Fancy wearing latex but can’t afford it? Alix Fox finds out how to tailor your own.
Rubber clobber isn’t just for fetishists and providers of, ahem, specialist services. It’s been popularised in the mainstream by celebs including Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and, um, ‘Towie’s Amy Childs; and today even Topshop stocks rubber skirts, while latex couture costumiers Atsuko Kudo recently had a pop-up in Selfridges.
However, a rubber apron alone costs upwards of £120. Even decent off-the-peg pieces tend to require you to remortgage your house. And if you don’t own any property? You’ll have to give at least 17 hand shandies round the back of Euston station.
Cue Miss Kim’s daylong DIY workshops. Conducted once a month in groups of four students (one-on-one lessons are also available), they take place above The Marksman pub in Hackney, and for £140 they teach the basics of constructing your own stretchy, shiny, unnervingly-condom perfumed gear.
Tougher than it looks, latex is glued together rather than sewn. I end up making such a hash of my first attempts at sticking seams that I’m surprised the eye patch I churn out doesn’t contain corned beef. Then one of my pieces starts curling up, so I freak out and try to flatten it, ‘Don’t prod it!’ reprimands Miss Kim. ‘Treat it like a zit – if you poke it, you’ll make it worse!’
Given that Miss Kim also works as a dominatrix, she’s not someone I want to upset. She’s spent more than 15 years running monthly S&M night Club Rub, where kinky types meet, socialise and turn each other’s bottoms the colour of Ribena by thwacking them with riding crops and paddles. Her reaction when I fail to ‘move my hips with the blade’ while slicing shapes using something resembling a pizza-cutter? My hand slapped with a ruler. Playfully, mind.
But Miss Kim’s tough love is effective: I finish the course having made a choker, a surgical-style mask and a pretty respectable apron. If ‘respectable’ is ever a word that can be applied to latex. Especially given what I’ve been up to behind Euston station.