With the liberalisation of laws affecting gay sex amongst consenting adults here in the
UK, products that used to only be on sale behind closed doors are now much more readily
Master U/Leatherbound are a company based in South London who specialise in the
highest quality leather and bondage gear, much of which can be made-to measure.
Such is their professional approach that they even provide advice on which osteopaths to consult should you
put your back out whilst on the sling.
OutUK's Adrian Gillan has been finding out
more about the Saville Row end of the world of leather.
The company was formed nearly five years ago when two leather aficianodos Master Uwe and David Barns
pooled their expertise to provide leather and bondage enthusiasts with products that would
enable them to pursue their desires in safety. Between them they have more than 22 years
experience in manufacturing and sourcing products of solid quality and the best craftsmanship.
Master Uwe says that only the highest quality leather is good enough for him.
"Only Aniline-tanned hides have individual markings and characteristics that show
off the leather's uniquely sexy and animal qualities. Our hides are Aniline-tanned, a
process which allows the leather to breathe and which preserves its full-grain structural
appearance and its so-called blemishes. No two skins are ever identical." he says without a
hint of irony.
For slings they look for strong military saddle leather, as used by the Household Cavalry, so they can sustain the heaviest
of sexual play, and players too I assume.
Whilst the company has an international reputation in the fetish world, they also
are highly respected in the mainstream leather industry too. "They're fascinated by
how we do things and the way our products work."|
Nevertheless for most gay men leather is
intimately associated with the cliched clone look of thirty years
ago memorably sent up by the Village People, so I wondered whether they are really serving an
"There is the classical leather look, serving guys who evolved in that period," says
Uwe. "However, there is also a new generation that mixes-and-matches. We are working on
both ends of the market."
But he believes that a desire for men to wear leather will
never disappear, "I reckon it's a part of our primeval human instincts and how Man
first dressed. Fur, leather or skin on skin has the feel of hunting and of safe refuge.
In truth, the leather fetish as we know it is probably more learned I think, but it
builds on this innate phenomenon, fuelled by media and social imagery.
are hard to find. They engage and connect you with your inner animal and with
the source animal - you almost literally feel its history so what you are in
contact with has not just started its life on a shop shelf." And like any fetish
it can grab your imagination. "The more you wear it and the more experiences you
have in it, so the more it grows on and to you. Its history enters your legs,
surrounds your ankles and binds your head!"
With a product range including slings, hoods, restraints and whips, safety is
plainly an issue for the newbie. "Unfortunately, there are many items on
the market that are dangerous or outright stupid. You should certainly stop if you're
feeling pins and needles in you limbs. And how can you relax into a scene when
there is discomfort from the equipment. Until you know what you're doing - less is more!"
Like all SM play, trust is an essential element and no-one advises getting involved
with someone you don't know well, and in all scenes a previously agreed codeword
to bring things to an end is essential.
Ultimately it's all about helping customers achieve sexual pleasure, so why does Uwe
think leather works so well? "Many things - the feel and smell of the material, the
thoughts and skills of the craftsman, your own imagination - bring out the best in
leather and help make it a turn on." Uwe's first experience was quite unexpected.
"It was a water-buffalo-upholstered BMW in 1985 at a car exhibition. I think I wet
myself when I got in the seat."
And how would he describe his typical client? "Happy!"
You can find MasterU/Leatherbound at Unit 226, 99-103 Lomond Grove,
London SE5 7HN. Callers by appointment only 0870 240 5737. Check out
their website at www.masteru.co.uk
for online orders and details of retailers.