Fetish, fashion and going out in Leeds
Johann, the founder of Leeds Fetishmen, describes his fetish gear, music on the scene, and how fetish groups are starting to venture into 'everyday bars'.
Fetish, Fashion and Going Out in Leeds
Interviewed by Ross Horsley
13 November 2019
INTERVIEWER: Will you tell us a little bit about the items of clothing that you’re wearing today?
JOHANN: Well, erm, I’ve thrown a few things on, this isn’t what I’d – I’d normally go for one or the other but there’s no reason why you have to, but I’ve got a leather waistcoat one of my friends in Manchester made for me, it’s – everything apart from the kilt is bespoke to me. So, yeah, I got this made by a friend over in Manchester, likewise... a, a company in Manchester made my hoodie top, and the kilt as I said, that actually came – very very complicated way, but from a clubwear manufacturer based out of Amsterdam, which I did a photoshoot for in Sitges, near Barcelona. And that’s how I came to wear a kilt, was doing a photoshoot in a beach – on a beach, in February, in Sitges. Luckily I was fully clothed; the models weren’t!
INTERVIEWER: [Laughs] Can you tell us a little bit about some of the other outfits that people you know wear?
JOHAN: There’s all sorts of – there’s some things – there’s a lot of gear that goes and points back to things like motorcycling. That’s definitely one of the big things. The other one’s sportswear; there’s a lot of guys that have things with three stripes on them. I won’t name which brand they’re mimicking, and definitely not official stuff! Through to... things where people take something a bit more unusual – definitely workwear’s always a, a key theme. I’ve seen guys in suits that are made out of rubber which often looks really good, it’s proper three-piece suits with shirt and tie, and that’s definitely – and cops are always a good one and, and, similar – other people, emergency responders [laughs] of various calls.
INTERVIEWER: So besides outfit and sort of fashion in a way, what other sorts of... cultural things would you connect with the identity? Like for example, is there a certain music that, that you might... listen to, or?
JOHAN: I think there’s some – there, there are a variety, I mean one of the things that in sort of more recent years there’s – Berlin Techno has definitely been associated with the rubber scene. I think there’s all sorts of cultural things that sit alongside; one of the big ones is each of the fetish communities has its own flag. There’s a leather flag, a rubber flag, and a pup flag. And we actually have our own flag just for our organisation as well, and behind us you’ll see the flags that we did recently to – related to 50 years since Stonewall. I think... rubber and leather have traditionally involved the seedier end of the market… darkened bars that go – you go down steps to get into. That’s definitely evolving, and I think one of the things I did learn from Manchester Rubbermen and they’ve definitely pushed that forward is, they go out into everyday bars, and they take fetish to the everyday punter and just go: ‘Look, here we are. We’re no different to you, we just wear clothes that’re a bit different.’ And we’ve done a little bit of that in Leeds, we’re still finding our feet and we’ll be moving into that hopefully in the new year but we’ve already been to Blayds several times, and to Viaduct.