The wearing of leather is an art form.
Rarely the subject of whim, it’s attended instead by planning and forethought.
Leather remains pure, like a good sentence, with context, structure and meaning, it tells you the story.
It’s both subversive and timeless. Cocktail dress or gimp hood, the effect remains the same. Certain people will avoid you, will not give eye contact. And when you wear leather you control this. You purposefully affect the people around you. Socially it’s both selecting and magnetic.
When I wear leather I’m planning to stand out. Planning to shock . I know heads will turn. Because leather means control, even the youngest nubile boy or girl dressed or bound in leather screams power and attraction. Social norms crack like a cane across the thigh. Leather clad bodies roar at you and force your attention with a sexuality at once animal and regal. Transcending our overexposure to sexual imagery, leather whispers a deeper philosophy, reminding us that power is key and King.
Leather is in the cool zone that’s just outside the behaviour box. We are not in Kansas anymore. Not in San Francisco.
We are deep in the other, far older place. The quiet, subversive and historically deviant British subconscious. A subspace of aesthetics, of class and control, the source of many shades of creativity, where power dressing still rules. The smell of leather urges us to peek again behind that black door where servants are masters and revolution and anarchy reside.
Unlike the folly of latex, youthfully elastic but perished within months, leather abides.
Leather gets better with age.
With sparkly come-hither Xmas windows the High Street beckons. Look how they've made it nice for us, they want us to look really pretty and on trend.... or do they...
High Street clothes are made as quickly as possible, with every corner cut, profit is the driving force behind every stitch. Marketed to be quickly used and disposed of, these throw away clothes give ever-higher profits to the big fashion chains who feed on this wasteful and cyclical and cynical consumption pattern. We are all positively encouraged to buy cheap one off pieces, weekly or daily, and then purge our wardrobes every season, it's International Fashion Bulimia by any other name.
But, let's be very clear about this, fast fashion isn’t really about speed, but greed: selling more, making more money, with time, labour, and natural resources are neglected in the pursuit of maximum profits.
Within corsetry, the market is saturated with cheap satin corsets from China, and leather corsets from India. And these corsets are all over Ebay, and all over those cheap corset shops, and women's sex shops.
Yet the satin or leather in super-cheap, ‘value’ or fast fashion corsets is no quicker to make or use than any of my corsets, and it takes just as long to sew, and cut. So how do they get such low prices?
Well, short lead times and cheap clothes are only made possible by exploitation of labour and natural resources. Sweat shops, pesticides, pollution, child labour and animal cruelty are just some examples of how fast fashion chains and, by extension, retailers maintain their high profit margins on the super cheap stock that they sell.
Yet it doesn’t have to be this way.
We can design a different system for ourselves that makes money while respecting the rights of workers and the environment, and produces beautiful and conscientious garments.
Slow fashion is about designing, producing, consuming and living better.
Slow fashion is not time-based but quality-based.
Slow is not the opposite of fast – there is no dualism – but a different approach in which designers, buyers, retailers and consumers are more aware of the impacts of products on workers, communities and ecosystems.
Before you go out and buy brand new outfits, have a quick look at the Three point Slow Fashion checklist:
1. Turn your back on mass produced fashion (AKA "Fast-Fashion" or "McFashion") by buying from local designers, artisans and second hand shops. You'll be supporting small local business.
2. Choose sustainable clothing made with sustainable fabrics, ethically made and built with love to last a lifetime. Disposable clothes - the whole idea is being sold to us so that we buy more. More items, more often.
3. Choose quality garments that will last longer, transcend trends (a "classic" style), and are repairable.
Clothes are for life, not just for Christmas.
The difference between the two is that Bespoke items also include a series of fitting toiles to get a perfectly tailored garment, whereas Made to Measure items miss out the fitting process, and are instead made straight from your instructions.
Not all items need to be bespoke fit. Made to Measure is perfect for small things like undies, suspender belts, bras, many skirts and some underbust corsets. Ask Jules for advice if you are unsure.
Our made to measure range offers a slightly quicker, less expensive alternative as sometimes that's all that's needed.
We know that it’s not possible for everyone to get to our studio, in which case our bespoke service runs as follows:
Upon ordering, we'll send you a list of measurements to take at home which we'll use to make your personal pattern.
If you need help when taking measurements then Jules is only a phone call or email away.
Then we make your first fitting toile (a white cotton replica of your order) for you to try out in the comfort of your own home, or here at the studio.
It comes with a small checklist of things for you to look through, and some pins and pens for marking the toile.
You report back to us via email any alterations you wish.
It's a real help if you can send digital pictures with your instructions so that we can see in detail, how the toile fits you.
You are not on your own at this stage, Jules is always available by phone to help with your fitting.
You send the marked up toile back to us, we alter the paper pattern and send a new fitting out to you.
We would expect the following timeframes
underbust corsets 1-2 fittings
skirts 1-4 fittings
overbust corsets, trousers, jackets, aria corsets, wedding dresses, cocktail dresses and catsuit's 2-6 fittings
Only when you are entirely happy will we cut your final piece.
For those of you who would like the luxury of your own personal corsetiere, or you simply don't relish the idea of measuring at home we offer a full Atelier service, inclusive for bespoke clients. This is Jules preferred method of work, as there's no beating a skilled hand and eye during the fitting process.
Those of you using the Bespoke Service are most welcome to make an appointment to visit the studio at ANY stage to have your toile fitted personally by Jules. It's not compulsory to visit the studio, we can do it all by mail and internet, but it can be helpful to plan in some visits.
Small Items of Underwear: We've drawn up our own pattern blocks for these, and still cut each piece individually as ordered, so it's easy to tweak the fit for you.
You tell us of any special fitting instructions you want. In practice, we will always fix any problems with a finished item if it doesn't fit you perfectly.
For larger items:
We'll send you a list of measurements to take at home and a diagram, it's all really straight forward and should be easy - you'll need a friend to help you take the measurements. We will use these measurements to make your personal paper pattern.
If you need help when taking measurements then Jules is only a phone call or email away. Because we make each item to your measurements, we can not be held responsible for any mistakes you may make. But, in practice, if we spot a measurement that looks suspect we will always contact you to check
Please phone for your appointment on 0117 9851488 or 0781 7369221, or text or email, or drop us a line and Jules will phone you back.