Differences between fetish fabrics
Differences between fetish fabric types: Several different fabrics can be classified as fetish: leather, latex, vinyl, pvc, fur, spandex, lycra, and more. Any fabric that mankind has taken and associates with in a sexual would be classified as a fetish fabric.
For the purpose of this article we will address the textiles that fall into the “shiny” fetish category, as these are the ones that most people have trouble distinguishing. Patent Vinyl, leather, vinyl, pvc, latex – they are all shiny seductive fabrics. What is the difference between them?
Leather: Leather is the most well known of the shiny fabric types. It comes in a variety of finishes from matte to more glossy. Typical uses are jackets, pants, chaps, and vests. Some lingerie is made from leather, but due to the thicker guage and rougher texture, most designers opt for either faux leather or another textile for lingerie.
Latex: Latex is the least well known shiny fabric out of the group. Due to the recent popularity of vinyl and spandex leggings, which have been branded as “latex”, many mainstreamers have no idea that latex is actually latex rubber. If you’ve ever touched a condomn, then you have experienced latex. Garments made from latex are made from the exact same thing as condomns, except that the thickness is greater.
We cannot tell you how many times we’ve overheard or read other people referring to vinyl or shiny spandex as “latex”. This is incorrect. True latex has no fabric backing and is 100% rubber. This makes the experience of wearing latex quite different from anything else. Tight fitting garments literally conform to the body, don’t breathe much, and can rip if not treated carefully. To get that really high gloss shine, one must use a silicone based lubricant or treatment to shine up the material.
Latex requires the greatest amount of maintenance. Sunlight, exposure to metals, chemicals, and certain oils and degrade or discolor the latex. Further, latex has a tendency to degrade faster than other textiles. Drying out and cracking can occur if left in a very dry environment, and over time the tendency to rip may become greater if not cared for. Our personal experience with latex is that if kept in a dark container at a normal temperature it will last for at least 4-5 years.
We recommend showering with your latex garment after wearing it to remove any environmental contaminants and oils from your skin. While in the shower you can use bar soap to massage the garment and then rinse it. Hang it up for a day and then put it back in storage.
PVC / Vinyl: PVC and vinyl are interchangeable words to describe any type of fabric that has a plastic-type shiny coating on either a polyester or spandex backing. Vinyl fabric ranges anywhere from table cloth vinyl with high flocking backing (not used for fetish clothing), 2-way stretch vinyl and high quality 4-way stretch vinyl.
Recently there as been some talk from environmentalists that “PVC” fabric is carcinogenic. These people are referring to a chemical known as polyvinylchloride and it is not used in fetish fabrics. Almost all pvc / vinyl fabric used in the clothing industry is made from a polyurethane compound, which does not have the harmful characteristics of polyvinylchloride. Many fetishists consider pvc to be inferior to latex and it has even been referred to as a poor mans latex. However, the qualities of pvc should not be overlooked. It does not require any shining to get that high gloss look, does not rip due to the fabric backing, cannot be stained as easily as latex, and is much easier to care for generally.
Four-way stretch vinyl has characteristics similar to latex. It has about the same amount of stretch as a .4mm or .5mm guage latex, is a tiny bit thinner than the 2-way stretch vinyl, and can be used for making just about anything.
Patent Vinyl: A subset of pvc, patent vinyl is thicker, typically has no stretch, and is used in anything from shoes to corsets. The general publish has confused pvc, patent vinyl, and latex to stand for any shiny high gloss material, and so it is not uncommon to hear of “patent vinyl pants, skirts, etc”. However, it would be unlikely to see such garments made from patent vinyl due to it’s thickness, lack of stretch, and the way it drapes.
Patent vinyl is also used as an upholstery fabric and the thicker guages are great for upholstering couches, chairs, bar stools, motorcycle seats, automobile interiors, and more.
We hope this article has been informative. Now you have no excuse to calling every shiny textile you see “pvc” or “latex”!