Where did the latex come from?
Latex is an interesting material that has been very popular for many years. You wouldn't guess how many!
When we ask about the first use of rubber in the production of clothes, we think of the famous Macintosh coats that are still inspiring and constantly popular today.
In fact, Charles Macintosh patented the process of making waterproof garments in June 1823. His achievement is certainly a milestone in the dissemination of this material, but it was certainly not the first attempt to use the rubber. Mackintosh coats are certainly considered the garments that started the fetish culture. Interestingly, they were very perishable clothes - they cracked when exposed to cold, dissolved when exposed to heat. However, they remain a classic model, a starting point and inspiration for contemporary alternative fashion.
As early as 1600 BC, the Maya, Aztecs, and Olmecs used rubber. The name "Olmec" even translates as "rubber people". Originally, South America was the only worlds rubber supplier. Thanks to the English and their world explorations, the plants from which the gum is made found their way to Malaysia, India and Sri Lanka. These regions are now the main suppliers of natural rubber.
When did latex become popular on the Old Continent?
World War I and II popularized the production of rubber - gas masks became a necessity product then. However, hostilities made it difficult to transport many goods. This caused a sharp increase in the price of natural rubber. This caused the intensification of work on finding an artificial method of obtaining rubber. The synthetic variety was made from crude oil.
Latex became popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Its most important feature then was water impermeability. Therefore, raincoats were mainly made of it, but this material was also used in the production of diving suits.
Time of experiments
Latex, Leather & Vinyl
John Sutcliffe, a producer of rainwear for motorcyclists, started by mixing vinyl and leather but quickly began experimenting with PVC and rubber. He once discovered that a great many customers did not buy his clothes for protection against the rain. Understanding his fascination with shiny material, he decided to follow this path.
His response to this market demand was the production of the first "catsuits". The production was also followed by promotional activities. These included the Sutcliffe's AtomAge publishing house. The first issue of AtomAge magazine was published in the winter of 1972. Illustrated with photos of latex, leather and vinyl accessories and costumes, it also contained guide articles. Readers were able to learn how to clean and store rubber garments and learn about stories from people reporting their latex experiences. The title was trendy until 1985.
During this period, such titles as Smooth, Rubber Life, Accord and Relate also appeared.
Latex fashion as a lifestyle
Slowly, fetish culture appeared all around the world.
In Germany, LATEXA was established in 1967. They were the first to produce masks, shoes, stockings and other fetish garments in Europe. In 1964, the first gay fetish club in NY was opened - Five Senses, which later changed its name to V-Senses. The club operated until 1973. It was a quiet private club for only 25 people - but had a huge impact on a rubber fetish establishment. London's Rubber Mans Club had a similar number of members.
Fetish latex hits the web
The born of computer networks in the 1980s that lead to the worldwide web, as we know it, allowed for establishing contacts between fetishists from all over the world. Groups were formed that exchanged photos and shared experiences. New relationships and networks of like-minded connections developed. The rubber fetish was no longer an intimate phenomenon but remained controversial and exclusive. Thanks to the network, international communities were born, operating to this day in many forms. Groups and websites dedicated to lovers of latex sensations are counted in thousands.
Latex enters the mainstream
In the 90s, latex entered the mainstream while remaining controversial and considered nonconformist. Latex costumes could be seen in music videos or at concerts of artists who like to provoke like NIN, Madonna or George Michael.
Let's not forget about "The Gimp" from Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, or Catwoman from "Batman" by Tim Burton.
Currently, we can enjoy various manifestations of a fetish culture in the mainstream. Latex outfits, jackets, tops, dresses have turned into completely acceptable items of clothing. Going out to a club or a party in such an outfit does not seem to be a special extravagance. On the other side of the scale, we have second-skin-loving fetishists who collect all kinds of latex clothes and outfits - kinky, provocative, designed to provoke. The number of brands, cuts and models is simply overwhelming. Guides, exchange and support groups are very easy to find, but the environment nevertheless gives the impression of being quite "elite". The use of latex requires some experience, and for those who are not initiated, it may seem like secret knowledge.
Latex - New Dimension
Although classic latex is doing great, there are many innovators and fashion visioners who can surprise us with interesting experiments with this material.
And so the 3D printing technology introduced printed latex to the market. The material known as tight-fitting, "second skin" has turned into an airy type of stretch net. Decorated with sophisticated patterns, it resembles tulle or ace. However, unlike classic fabrics, it still remains delightfully stretchy.
Another example of the innovative use of the material is its use in the production of Datex.