There has been so much growth that Rex decided to launch the first global fetish shopping guide on Bound’s website. Initially, she wanted to curate a list of brands with good foundations. Some time back, a few of her friends had ordered leather pieces from a small European name; they never arrived, nor did their refunds. It’s not unusual for small fetish wear labels to become overloaded. Creepyyeha designer Yeha Leung will open her online shop for just a few hours, then close it for months in order to painstakingly complete each handcrafted piece. Leather and latex, in particular, are notoriously tricky to work with; a sheet of cotton might cost around 60 cents, but the same amount of latex goes for $7 and is far more unforgiving. “If you miscut cotton [or] you miss-stitch it, you can throw it away, but with latex, the loss is so much greater if there’s a mistake,” Rex says. “It’s super meticulous, like the gluing and everything.”
Over the past year, Rex has slowly but surely assembled a guide to showcase beautiful, reliable, and ethical brands. She carefully researched each one to make sure its designers were putting forth something original. “I really just wanted to highlight people who are moving forward in this industry,” she says. You can search by material (latex, leather, PVC) or by location, to support talents close to home or across the seas. “My hope is that by creating this visibility for these brands, who are really just people, they’ll be able to expand their business,” she says, which might help smooth out the production process. “When I first got into this, there was no one who told you where to go and who to rely on, so it’s just part of this exploratory nature that comes with fetish wear. Every single person I know who has come to Bound and wasn’t curious before, when they have a friend dress them up, they’re like, ‘Oh, I feel so empowered.’ Usually, people’s first experiences in leather and latex make them feel different,” Rex says. “It’s not wearing a costume; it’s wearing certain confidence.”
Leather Coven From Holyoke, Massachusetts
“Successfully made to fit any curvature and build, Leather Coven is iconic in creative design for inclusivity. The passion that designer Mateo Guadalupe has for executing their craft mindfully, can be seen in the attention to detail in each piece.”
Highlights: “Lifetime guarantees on repairs and refits.”
The modern world of fetish design has far more in common with couture than anything commercial. The vast bulk of these independent brands consist of a single person, hand-cutting and sewing each piece—which explains the high price point. If a celebrity wears it, the demand increases tenfold and production often comes to a halt. A friend of Rex’s recently started a label in Chicago that quickly boomed; she was forced to close it, lest her entire life be devoted to gluing latex. “A lot of new pieces are mimicking ready-to-wear, which is something that’s really exciting as far as the development of leather and latex and fetish wear, but they’re still specialty pieces,” Rex explains. Yet this involved production process only adds to the special nature of the garments. “It adds so much beauty to purchasing fetish wear and saving to purchase it,” Rex says.