With the sudden and undeniably present trend of the incorporation of latex emerging, both in the fashion and lingerie industry, we thought it were about time someone let you know a little bit more about it. Seen on catwalks of not only SS15 but many runways past, this rubber like material is becoming as common in the designers swatch collection as pleated chiffons.
If you’re a little intimidated by the trend, don’t be. This doesn’t mean to say that in order to stay in vogue a rubber catsuit is in order. However, we are seeing more and of it pop up whether it be in the sleeve of a blouse or the frills on a garter belt and it won’t hurt to know how to get the most out of your garment.
First off, you’re going to find that latex compared to lingerie, does often come at a higher cost.
Latex is well, it’s rubber, which unlike fabrics you’d find in RTW clothing, does not involve a fibre being formed into a fabric. As a result there are less manufactures of sheet latex which is the basis of most latex clothing.
On the price of latex, high end latex designer William Wilde explains – “The material itself is expensive per metre (by comparison to high street fabrics), and the construction methods make mass producing very difficult; So as each piece is hand made, it can often be very time consuming (time is money!). Often, certainly in my case, the clothing is also produced in the UK, so again this contributes to a higher cost. Also as the latex market is quite niche, bulk ordering and mass production is not required, which would bring down costs.” Hence the high costs of latex.
The garments are also constructed very differently to your average RTW piece.
“Most note-wrothy is that latex garments are glued together and not sewn, there is actually no machinery involved in my technique, just equipment and hands!” Said Wilde.
Latex garments are most commonly crafted in two distinct ways. The first being cut from sheet latex and then glued. This is the more common practice of the two as it involves similar pattern construction techniques to that of a tailored garment. The second way is moulded clothing, which is slightly more complicated in that it involves the use of a mould being dipped into liquid latex and then air dried. It is slightly more complex as the designer needs to have the correct skill to ensure that the thickness of the latex is consistent throughout and there are not thin patches were weaknesses could form into holes.
As for caring for latex, you can’t simply throw the garment into the washing machine and let it tumble dry.
Latex melts and discolors under heat so you need to handwash it. This is an awesome guide for the care of latex if you’re just starting out. http://www.williamwilde.com/pages/care-of-latex
One of the biggest appeals of latex is that it becomes like a gorgeous second skin. It is usually very tight. As a result, there are a few precautions you need to take when wearing and taking the garment on and off to ensure you don’t do any damage.
A few additional tips:
1. Latex, because it is rubber, and often quite tight, can make you sweat. To avoid discoloration, you’re going to want to give it a wash after every wear (if you find yourself sweating up a storm). But hey, it’s warm for winter!
2. When putting on garments it’s best to use your whole hand to smooth out garments rather than your finger tips. Finger tips can leave stretch marks and finger nails can tear.
3. When washing the latex, don’t wring it out! You will stretch the piece or possibly pull it out of shape. It’s just like lingerie, take care of it.
William Wilde’s top tip for wearing latex?
“Use a dressing aid/lubricant safe for use with latex. A little applied to the skin and inside the garment will make it so much easier to slide into! Also a silicone spray polish will make it effortless to shine your garment”. You can pick up Wilde’s own brand from his online store.
You can take a look at the video above for a demonstration by another latex designer, Atsuko Kudo, as well as little more on why people wear latex and where it’s roots come from. Below we’ve also put together a few links to places you can buy latex and my personal favourite latex lingerie picks which you can purchase yourself. The first 4 are from William Wilde’s collaboration with Lascivious and the second 4 are Asuko Kudo’s RTW for Luisaviaroma.
Of course, there are many other manufacturers of Latex and other places you can purchase it from. These are just my personal favourites for both quality and design.