Sometimes hidden, often cloaked in secrecy, frequently using the web as a weapon, the new fetish gangs pose new threats to the overstretched and underfunded forces of natural law. And they have now gone international…
The Stags and Hens
A loose knit bunch but big in numbers, thankfully not organised. Unpredictable and operating in small cells, they can be daunting when they “steam” an event. Turning up, giddy with excitement, scared and elated, they know no rules and are frequently full of cheap drinks.
Eager to join the action like teenagers on their first day at Butlins, they can often be seen “dancing as they walk” or “clapping their hands and whooping” in a kind of “aren’t we crazy and all having fun together” manner.
Favourite designer for women is Anne Summers, and for men, inspiration comes from Rocky Horror and Clockwork Orange, with a thick skin and combat trousers as de rigeur accessories.
The Dinkys (Double Income No Kids Yet)
Mostly, but not always, heterosexual, the Dinkys operate in pairs. They are found at all types of club and fetish/BDSM events but are most noticeable at large international events, particularly in Germany. Easily spotted by their distinctive and obviously expensive couture latex outfits, they are often reclusive and they also tend to leave early.
It has been pointed out that even when covered head to toe, including full face masks, they frequently firmly reject any and all photographers. They also tend to communicate, seemingly telepathically, simply by staring at each other.
Their favourite designer would be anyone whose outfits are expensive, well made and striking.
The Rubber Dolls
Probably the most interesting of the new gangs and also the easiest to spot! With head-to-toe striking latex outfits that are part fashion and part costume, they blend body modification with full latex cocoon-style enclosure while eliminating gender, body shape and facial features.
Bright and cartoon-style or disturbing and sinister, their outfits, often inflatable in part or whole, are true fetish/OCBD/awesome and art on legs à la Leigh Bowery. Favourite designers — Libidex and a host of creative independents.
The Virtually Famous Facebook Models
There used to be a time when being a model meant that you had appeared in print or media, got paid for your time, had some kind of portfolio. Nowadays none of those things are necessary. Nowadays you just start a Facebook page and call yourself an international fetish model.
If these people can be bothered, they’ll maybe get a friend, or enthusiastic boyfriend, to take a few pictures with a camera phone. The essential thing is to get FB-friendly with lots of similar “models”, and maybe a few “burlesque performers”.
That way they can correspond online and big each other up, substantiating the virtual world they’ve created. Maybe friend some genuine photographers — “I may shoot with them soon” — or pose free-of-charge for a flyer for a vaguely alternative club night in a room above a pub in Newport Pagnell.
They only need to post a few pictures to be sure a bevy of online, real-life friendless stalkers will tell them how cool, sexy and talented they are — some may even send pictures of their genitalia. Favourite designer — anyone who can get them on the guestlist in return for modelling free of charge.
In the past few years, Japanese rope bondage has become increasingly popular as both performance and participation pursuit. In most countries where fetish/BDSM events are held, you will likely find several skilled proponents of rope bondage. Within this collection you will find members of The Shibaris.
On first sight you may assume they are Japanese. They may be wearing traditional Japanese dress and may well be surrounded by Japanese calligraphy, objects or artefacts. But closer inspection will almost certainly reveal that they are more likely English, German, Spanish or American.
I suppose it’s somewhat similar to the phenomenon of kids on UK housing estates wearing caps and hoodies with the logos of US sports teams when they don’t even know what sport the team plays. Or, the reason why middle class kids forsake their educated diction to speak in a mixture of gangsta speak, patois and text speak — innit bro?
Maybe they should have been born in Japan but some cruel twist of fate saw them arrive on earth in the wrong geographical location? Whatever the reason, at most large European and American events you will now almost certainly find a Shibari. Favourite designer: Yohji Yamamoto?
Maybe The Shibaris should have been born in Japan but some cruel twist of fate saw them arrive on earth in the wrong geographical location