Fetish Fashion and Its Origins

From leather to latex and many other materials, fashion plays an essential role in the fetish community. But, do you actually know where it all originated?

Fetish fashion is created to trigger lust by specific pieces of clothing. If you are someone who is interested in BDSM events and lifestyle, it’s more than likely that such fashion grabs your attention. Just looking at such clothes makes you marvel at all the possibilities because they are completely impractical and worn only with one thing in mind.

Where the fetish fashion originated?

While some designers and the punk movement brought the fetish look to mainstream in recent history, fetish fashion took roots a long time ago. Over 200 years ago, the writers such as Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and Marquis De Sade, brought alternative sexualities to the spotlight. It’s not surprising that the terms masochism and sadism were named after them.

We can read about the use of leather whips and cat o’ nine tails in The 120 Days of Sodom by de Sade and also in Venus in Furs by Sacher-Masoch who described a goddess Venus from quite a kinky perspective. Later on, in the 1950s, Marlon Brando who wore leather in The Wild One contributed to this material being viewed as highly erotic. Military uniforms also became fetishized and created some of the most iconic symbols of the alternative culture.

The materials and meanings of fetish fashion

For BDSM people, the feel and look of a fabric are quite important and a part of the lifestyle. The materials used in BDSM fashion have different meanings.


Leather is extremely sexy and definitely plays a huge role in subcultures, from bikers to punks. It draws attention to the body while also conceals it at the same time. Those who don’t want to wear it can enjoy leather whips and restraints.  


Spandex or latex can make any person look like a sexy porn star. It is a staple of BDSM fashion and an important part of various designs, such as harnesses and catsuits. It all began when this material was used in gloves and gas masks, so it’s not surprising that all of these items have since become a part of the kink.

Fetish fashion and its effect on sexuality

Fashion helps people feel more confident in their sexuality and create a new persona. Numerous women feel empowered by choosing the right clothes and putting on makeup, as they get closer to becoming what they want to be.

Such fashion is symbolic. It helps us enter the role for certain BDSM hookups and even makes us feel like an uninhibited sexual demon.  

Mainstream reaction to fetish fashion

Some of the designers that brought sadomasochistic chic to the light include Vivienne Westwood, Gianni Versace, and Jean Paul Gaultier. The latter experimented with kinky imagery in his designs and coined the notion of underwear as outerwear.

These designers focused on the best parts of BDSM culture, which include the appreciation of everything that is different.