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Latex Vs PVC: How Are They Different?

by Rachel Money on September 07, 2023
PVC or Latex, which one to choose? In our little pocket of the world, both are strong contenders for first place, and our customer base has been built around a love of these unique and innovative materials; each of which have a different allure, composition, and place in your wardrobe.
Where did Latex and PVC come from?

The wearing of Latex can be traced back to the early 20th century, when it was first used as a flexible and waterproof material, initially only for the practicality of it.

Since then, from the mid 1900’s, many started to embrace it as an alternative material in avant-garde fashion, and it gained a huge presence in the adult industry. In recent years, latex has evolved into a more mainstream and accepted material, going from the adult scene, to alternative subcultures and even making it onto the runway!

The likes of Astudo Kudo, Jean Paul Gaultier and Kim K x Thierry Mugler have brought latex well into public view, and it is beginning to lose a lot of the stigma previously associated with it.

PVC originally came about in the 19th Century for a variety of uses, however it wasn’t until the mid 20th century that people started to use it for clothing purposes.

Like latex it was primarily used for raincoats and outerwear, however due to its shiny finish and availability in vibrant colours, it quickly caught on with designers. The 60’s and 70’s saw the introduction of PVC into more mainstream clothing, and it remained popular in the background for many years, and popularity spiked again in the 1990’s.

Today with the rise of social media we see it appearing in all walks of life and making it onto the runway. Designers like Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen, and Gareth Pugh have embraced PVC, incorporating it into their collections to add a touch of futurism and drama.

How are they made?

Latex clothing is made from natural rubber, harvested from rubber trees. It starts its life as a sap, which is refined, and then has stabilisers, vulcanizing agents and pigments to it, as well as the occasional additional additive to improve its durability and elasticity.

From here it can either be used to make moulded latex items, or turned into sheets, which is what we use for most of our latex garments.

Our moulded latex gloves are made using the dipping process - a mould is made of the desired product, which is then dipped into a vat of liquid latex, and cured to reveal a final product, re-made in the exact same perfect shape each time.

The majority of our latex clothing is made from sheets, which our designers cut out by hand, and bond together, using a strong glue, to create the cutting edge pieces we are so proud of.

PVC is made by stitching together sheets of PVC coated polyester fabric to form garments. These sheets of fabric are made by one of two methods; the PVC can either be spread onto the base fabric using heavy rollers, which apply heat and pressure to bond the two materials together, or the base fabric can be dipped into a bath of liquid PVC and then heated to bond the materials.

Once the fabric has been created it’s time to cut out the patterns and sew the pieces together. PVC can be stitched much like any other fabric, and has much flexibility in the different styles of garments that can be created from it. Additionally it has a little stiffness to it when fresh, which means it can hold certain shapes (such as pleats) quite well.

Where do they fit in my wardrobe?

The glossy, second-skin nature of latex garments highlights the curves and contours of the wearer's body, creating an alluring and unique visual effect. The material's tight fit encourages a sense of confidence and empowerment, making it a popular choice for those who wish to celebrate their bodies and express their individuality.

Begin by investing in basic latex pieces like leggings, skirts, or bodycon dresses in neutral colours like black, red, or white. These versatile items can be mixed and matched with other wardrobe staples.

To make latex more suitable for daily wear, pair it with casual pieces in contrasting textures. For instance, pair latex leggings with an oversized sweater, or fur or denim jacket for a balanced and comfortable look.

Embrace the boldness of latex and wear it with self-assurance. When you feel confident in your outfit, it shows in your overall demeanour and makes the look work.

PVC is often associated with edgy and futuristic looks, but can add a unique touch to your outfits when incorporated tastefully, or you can dive right in with a head to toe look. A PVC belt, choker, or a pair of gloves can be great entry points. These accessories can elevate your regular outfits without being too overwhelming.

PVC pairs well with a variety of textures. For example, you can balance the glossy finish of a PVC skirt with a soft, knit sweater. This contrast creates visual interest and makes your outfit more wearable for daily activities.

If you’re going all in, experiment with makeup and hairstyles to complement your PVC outfit. Bold makeup or sleek, futuristic hairstyles can enhance the overall look and create some eye-catching visuals.

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