Tag Archives: San Francisco

Rant: Folsom Street Fair 2013

Leather harnesses: leather harnesses everywhere.

I ran into my good friend Jason, a gifted San Francisco stylist, at the end of my shift at the Dark Garden booth at the Folsom Street Fair, and so we took to the street arm in arm to enjoy the festivities.

A man in a cock ring and not much else struts by. “Those shoes are Balenciaga,” Jason whispers to me. “And that slutty secretary look over there,” pointing to a young girl in a pencil skirt and chrome slave collar: “designer.” I feel like I’m experiencing the directors commentary to the kinky fashion event of the year.

photo (18)
Photo by Bigguy, and featuring Anneka photo bombing.

We quip back and forth our praises and criticisms of the fashions of our Dionysian, hedonist, burner, political, and otherwise creatively empowered fellows. I feel free and comfortable in my G-string, thick knee high leather buckle boots, patent leather Dark Garden corset, thigh high stockings, spiked bra and collar. I rock a bun-hawk and the joke was that I was Miley Cyrus for the day (turns out that’s a fetish for some people).

Suddenly, jarringly, I hear a voice from the past ask if I went to <my high school>. To my awkward surprise, I turn to be face to face with one of my worst enemies …a square.

I detest those who show up to a party as if its a spectator sport. But there I was in full leather regalia suddenly faced with the awkward task of making small talk with some dude in khakis I had nothing in common with. What really gets my goat, in addition to the lack of effort, is the shameless admission of tourism: “I came from San Jose just to see the show!” Fuck. This. Noise.

I feel so blessed to live in San Francisco. Historically this city has enjoyed a critical mass of creatively empowered folk who love to party while making the world a better, more understanding place: from human rights activism to artist community communism. Unfortunately, just two days ago I heard the unsettling news that one of my favorite venues lost their lease. It seems that there has been a lot of changes in the SF subculture scene in the last decade, but I’d love to think the changes are evolution, not devolution. However, it seems that SF, with the influx of Googlers and tech-money, is running out of room for creatives; in fact pushing them out to make room. (Wouldn’t want to mar a glossy reputation with a little sin, now would we?)

This begs for a call to arms. Too many amazing spaces for creative expression have been compromised and shoved around in recent years to take it sitting down. There are those in a society who are consumers, and there are those who are movers and shakers: who step up to the plate and innovate experiences and environments for others to enjoy. There are many, many roles to aid this design into fruition, however. Legal, zoning, fire marshall issues, interior design, talent and/or volunteer coordination, contractor labor, fundraising, marketing outreach, branding… In order for these communities to stay alive and thriving, this is a crucial moment to ask: how can I contribute in an impactful and sustainable way?

What does this manifesto have to do with corsetry, some of you might be asking. Well, corsetry is different things to many people. Some are brides, looking for shape wear or a dress bodice. Some are scoliosis patients looking for pain relief. Some are endowed ladies looking for bust support. Some are fashionistas, making a statement through aesthetic and silhouette. But to me and my kind, it’s an expression, sensation, and signifier of leather subculture.

Mainstream fashion incorporated the corset for many centuries, up until the 1920’s, when empowered young women wanted boxy boyish figures and short locks. In presenting this image, they eschewed femininity and presumably likewise, the turn-of-the-century definition of lady-like behavior. Corseting came back into main stream fashion in the 1950’s with Dior’s “New Look”, a fit-and-flare style that featured a tiny waist and an extravagant amount of fabric in the skirt — in celebration of the abundance suddenly allowed at the end of the Second World War.

But subculture folk never stopped wearing corsets. Literally compelled by a force greater than the mind, corsetry means more than fashion and weddings. It’s not a trend, it’s an obsession spanning centuries, and in some cases a signifier of camaraderie.

I guess I’m calling forth the camaraderie.

Photo by RJ Johnson.


Euphrates X

Tightlacing Liaison | Expert Fitter

Dark Garden Unique Corsetry


A Word on Exercise

I look like I work out. 

At least that’s what my love said last night in amazement after I took off my corset. “Your stomach looks incredible,” he added. He’s always loved my ever-increasingly curvaceous form, but this flat belly thing is an added benefit. It’s true, some ladies wear corsets after giving birth so that their tummy muscles will stitch back together nice and flat — and some women I see in the shop bemoan that they wish they had. It’s the opposite result of tight, low-rise jeans that give that pouchy muffin-top belly: the clothes you wear habitually will shape your body.

I don’t work out. 

The most exercise I get is power-walking up San Francisco hills to my car (bad city parking makes for good glutes) and maintaining balance in heels on long evenings out. My liver is probably completely comprised of fat and scar tissue because I drink far too much (according to doctors, pfffft) and seeing as The Fatted Calf Charcuterie is right around the corner from Dark Garden, my diet is rich in rich delicacies such as rillettes and truffled cheeses — between the exquisite food and the handsome yet sensitive butchers breaking down whole animals right before my eyes with artful mercilessness, the total visceral package is too much to forgo. #viscerallunch

I really should work out. 

Sure, exercise is good for the general population of humans, but even more so for waist trainers. Because a corset is a posture device, it holds you up and therefore it’s essential to get some exercise out of your corset for the preservation of your core muscle group. Jogging, swimming, and hiking are good: whole body exercises that activate all of the core muscles (and not just part of them, like sit ups). Pilates, yoga, whatever works for you! A few to several times a week is ideal.

So, maybe I’ll think twice before ordering a large Belgian fry and a beer, thinking I can just stuff it all into a corset instead of exercising. Remember, it’s not about getting skinny, it’s all about the curve, but we don’t want to get weak and floppy like a wet noodle in the process, do we? That’s no way to kick ass.

LOVE, Euphrates X