Leather, PVC.......all materials we think of in terms of FETISH, in terms
of Alternative Sexualities, in terms of S&M. We visualize the Leather
Clad Master or the PVC & High Heeled Dominatrix.....and any number of
HUNDREDS of other images that resonate inside our sexual and sensual natures,
all linking these materials with something hiding in the shadows, something
deliciously taboo, something we Hunger for.
In Europe since the early 1990's the two worlds of BDSM and Fetish Fashion have been INTIMATELY linked. The very best of the S&M parties over there also had a concurrent clientele who took their appearance as much more than a side-dish of the evening. For these party-goers, it was not enough merely to swing a well-placed whip. It was a matter of Total Visual Stimulation as well. The collective force of multiple cultures -- England, Holland, Belgium, and Germany to name a few -- who placed such a high emphasis on Appearance whilst practicing their S&M was astounding. A precedent was set: the World of Public S&M was Classy -- the Etiquette of old was resurrected with Strict Dress Codes demanding that all who attended these parties Dress to Make Every Event SPECIAL.
No longer could anyone off the street walk through the door of a Fetish/S&M club simply to gawk. EVERY SINGLE PERSON who walked through the front door, even the voyeurs, were a part of the total experience. If you stood and watched, you also provided something to look at. Eye Candy became Universal, no matter where you looked.
Concurrent with the ubiquitous Eye Candy, the general arousal level of the crowd became equally feverish. Maintaining decorum and obeying a strict set of rules, the total immersion into this alternate world, like some underground party of the "fair folk" from ancient legend mixed with a techno-fetish of modern materials and designs, made each member of the crowd part of a synergy that could only be described as Transcendentally Erotic. Pheromones flew in these environments like the scent of a forest full of Night-Blooming Jasmine.
These were the environments in which I, Arcane, more or less "gained my Fetish wings." Although a practitioner of BDSM for years prior, my education in the world of Public BDSM parties and clubs began in the European Scene. Under the single umbrella term, "The Fetish Scene," the S&M danced intimately with the best in Fetish Fashion -- the two were practically inseparable. The Fetish Scene was INTENSE, it was SEXY beyond belief, it was HARDCORE, and it was so incredibly FASHIONABLE! People from ALL walks of life mingled together at these Fetish Events, from cafe' workers to Television Producers, from students to Millionaires. No one looked any further than your appearance and your personal Fetish, and everyone was equal in the Fulfillment of Their Fetish. A Spanish dominatrix with homes in three countries would joyously fulfill the desires of a young American masochist who otherwise lived in a squat. A top fashion designer would trade Fetish tales with a computer technician, both of them standing in head to toe rubber and oblivious to Vanilla conceptions of mixing with people "from the same walk of life." These were the parties of our dreams, where concerns of race, class, social standing and gender were completely subverted in these glorious celebrations of everyone's common bond -- Fetishism. No one stood aside as some obviously Vanilla gawker. It was an environment of fulfillment and fantasy.
When I returned to the United States in 1994, I was horribly disappointed to find the exalted feel of the European Fetish Scene almost completely lacking in America. Fetish Fashion was barely catching on, and those of us who dressed up for every Fetish & S/M event were the exception and not the rule. Yes, we had fun pursuing S&M to artistic levels, and yes our S&M was MUCH more in the open in cities like San Francisco, but something was DESPERATELY missing....something unifying, something spiritual, something Magic.
For several years I played in the U.S. Scene hoping and waiting for the European aesthetic to show up on our shores. I talked about the European Scene with a variety of people, some of whom didn't believe such a Scene existed, others who couldn't conceive of such an aesthetic succeeding in America. In October 1995, I spear headed a Dungeon party with all the Fetish elements of Europe. It was a hit and for months and months afterwards people approached us and asked when the next event was happening. We had proven that there was a contingent of Pervs who wanted their S&M mixed with a Strict Fetish Dress Code.
