Latex clothing is clothing which is made from the latex milk (sap) of a particular type of rubber tree (habea brasillensis). The material produced by this sap has unique mechanical and aesthetic properties, which give latex clothing a very distinctive appearance and feel.
Latex in itself is the sap of a tree, and thus it is of plant origin. However, during the manufacturing process, latex sheeting is sometimes prepared with various additives of animal origin. It is possible to do without them though, and some manufacturers do. So the answer to this question is it depends. It’s best to check with the brand you are buying from that their latex is vegan (ours is!).
Latex clothing is glued, and not sewn. The surface is prepped with chemicals, and then a new chemical bond is formed at each seam. The process of gluing seams requires great manual dexterity which is learned over many years of practice.
Also, a great familiarity with specialised patternmaking is required in order to take advantage of the particularities of the material.
I have written a detailed answer to this here, but the short story is that a) latex itself is an expensive material to procure and b) making latex clothes is very labour intensive and requires great expertise. Thus latex clothing is most often made in an atelier setting and by experienced craftspeople, which explains the higher price-tag.
Also, the chemicals involved in the manufacture of latex clothing are quite harsh and make it into a hazardous working environment, which has to be further accommodated and compensated.
The million dollar question. Why do anything, really? The long and short of it is that latex clothing looks and feels unlike anything else. It has to be experienced to be understood. It is also extremely flattering, because it applies an even amount of pressure all over and thus smooths one’s figure visually. If the aesthetic and feel of it appeal. It is quite easy for the wearing of latex clothing to quickly become an obsession.
Unique. Incredible. Tight.
The everyday experience of wearing other clothes simply does not suffice to prepare you for the first time you put on latex clothing.
There is a feeling of evenly distributed pressure and support. It can be uncomfortable for some, but those who like it find it incomparable to anything else.
It is also extremely figure-flattering, and so can be very empowering.
With some difficulty, it must be said. Detailed instructions of how to dress in latex can be found here. The general idea is to go slow, keep the latex garment from forming a vacuum with your skin while you are still adjusting it, and making sure all the seams are in the right place as you go. If you put it on slightly warped, it’s best to undress and start again rather than trying to pull the latex into compliance, as it might rip.
Patience and lubrication are the key virtues to pursue here.
Detailed instructions for cleaning latex clothing can be found here. Soak in lukewarm water, with a very small amount of mild detergent such as dish-washing liquid. You may gently rub with your fingers, but as the material is largely non-porous all the dirt just sits at the surface and will dissolve after a short time of being immersed in the detergent soup. Rinse very well, making sure absolutely all traces of soap are gone. Drip dry only, on a non-metal hanger
Detailed instructions for shining latex clothing can be found here. Use a product specifically for this purpose, and follow the instructions provided with your product of choice. For example, to use silicone-based polish with the immersion method: 1) put enough water in a bowl/ sink to narrowly cover your garment 2) put a small amount (roughly one teaspoon per medium sized garment) into the water 3) Swish your garment around until it is evenly covered in polish. You’ll know. 4) Drip dry only, on a non-metal hanger
Detailed instructions for storing latex clothing can be found here. First follow the cleaning steps. After the garment is completely dry both inside and out, dust it liberally with talcum powder until it is evenly covered and not sticking to itself anywhere. Store it away from sunlight and all other ultraviolet light. If opting to store folded, avoid folding it in two directions and forming corners, as these can cause permanent creases. It is better to roll your garment, or to hang it inside a garment bag instead.