Fetish fashion is the appearance or style in the form of accessory or clothing that was created to be provocative or extreme. These styles are not worn by the majority of people on the regular basis. They are made usually of materials such as latex or nylon, synthetic rubber or plastic, PVC, stainless steel, fishnet and spandex. Some of the items of fetish fashion include corsets, stiletto heel shoes and boots, collars, stockings, miniskirts, hobble skirts, full-body latex catsuits, garters, crotchless underwear, eyewear, locks, handcuffs, rings and stylish costumes based on the traditional outfits, such as marriage dresses that are fully sewed through the lace. Rubber, PVC, and leather are the materials used to design Fetish garments. These materials are visualized to resonate inside our sensual and sexual natures linking with something we hunger for, something hiding in the shadows and something deliciously taboo [Bressler K, 1998]
Fetish fashion has no beginning concern because certain fashions were appreciated for themselves. Some argue that the use of hobble skirts and corsets back in the past 20th century was the first mainstream of fetish fashion because a majority of the society had no access to the articles. These items were appreciated just for themselves. Fetish fashion refers to the dressing style that arose in London, after the Second World War. Fishnets, black leather and vinyl, and biker gear were all popular; pin-up girls like Bettie Page donned them for racy photoshoots. During the 1950s and 60s, the fetish fashion subculture came into the market through pop and rock bands like the Velvet Underground. One of the first persons to introduce fetish fashion in her outfits was Vivienne Westwood. According to Steele, the author of Fetish Fashion, Sex and Power, It is through Vivienne Westwood that fetish fashion came into existence [Steele V, 1996]. However, some others argue that fetish fashion was started with the culture of leather-wearing of homosexual England, London underground after World War II. During this period, the gay men began to use the rarely-used leather clothing items publicly, and they were identified and separated from the norm. The items of leather clothing were being appreciated for themselves, not just for their effective application.
Types of fetish models
A wide range of fetishes has been covered with fetish modelling. These include the ranges involving latex, corsets, thin fetishism, wedges, shibari, tattoo or body piercing, Nyotaimori food, bondage and shoes. Fetishes may also involve body parts, such as breasts, navel, and feet.
Fetish models may involve themselves in the overall aspects of aesthetic beauty rather than the areas that are sexual. Fetish modelling is usually considered being a part of the adult industry due to its popular perception as an “adult-only” appreciation. However, in recent times, many aspects of the fetish fashion market have been incorporated and accepted into so-called mainstream fashion whereby fashion creators directly use exotic fabrics such as latex or shear instead of cotton or wool for their creations. According to Garland, the author of Fashion, a picture guide to its creators and creations, Fetish usually relates to anything that can cause interest or desire on the part of the observer or participant and is not limited to a part of the person [Garland M, 1962].
Today, the clothes designed using PVC and latex can be seen on many fetish models such as Sohui and Ulorin Vex. They can be seen in live fashion show performances and appearances like the Fetish Weekend and Torture Garden Fashion Show. Some performance strictly showcased Fetish clothing that is manufactured exclusively by a single top manufacturer. Other performances showcase a variety of brands of fetish clothes by several manufactures at one show. According to Robinson, the author of The Fine Art of Fashion, Fetish costumes are extremely popular on internet sites [Robinson J, 1997]. With the emergence of Fetish Fashion in the mainstream area, fetish fashion accessories will soon find a place in common households too!
- Bressler K, A Century of Lingerie, 1998.
- Steele V, Fetish Fashion, Sex and Power, Oxford University press, 1996.
- Garland M, Fashion: a picture guide to its creators and creations, 1962
- Robinson J, The Fine Art of Fashion: an Illustrated History, 1997