Any newbie to the fetish scene initially views the purchase of toys, tickets and fetish wear clothing as an expensive barrier to entry. Of these, Kink wear often takes a back seat in the spending choices. Here’s why you should prioritise good quality fetish wear and how to make it an affordable option.
I recently did a ‘Kink on a Budget’ workshop for the Peer Lam Learn workshops run by LAM. In my preparation, it occurred to me that some of the answers are counterintuitive. Let’s look at the newbie journey on the kink scene.
The initial stage of joining the kink scene seems like a big learning curve of acronyms, styles, history and aesthetics to take on for the explorer stepping outside vanilla life for the first time. For these people, low-pressure friendly environments where you can learn the lingo, make friends and discuss things like the meaning of consent in different circumstances are pretty vital. You can get to some great Kink 101 style workshops at PLL, LAM and often some by Divine Theratrix, among others.
Start slowly- there is a whole world to explore and it is much easier to scale things up than to scale things back (like with spicy food)
You have entered the kink community and have a little hyperfocus on your preferred areas of kink. Whether it’s seeing great suspension points for Shibari everywhere as you walk though the park or realising Poundland is a Kinkster cornucopia of toys if you have enough imagination, you’ll probably be buying a lot of low-cost stuff and exploring every kink, fetish and aesthetic that comes your way.
Conversely, (especially if your look is a little goth or emo) you may feel like your look should be enough to attend any event and feel resentful that certain parties expect more commitment to presentation. why should you have to dress up to partake in the kinks you want to explore?
With the underneath of your bed stuffed with all sorts of crap you temporarily thought of as a ‘kink toy’ and dozens of cheap plastic pieces of attire from Amazon that looked great in the photos but less so in real life, you may feel you don’t have space for anything more. Yet when it comes to an event, you still don’t feel you have anything to wear or show off.
You start to realise that ‘less is more’ as you end up trying to bring a suitcase to cater to every kink to events, losing or breaking half of it and wondering where all your money went. You start to realise that your real lifestyle kink and fetish people are quite discerning with the things they choose to wear, use and compliment.
As you talk to more people, you realise that ‘home made’ items people fashion are usually the result of multiple professional workshops to learn and then many hours of private craft to bring together. Whether latex attire, hand-made floggers or personal BDSM contraptions of their own creation, these are not things that can be bodged together. They are works of art, of time and love. Pieces that speak to their dedication to the scene, the lifestyle and commitment to their own niche.
Tired of being viewed as a newbie, pauper, vanilla tourist in disguise or someone lacking discerning taste, you throw out your cheap crap and start to rebuild a tasteful collection and wardrobe that reflects your own cultivated scene persona, special fetishes, kink skillset and aspirations for your kink avatar that shows status and affiliation to the kink tribe you seek to merge with.
You peruse stalls at fetish markets and connect to independent artisans online who understand the difference between vulcanised rubber and non-vulcanised, make bespoke pieces and scoff at PVC. Seek out floggers in your colours that are perfectly weighted and strike in a way that lulls your playmates into subspace. You understand the difference between acting and being.
Can you skip the expensive kink and fetish wear journey?
Yes and no. Unless we have a lot of money to burn, the early stages of exploration help to form our idea of who we are in the context of the kink scene- who we want to be, how we want to look, what we are really good at and what we really enjoy. Just as you might not wish to do driving lessons in a Porsche, sometimes a dabble helps us to learn and choose our direction for the future.
Why is it important to have great fetish wear?
There are many reasons why choosing your kink attire is really important.
Proper fetish wear shows respect to the event host and guests
When you go to a fetish event, you probably don’t expect or want to see a bunch of people in sweatpants and trainers making up the aesthetic. Nor does anyone else. The guests and their attire create the ambiance. Trying to slide into an event that has specified fetish wear without putting in the effort insults everyone.
It shows you are not a tourist
Nobody likes to feel that they have come to an event to be ogled, laughed at or treated like an animal in a zoo. What’s more, the kink scene has cultivated a great community based on impeccable consent, to the point that newbies and tourists cannot recognise when and why their actions are shocking (such as picking up someone else’s flogger). By demonstrating you are part of the kink community with your attire, you help put everyone at ease.
It gives people reasons to talk to you
Those who know the difference, know the difference. By wearing a bespoke iconic piece, you speak to the genuine kink lifestylers at an event, social or daily life without saying a word. You don’t need to be head to toe in latex (unless you want to) or have everything on you cost a fortune. One stand-out hand-crafted piece of fetish wear made by a true artisan is enough to be a focal point, conversation starter and express your kink personality.
It helps you be in the right mindset
When we shed our vanilla clothes we shed our vanilla selves. The ritual of changing and dressing our kink avatars helps us to release those aspects of ourselves and our lives that we don’t wish to carry with us into the transformational space that is the kink world. We become our best selves by focussing on decorating ourselves appropriately. Appropriately for who we want to be and how we may want to be seen at the place we are going.
It shows you support the real kink community
The artisanal craftsmen who make unique, bespoke, handmade pieces of fetish wear do it for love rather than money. They love the community and love their craft. None of them decide to spend hours sewing leather masks expecting to become a billionaire. When you select their products, commission your ultimate kink and fetish wear pieces and ensure your money is going to supporting the community in this way instead of big factories, you show you value the other people who make up the community and help their continued existence.
Where can you get iconic fetish wear pieces?
Depending where you are, there are a number of options. There are alternative markets in London, Such as the London Alternative Market, Boutique Bazaar, and the Satanic Flea Market which will allow you to browse through wonderful creations, try things on and speak to the stall holders who usually create everything themselves. There are also shops such as FAB London.
If you have nothing locally, almost all producers also have an online web presence. Check out the exhibitors listed on one of the alternative markets, view their websites and give them a like and follow on your social media. They will usually be following other great craftsmen that are worth adding and investigating too.
Are you an artisanal kink and fetishwear creator? Add your business name in the comments below
+I have said craftsman in the gender neutral way – From the Latin ‘Manus’ meaning hand– many women and non-binary people also make wonderful kink and fetish wear. Please substitute the terms for ‘craftspeople’ in your mind if you prefer
+ All images are produced by Midjourney Ai. I like to dance with the Basilisk.