Amber: Eustratia seems to be doing something different from what’s already on the latex market. What is your vision for it and what are you striving to create?
Stacey: Though latex clothing has gained popularity over the last few years and a lot of brands have been concerned with the more fashionable aspect of it, I felt like a lot of the designs still looked slightly dated and also that a lot of them featured similar style lines.
Through this brand I would like to experiment with new techniques, fusions and silhouettes, proving that latex garments can be just as versatile as fabric garments and that there is no need for them to be confined to the bedroom/fetish club, nor any excuse for them to be limited in style.
I enjoy dramatic pieces that tell a story. I would like to retain as much of this drama as possible while still making wearable garments.
I currently offer mixed ranges of both intricately detailed or extravagant and stylishly simple garments at very accessible prices. I chose this approach in an attempt to make the feel of the collections accessible to customers of varying budgets.
Ultimately, I aim to split the brand into two labels. One for the more elaborate, influence-specific pieces, commissions and couture work, the other for wearable accessible fashion that still communicates my current vision but in a more pragmatic, down-to-earth manner.
A: Can you tell us something about your fashion background?
S: I studied a BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Technology at Manchester Met. and worked as a womenswear designer for Cyberdog for a year. I had been working with latex for about a year-and-a-half when I decided I was ready to set up my own label.
A: What made you decide to take up making latex rather than fabric clothing?
S: Since first seeing latex clothing when I moved to the UK in the summer of 2004, it has fascinated me. I have known how fabric clothing was put together from a very early age as my grandmother worked as a seamstress, and I considered latex clothing a challenging new variable that just had to be conquered.
Apart from that, there is always the underlying fact that I love the feel of it and also, believe it or not, some logic!
‘My final collection for university was a combination of fabric and latex garments and I will eventually expand my brand to create both’
After leaving university with a huge amount of debt and only ten percent more change of finding a job than anyone who hadn’t bothered, it seemed like a better idea to start out doing something I could manage in a small space and without the expensive machinery or outsourcing required for fabric clothing.
Having said that however, my final collection for university last year consisted of a combination of fabric and latex garments and I eventually plan to expand my brand to create both. One of the projects I am planning for the near future is a basics range involving printed tops and t-shirts.
A: Where do you find inspiration for your clothing?
S: A lot of my inspiration comes from images, both mental and physical. I feel kind of bad saying that a lot of it comes from things I see online nowadays. Travelling is always good as well. I always feel inspired when I visit new places and it could be by the most insignificant object or just the feel of a place.
A recurring theme that always seems to lie at the core my work is that of opposites and contradictions. Light and dark, past and future, delicate and deadly…
A: Would you agree that the line between latex fetish and latex fashion is becoming thinner, or are they two separate things for you?
S: Personally, I can’t imagine a world where the two are mutually exclusive. If we are talking solely with regards to the clothing side of it though, I do believe that traditional fetish clothing has a different focal point to the more fashionable latex items that are currently emerging from every corner.
The first aims mostly to enhance feelings and the second appearance. Credit is due to those who combine the right elements to achieve both.
A: In many ways this has widened the market for latex. Who do you see your latex appealing to?
S: It has indeed. I hope my range of items is wide enough to attract a few different types of customer. Primarily, I see my work appealing to individuals who already posses a certain confidence and love of strong looks.
However, I have tried to include a few softer pieces to help entice those less certain. I offer as many customisation options as possible in order to aid each of my customers in finding their perfect outfit.
I would love to see more people wearing latex, especially in situations you wouldn’t expect it. So far I have made four people their first latex garments so I suppose I’m not doing too badly.
A: What can we expect to see in your fashion show at Torture Garden on April 9?
S: I will be showing the Dryad collection, with the addition if three surprise outfits that have not yet been published.
The show will loosely revolve around the narration of a fantasy forest scene and will involve some ballet. I don’t want to give too much away in advance though, so those interested should come down and see the show!
‘I’d love to see more people wearing latex. So far I have made four people their first latex garments so I suppose I’m not doing too badly’