position is superior. Even without external pressure, a person can be fearful due to internal thoughts over how people will react.
This brings us to fashion. You can say the more different something a style is from the norm, the more people will react negatively.
Do you agree with this. Is latex “too different” from what is accepted fashion to be common place. How much more extreme is it than wearing leather? Women often wear leather to corporate jobs. Is latex that much more extreme?
Any outfit you have to lube up to get into is never going to be common place. Latex does take a little effort to wear, but that’s ok. It’s one of the reasons we love it. I’m sure you could interchange leather with latex at many jobs and it would be fine. A woman might wear a leather skirt to an office job, but not a full leather catsuit. It’s the same thing, you could wear latex leggings to work and be fine but your boss might not appreciate a full latex catsuit and hood.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
You can watch over 300 films with latex fashion on our website or YouTube channel (do subscribe) and follow us on social media for sneak peeks and updates. It’s great to get comments and If you’re involved with something epic that deals with fetish fashion we’d love to hear from you.
Header image: SatoriaAltModel presenting for LFTV at the Prague Fetish Weekend
Thank you to Cole for his participation, and to Kyle&Selina of the Dark Shiny Fashion Alternatives blog for holding the Q&A.
Attention latex trend spotters! We interrupt your usual scheduled programming of A Kardashian in a Tight Rubber Dress to bring you this report, just in, of someone who doesn’t usually wear latex doing something not usually done with latex.
Rosamund Pike attended the Toronto International Film Festival and wore this flowing, rather gentle looking pink maxi skirt, contrasted with a fringed top of Swarovski crystal. The whole effect is rather soft and feminine, and another new style to add to the latex red carpet ‘lookbooks’.
This ensemble appeared in Givenchy’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection. Perhaps it signals the potential for latex to be “the new leather”: A daring and visually striking material, which can be mixed and matched with other textures to create intriguing contrasts and sophisticated, stylish looks. First the runway. Then the red carpet. Next, the high street?
Latex already made it to the high street, of course: just look to House of CB. But we’re wondering if we may see even more styles beyond the sexy figure-hugging dresses. Don’t get us wrong: a skintight latex dress will always have a special place in our hearts. We simply think that latex is capable of even more.
Let’s also remind ourselves that latex achieves the glossy, wet look effect of leather or vinyl, as well as the smooth texture, without using neither animal skins nor the heavy pollutants involved in the manufacture of faux leather (PU leather) or PVC. Instead, latex is a natural, sustainable substance sourced from trees.
In our increasingly eco-conscious society, that may just make all the difference in Latex’s potential to storm the fashion world – so long as the designers continue to innovate.
Nina De Lianin of band In Strict Confidence describes their latest video, Mercy, as a “musicvideo/fashionfilm”, and it would be an injustice to those behind the video’s amazing wardrobe to be any less descriptive!
The costumes in this video are as much the showpiece as the actual music; and the fashion is as Alternative as it comes. The elaborate, often outlandish designs are provided by a number of avant-garde designers, as well as some recognised names in fetish-fashion, such as Marquis and Peter Domenie.
It’s Marquis which Nina herself is wearing; watch her strut through the old-fashioned rooms of this grand manor house while gleaming from head to toe in layers of transparent latex.
If Nina looks a complete natural in this get-up, it may be something to do with the fact she’s modelled for Marquis in the past. And indeed it’s harder to find a live performance of In Strict Confidence where she’s NOT wearing latex!
Nina performing with In Strict Confidence at the Blackfield Festival, 2013
For quite some time, the mere occurrence of a musician or celebrity wearing latex has ceased to be an unusual event in itself.
Time was, it took an artist with a certain reputation for eccentricity and non-conformity in order to push the envelope and wear these most eye-catching, and strange, outfits of rubber.
Partly due to their efforts, and partly due to the rise of latex couture, latex wear has spread from these fashion outliers to the mainstream core of pop culture, with presumably not much more ground – or taboos – to break. Even overt references to the fetish culture from which latex clothing sprang are now accepted as part of the normal iconography of the performer or fashionista; “Stars will be stars.”
However, all of the above assumes one crucial fact: we’re talking about women.
Michał Szpak performing at last month’s Top of the Top Festival in Sopot, Poland
Of course, men’s fashion does not have the same scope to be flamboyant or as out-there as women’s, and there is a whole host of reasons (that we won’t go into here) why this may be the case.
But even limiting the scope of our discussion to the famous, it still seems that few male performers are really taking advantage of their rock cred – their license to be larger than life – and breaking free of convention.
Not like we’ve seen in bygone generations, in any case.
Where are the New Romantics? The Punks? The Glam Rockers of today? We need new and exciting music, fashion and cultural movements to spur the kind of flamboyance and explosion of individuality and expression which marked those previous eras. And like female celebs have become trendsetters and brought latex fashion into the consciousness, perhaps we need genuine leaders, strong personalities, to show men also: There can be another way.
Szpak was a finalist on X Factor Poland, and later represented Poland in the Eurovision Song Contest, 2016
Michał Szpak may be too little known to be that influence. But hopefully he’s only a little ahead of his time. We salute Michał for putting some glam back into rock. Oh but this is no retro revival; latex is as bleeding edge as it gets.
I’m not entirely sure what I wanted to say with the post; but I guess it’s something like this: we’ve reached a stage where women’s latex fashion is in the mainstream consciousness almost daily; it would be nice not to have to wait years to witness another occurrence of men’s latex in the public eye.
Oh and the ‘L with a stroke’ letter is pronounced like the English ‘w’. Always been curious about that one!