The Leather Laboratory
“We are a sex positive brand – and love sharing our designs with the world.”
The name speaks for itself. In alchemistic fashion, charismatic couple Will and Jenn have mixed pure leather and kinky ideas in their Leather Lab to bring their own spin on BDSM lingerie and accessories. It helps that these two have known each other for twenty years as it has clearly enhanced the chemistry between them, the by-product of which is an imaginative home-made collection catering to all levels of fetish through their business The Leather Laboratory (The Leather Lab).
“Building and running TLL is a dream come true for us,” one half of the couple, Jen, told TLJ. “We are a sex positive brand – and love sharing our designs with the world.”
Already filled with love for dressing up apparel and sexy design, the couple, who operate out of Northern Ireland, insists that it’s more a case of The Leather Lab finding them rather than vice versa. Their personal and work interests seemed to morph naturally into the desire to create something that fused these two elements of their lives.
“Having both worked in costume for film and TV for the last six years, we are so lucky to be around some of the world’s most fascinating and inspiring fantasy costumes and designs,” Jen informed on their behalf. “If anything being a part of bringing these gorgeous designs to life, just fed our desire to design and create something wonderful- all of our own.”
His talent of sketching pin up characters with nuances towards the femme fatale, especially inspired Will towards bringing to life these feminine fantasies in a way that still very much stimulates the interest of the modern woman through keeping femininity at the core.
“We noticed a gap in the market for pretty, feminine handmade luxury leather BDSM accessories and lingerie,” Jen from the entrepreneurial couple explained. “We wanted to step away from mass produced black leather straps and bring some love, colour and attention to detail back to the industry.”
Despite the hardened visuals of belted collars and at times rustic leather look, The Leather Lab does mix in softer touches into its lingerie to buffer what can often appear to be quite domineering pieces of apparel.
Speaking of their choice of fabrics, designer Jen stated, “We love to mix soft, gentle textiles like lace,or suede against the harder, thicker leather. We love the contrast of these materials together, and think they work so well together. We always aim to make our lingerie striking and beautiful.”
And pieces are designed to parade the female figure making a woman feel that she has power in the contours of her anatomy.
“When designing our pieces, we are always thinking about our clients, and how they will feel when they are wearing our lingerie. We know our attention to detail shows and helps build and nurture both sexual and body confidence,” Jen expressed. “We see ourselves as a fashion forward fetish brand, and always focus on flattering and enhancing the natural shape and curves of the body.”
As imaginative as Will and Jen are, the Irish duo don’t necessarily look towards any specific artistic muse, individual or era, to continuously mentally generate material for their products. In fact, what’s probably more the case, is that their vision for their work is complex.
“We enjoy so many different forms of art it would be tricky to pinpoint specific influences. Who knows where these ideas come from; we’ve learned to trust our own judgements, whilst gratefully acknowledging that so many people, places and periods have influenced our style,” Jen said of the daring duo. “We are open to playing with style and love to push our own boundaries with design.”
However, she did drop hints as to where lies some of the poignant influences underpinning their work.
“I’d say we are influenced by burlesque culture and the beautiful female form in general,” Jen conceded.
The Leather Lab merchandise is created in Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland and the couple recently relocated to more generous surroundings to accommodate a surge in business.
“We recently moved to a beautiful countryside bungalow, not far from the city where we have a new spacious workshop,” Jen boasted of their new space. “The views are beautiful and we love how light and bright the new workshop is! We feel so grateful to get to do what we love in such a remote, pretty and inspiring setting.”
Love for their setting also translates into love for the material upon which they have built their brand, as the couple have respect for the leather which comprises their lingerie product.
“Our leather is all ethically sourced as a by-product of the food industry,” Jen informed. “We treat it with a natural conditioner and hand massage each hide before we turn it into lingerie.
“We try not to waste a single piece, and have recently launched a bohemian jewellery range to help us re-use all the off cuts from our lingerie. We just couldn’t bear the thought of these beautiful off cuts ending up in a landfill – so now they are pretty earrings and cute rings.”
Will and Jen enjoy working with leather because of its pliability and durability when handled in a loving manner. Describing what it’s like to employ such a valuable textile, Jen explained,
“Leather is such a beautiful material to work with – and we know that as our clients wear and love the leather, it will love them back by softening and taking the natural shape of their movements and bodies. It’s comfortable, strong, and pretty, and if it’s stored well, and looked after, will last for a lifetime. This season we’ve chosen to use luxury quality Italian leather.”
The standout piece of the collection is the Leather Fetish Lingerie set which consists of skirt and open bra, a piece which just happens to be one of the couple’s favourite ensembles.
“We wanted to add a playful vibe to our collection – as ultimately fantasy and play is the heartbeat of the fetish industry,” Jen told TLJ.
Fusing their ideas on what the fetish set should look like, the couple developed a product that they both adore which they intended to celebrate the uncovered female form. The harness bra gives a naked look from behind and the buckles under bust are adjustable and therefore can give a few different looks depending on the wearer’s preference.
A peek-a- boo leather skirt lends to the mischief of the set.
“We wanted to team the bust harness with something soft and feminine which is when we came up with the spanking skirt. We’ve kept the raw leather edge on the suede, and I love the shape and cut of this skirt upon the body. Since we launched this set just a month or two ago it’s quickly become one of our most popular items,” Jen explained of the pair’s hero piece.
“We do a lot of pre work on the leather before a cut is even made. Depending on the detail of the item it can take a day or up to three in some cases,” Jen informed of the talented twosome’s work.
“As we hand dye everything, we like to build our colours in layers, which gives us a lot of control over tone and shades. For [the] sample skirt, we’ve gone for a dark black although the skirt panels are available in a variety of colours. Before each item is officially finished, we apply more conditioner, and depending on the customer’s request we shine and polish the garment, or leave it with a matt finish.”
The couple want the end result to be that positive emotions and reactions to their products are evoked in each customer that seeks out the fetish fashion offered by The Leather Lab.
“We are all about our clients here at TLL,” Jen explained. “We are constantly thinking of how our clients will feel when they receive their parcel and try on their lingerie for the first time. We want them to feel, empowered, free, sexy, confident, excited, spoiled, flattered, celebrated, adored, lost and found.
“We love the idea of our clients falling in love with their own bodies again and seeing themselves in a sexy light. That’s what we’ve been aiming for all along.”
And customers and brand fans can experience and enjoy the uniqueness of the merchandise as just about everything is made to order at The Leather Lab and looks can be mixed and matched depending on individual taste and demand.
Will and Jen welcome the possibility and challenge of making exclusive pieces for their clientele.
“We are really proud to offer a wide variety of custom options,” Jen told TLJ. “One of our most popular items is a personalized leather spanking paddle. Our clients get to customize the name that is hand tooled into the paddle face and the font and colour they would like.
“We hand dye everything so we are really flexible with colour. Often our clients would send us a colour reference pic or scheme, which we colour match. We also offer ombres, colour fades and hand painting.
“Will is a really talented artist and can hand carve or tool almost any picture, symbol or words into the leather. We love working on custom orders, and bringing our clients designs to life. Seeing their visions can be so inspiring, and a great insight into what the fetish industry wants and loves.”
But despite their commitment to the individual needs of their patrons, the couple is not opposed to cornering a greater market share through wholesaling their products to interested parties.
“We have lots of wholesale items available,” Jen revealed, “and are very open to working closely with retailers to help create products they’ve been searching for.”
It’s certainly obvious that this creative couple is determined to become the king and queen of kink.
For more information on The Leather Laboratory contact Will & Jen at: