Originally published 17/07/2018
Once purely reserved for the realms of kink and fetish, latex is increasingly becoming more mainstream as a material. However, as clothing goes, it is quite a high-maintenance material that needs plenty of care and attention if you are to get the best out of it. In this post I will give you some easy to follow tips on how to care for your latex, as well as an insight into the interesting history of latex fashion.
Latex is a natural material, derived from rubber trees. These are tapped for their sap, which then becomes the waterproof "second skin" that runs rampant at fetish events nowadays. The specific climate required for rubber trees to grow in means that most latex is harvested in either South America or India.
In South America people have been using latex for thousands of years. The Mayas and Amazons used to dip their feet in it to create waterproof shoes, and there is some evidence of them using it to creating bouncing rubber balls in order to play games similar to basketball.
In the Western World, latex was discovered with Christopher Columbus' arrival on what we now know as the American continent. However, it wasn't used in clothing until 1823 when a Scottish man names Charles Macintosh discovered a means to coat fabric with latex, later developing the famous Mackintosh Coat. These designs would go on to develop a cult following in the fetish community, particularly after World War II brought more awareness to the many uses and appeals of latex as a material.
Even after this, and the incorporation of latex fashion into the punk movement by designers like Vivienne Westwood, latex fashion never infiltrated the mainstream. Flash forward almost 50 years, however, and we now have the likes of Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid, and Beyoncé flaunting their curves in shiny latex.
It's not difficult to understand the appeal of the fabric, which acts a second skin, perfectly laying against the body and accentuating all its best parts. For the wearer, it helps enhance sensation as well as just generally making you feel like a badass superhero.
However because of its rubber texture, latex requires a dressing-aid, as well as a polish in order to maintain its shine. Products like Rubba Shine and pjur CULT are specially formulated for these purposes. But in a pinch, silicone lubricant is very effective for both uses.
When your latex isn't being worn, it should be stored away from sunlight and extreme temperatures as these can degrade the natural material. Metal is another thing to avoid as it tarnishes latex, particularly black latex. There are also special powders which can be applied to latex going into storage in order to prolong its lifetime.
If your latex should ever need washed, it can simply be wiped clean, or briefly submerged in a tub of cold to warm water mixed with a mild soap.
With all of these tips there is no reason why your latex shouldn't last a great deal of time. It's a really wonderful and unique material, so I can promise that all of this effort is well worth it! And if you really can't be bothered? There's always Datex.