After talking with people for another year and a half and sorting out who I trusted, I spearheaded the creation of a club which was supposed to become entirely Fetish Fashion and S&M oriented called Masquerade. Unfortunately, due to bad choices in partners, who as time showed had not a clue what the European Scene was about, I decided to sever all ties with that club which was being railroaded by the others back into the abject mediocrity of typical American pseudo-fetish clubs. At that point I basically had two choices: forget about S&M ever successfully mixing with Strict Fetish Fashion at a regular club, or venture into the community and find out what people wanted. Were members of the Fetish community here in the San Francisco Bay Area really craving the European aesthetic as much as I was?
I sent out several online letters......and the response back was AMAZING! Dozens upon dozens of people wrote back saying they too were sad that Masquerade had turned sour, and that they totally supported my attempts to bring the European unification of Fetish and S&M to America. I was Inspired! The name INIQUITY popped into my head and I began writing a newsletter which I sent out on my own time specifically relating to the Union of Fetish Fashion and S&M. Next thing I knew people were writing to me in droves asking to be added to the INIQUITY mailing list after having INIQUITY NEWS sent to them by a friend. One positive reinforcement came in after another, and INIQUITY has since grown to become a series of INIQUITY-Sponsored parties, a name that gets people discounts and reduced admissions at Fetish shops and events all over the place, a huge e-mail newsletter reporting on Fetish Fashion & S/M globally, and as of November 22nd, 1998, San Francisco's first Truly European, Strict Fetish Fashion Dress Code, Serious S&M, Dance Club.
It is the goal of INIQUITY to promote and maintain the high standard of Europe here in America. Fetish Fashion is no longer the black sheep of fashion as designers like Mugler and Gaultier bring Fetish elements starkly into the face of the mainstream. Far too many so-called "fetish clubs" fail to grasp the intricacies of the Fetish Fashion-S&M connection, and continue to abuse the concept of Fetish Fashion in an attempt to create a freak show for their regular street clothes clad clientele. INIQUITY is DEDICATED to taking a stand against this abuse, not so much through confrontation, but rather by providing the Club, the environment, and the aesthetic where those of us who CRAVE the Fashion with our S&M, who CRAVE some Class with our Play, and who want to be SURROUNDED by like-minded individuals can come and feel as if they have stepped into Wonderland.
Our focus is exceedingly clear. Everything that has the INIQUITY stamp on it is dedicated to fulfilling this -- OUR -- mutual aesthetic where we enter the future of Fetish by providing the supreme example of how it can be done, and where our levels of fulfillment and our cravings can at last be appeased. This is not to say that INIQUITY is The End; quite the opposite -- I expect it will be merely The Beginning.
Americans are known for some strange and interesting things around the world. This country was founded on rebellion, and to this day it seems Americans feel obligated to initially rebel against any idea no matter how sound it might be. This same rebellion may be the reason why the concept of a Strict Fetish Dress Code has been resisted for so long. Unfortunately for this provincial thinking, too many of us have traveled to the European countries and seen how glorious things can get over there; too many of us have at last come back and are telling the provincially minded, (to quote Michael Crichton's Rising Sun) "their way is better." INIQUITY and others are beginning to take a stand against the rampant mediocrity that our pseudo-patriotic rebellion has produced. Do I think the rebellious nature of Americans will disappear? Not in the slightest. However, INIQUITY will stand as a paradigm and interface which will leave room only for the rebellious so long as they ENHANCE the Fetish Scene, not dilute it. It has taken this long to make a definition like INIQUITY understood and acceptable to American Fetishists. Technically speaking our overall Fetish Scene has a lot of work to do to bring it up to the full standards of our European compatriots. That the American twist on things can produce something Newer and Maybe even Better than the European standard is always a possibility which INIQUITY will remain open to. For the time being however, INIQUITY will stand defined as holding to the European aesthetic. We will not bend in the face of mediocrity, exploitation, or dilution.
We are defined.
We are stylish.
We are known.
We are accepted.
We are elegant.
We are proud.
We are INIQUITY
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