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IN CONVERSATION WITH LEXI, THE DESIGNER BEHIND CULT LATEX BRAND STUDIO FCLX

Studio FCLX shoot

Words by Jess Ralph

Studio FCLX is the East London based brand on a mission to push the boundaries, and your preconceptions, about latex clothing. Genderfluid and ethically conscious, FCLX’s playful yet transgressive wearable rubber pieces are the creative vision of brand founder and designer Lexi, who’s taking the historically provocative material out of the darkness and onto a dance floor near you.

We spoke to Lexi about how latex is having its moment in the limelight, the continuing influence of queer club culture on her brand and Studio FCLX’s upcoming collaboration with Underground.

Studio FCLX stickers

Hi Lexi! Could you introduce your brand, Studio FCLX?

Studio FCLX is a latex fashion brand based in East London, genderfluid and sustainable. Everything is handmade and I like to focus on one off, one of a kind designs. I started the brand in 2019 – my first collection was during the pandemic.

 

Where do you draw inspiration for Studio FCLX’s designs?

I’m definitely inspired by London queer club nights, and rave wear. Also the fetish and kink scene, which has been growing a lot in the last few years.

 

Why did you choose latex as the material to focus your brand on?

When I first started there wasn’t much out there with latex – there were a few brands but they were mainly focusing on “classic” fetishwear, with everything in black. I just thought it’s such a great material and wanted to explore what you could do with it when you work with different colours and patterns. Obviously now the material has got more attention with celebrities wearing latex.

 

Following on from this, to the extent of the fashion press and celebrities at least, fetishwear inspired clothing has apparently entered the mainstream. Do you think latex still has the power to shock?

I would say it’s not as provocative anymore as it has got more and more popular. But I do still think the material is still quite out there, it’s still something people notice, you’re recognizable on the street if you’re wearing latex.

Latex being created in the studio

You’ve mentioned starting Studio FCLX during the pandemic. What was it like setting up a brand during this time, especially considering your club-wear focused designs?

Yes, my first collection was during the pandemic. It was of course difficult. But it did give me the time to focus on other parts of my brand, not just the selling, to just be experimenting with the material and making a lot. Because the sales weren’t going very well at the time!

However when things started opening up again I feel like everyone was just really wanting to go out, and also be experimenting. Also lots of new fetish events were emerging, and existing ones were becoming more popular after the pandemic. I do feel like people are a lot more adventurous now compared with before lockdown, so I think I’ve definitely benefited from that!

 

Can you talk about your upcoming collaboration with Underground?

The collaboration first came up around two years ago now. I got approached by Underground and I just thought it really made sense, the connection with the material and style-wise. Latex itself is of course a material historically associated with underground culture and community – the punk scene.

 

You’ve mentioned Studio FCLX being borne out of Hackney Wicks warehouse community – could you talk about how this creative community has informed your work and brand?

It was really important at the beginning when I was first starting the brand as people around me were really into their crafts and the arts, and pushing boundaries. I feel like that’s where my designs, whether consciously or subconsciously really developed. Being in that environment I never got that feeling like, “Oh, I need to fit in a corner of stuff that’s already out there” versus actually doing what I wanted to do. Like I always wanted to work with patterns and colours with my designs. So having that artistic freedom around me was super important and really influenced me to go for it!

 

Why was it important to you that Studio FCLX was a sustainable brand?

It’s a really integral part of my brand. I’ve always had an awareness of sustainability, and I feel like it was just about deciding what was important to me, and the message I wanted to give customers about Studio FCLX. I also think the sustainability aspect went hand in hand with what I’m doing as I’m making the pieces myself, mixing the colours and getting all my materials and supplies locally within London. It’s all a very long process which is reflected in the price. With fast fashion of course everything is produced en masse, very cheaply. So it was also very important to me to communicate the message to customers that of course our pieces are going to cost more than something from a big brand, because of the time and effort that goes into making them.

 

What are your plans for the future of Studio FCLX?

I’m working on a new collection now and really want to focus on working with the latex in different ways – experimenting with structures and layers, just really playing around with the materials. I also want to focus on more one-off and custom pieces, even more than I do now. Ideally I’d love to get to the point when everything at Studio FCLX is a one-off piece, so people can really appreciate the designs and that there’s only one in the world that exists. The Underground x FCLX collaboration boots and shoes are available at the end of October!

The Underground x FCLX collaboration boots and shoes are available at the end of October from the Underground online store and from Studio FCLX.

Featuring new interpretations of the Original Wulfrun Creepers and Original Steel Cap Ranger Boot, the collaboration reflects the presence of latex in many of the original underground subcultures and is now interpreted by a new wave designer for contemporary subcultures.

Model wears FCLX x Underground strappy boots
Model in alternative clothing and boots
On Key

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