So, Lee Harrington has a podcast about leather and spirituality (yeah, yeah, that totally narrows it down), in which he says “It’s called a fetish for a reason” with regards to the power/symbolism with-which we imbue certain fabrics (leather, rubber, as just a couple of examples).
I tend not to wear my leather skirts to Any Old Event. I wear them almost-exclusively to kink-related events (with some added queer events thrown in because Representing). Part of this is, honestly, because my leather clothes are not that comfortable. They’re fine, as clothes go, but they tend towards pencil skirts and corsetry, which means they’re not the best for every-day Getting Things Done wear.
None the less, the idea of clothing as Objects of Power and Place, is both (a) a thing that gets me thinking, and (b) something that has resonated with me since my mid/late teens.
See, back when I was dressing my most gothically – complete with black lipstick and velvet everything, even on my most casual days – I still had what I thought of as “Regalia”. I think we all did. Our very best dress which – like leather garments, particularly gifted ones, in the Leather Community – were on par with full formal wear. When I dressed in that stuff, did my makeup all the way, added the extra, more cumbersome accessories (the finger armour, the rings connected to bracelets by delicate chains, the collars, the ear cuffs, the pony-falls and veils), I felt like I was putting on Full Ceremonial Dress: Regalia.
And – possibly because my leather clothes aren’t the easiest to move in, but also because I’m investigating Sacred Kink and Leather Woo more and more these days – I find myself wanting some sort of Ceremonial Garb. Something elegant and comfortable (and warm, but not oppressively so) that I can toss on to Formalize whatever I happen to be wearing (or not wearing) to this Ritual or that Leather Event.
I am making myself a shawl. Knitting it myself and, in a lot of cases (the shawl is, essentially, going to be a bunch of sewn-together scarves) hand-spinning the yarn as well. And, when I thing about this shawl, I see myself at Unholy Harvest. I see it fringed with bone beads and stone rings, soaking up all the sex-blood-desire energy – and also the home-phamily-tribe energy – of that time-outside-of-time world. I think about the way the colours I’ve chosen to spin together for my colourful stripes (a) are reminiscent of the bi pride flag, and (b) unexpectedly correspond to my own kinks (see: Hanky Code) in remarkably accurate ways: Purple. Maroon. Fuschia. Dark blue. Black. I didn’t pick them for those reasons – I picked them because they look good on me – but they work out that way anyway.
I think about the fact that wool – like leather – was once alive, came off the back of someone else, and that matters to me, that’s part of what makes it magical, makes it holy. I think about the fact that, as the creator of this object (on a number of different levels), I will be imbuing it was a lot of my own energy – and that effects the mindset that I try to hold while I’m working on it. Spin joyfully. Knit with love and certainty. That kind of thing. (Like making bread).
I think it’s that – the mix of magico-religious materials and the imbuing of an object with power and place – that make me think of this shawl as “kinky attire”. It’s “fetish” wear in the religious sense, and that’s carrying over (in multiple directions) to “fetish” wear in the bdsm/leather sense of the word.
Anyway. Thinky thoughts.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
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