First Published: April 2004
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.
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 available.
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 ageing clientele?

"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.

"Good leathers 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 for online orders and details of retailers.


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