Its fashion is gripping the mainstream, so is the capital ready to embrace the kinky world of London Fetish Weekend?

Words Carol Driver

Having been championed by world-class designers on the catwalk during London Fashion Week, fetish wear will no doubt be making an appearance in high streets very soon. We’ve already seen Rihanna donning S&M gear for her latest video, while Lady Gaga often steps out clad in rubber outfits.

So when the likes of Marc Jacobs dresses Kate Moss in lace-up boots, followed by models wearing military caps, handcuff bangles and lace, you know it’s not long before the popular shops pick up the style.
However, ‘fetishism’ is more than just the odd bit of rubber or a PVC belt – it’s a way of life for some Londoners; flowing into their sex lives and their careers as well as being a pastime.

Hannah – who goes by the name Miss Absolute – has been involved in the fetish scene for about seven years. As well as being a professional dominatrix and studying a kink-related subject for a PhD, she is the co-ordinator of London Fetish Weekend, taking place between Sept 30-Oct 2.

So how did she get into the industry? “There are lots of indications from things I did when I was younger. Even down to school reports where teachers said my domineering character could be a little unnerving,” she says.
“It was part of my personality.”

For Hannah, fetishism isn’t just a fashion fad. “The essence of kink is more of a psychological tease rather than it just being ‘rubber’s the new thing and I’m wearing it’,” she explains.

Miss Absolute describes LFW as presenting a “Smörgåsbord of fetish”, with a line-up offering performances and events for all interest levels, held at various venues – from drinking cocktails and watching films to wandering a market selling sex toys and seeing a full-on bondage show complete with ‘gimp’ masks.

So will the easily offended find it shocking? “It’s different for everyone,” Hannah says. “For someone who’s interesting in dressing up, watching someone crawling around on their hands and knees might be shocking.
“Somebody you think is a woman going into the men’s toilets and whipping out their cock out might be shocking. Somebody who is dressed from head to toe in Lycra, so you can’t tell their gender, might be shocking.
Many people go along with a preconception, so it’s the antithesis of what they think is their fetish norm.”

Marnie Scarlett, a fetish and cabaret artist, will be performing her act Room 101-Relax for Pedestal – a female domination group – at the event. She’s keen not to give away too much, but reveals she will be clad from head to toe in latex.

“It’s quite an outrageous full medical-based performance. It’s an unbelievably big outfit with lots of rubber tubes and medical stuff going on – it has big inflatable boobs and a colostomy bag with blood and gore.

“It’s a little shocking but I do it with a bit of a wink, so there’s a sense of humour. So they’ll be like ‘what the fuck’ but be laughing at the same time.”

While it may sound scary to the uninitiated, Scarlett insists it’s “not my most extreme show”, but it might be too much for novices. Are you brave enough to watch?