Leather and Latex: Materials, Morals and Subcultural Style

March 29, 2018
Wed 11 April 2018

10:30am, Free (places booked via email)
Glasgow CCA, Clubroom

‘Leather and Latex: Materials, Morals and Subcultural Style’ is a one-day workshop focused on the subject of material as a means to approach histories of subcultural style. Involving archivists, conservators, theorists and practitioners the day expands upon the social meanings and political potentialities surrounding these two materials and how they might be historicised and preserved.

Leather and latex are associated with various subcultural codes, styles and tastes. A kind of “second skin” leather has been synonymous with outlaw communities and dissident sexualities, from post-war bike clubs to ‘80s leatherdyke bars. If leather is authentically like a skin, latex substitutes. Worn as clothing, latex exaggerates and distorts, is eroticised and wipe-clean. Expanding on the cultural codes that shape tastes and create styles, ‘Leather and Latex: Materials, Morals and Subcultural Style’ turns to the properties of material in order to seek new approaches to historiographies of subcultural style.

The day will include contributions from Grace Biggins, an archivist working with the Leather Archives UK held at Bishopsgate Institute; fashion designer Theresa Coburn; Dr Anita Quye who has published widely on the preservation of synthetics; artist Craig Mulholland and a keynote from fashion anthropologist Ted Polhemus (details below), whose seminal work has celebrated the ways that subcultures have shaped fashion and style has transformed culture over the past four decades.

The event is free but places are limited. Please contact l.guy@gsa.ac.uk if you would like to attend.

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Ted Polhemus: Talk and Q&A
Wed 11 April 2018, 4:30pm, Free but ticketed
CCA Clubroom

Book online: https://ccaglasgow.ticketsolve.com/shows/873589937

A talk on the semiotics of desire with fashion anthropologist Ted Polhemus, whose seminal work has celebrated the ways that subcultures have shaped fashion and style has transformed culture over the past four decades.

“For more than thirty years Ted Polhemus has explored and celebrated the extraordinary ways that popular culture opens a window onto a broader understanding of the world we live in. Never judgemental, never the ‘style guru’ some have erroneously labelled him, he scrupulously avoids distinguishing between the good, the bad and the ugly – while always thrilled by the creativity of all those ‘real people’ who, decade after decade, have given constant impetus to music, style, design, dance and so many of the things which made and make our age that unique period in human history when Culture went pop! and became truly democratic.”

Leather and Latex: Materials, Morals and Subcultural Style is organised by Dr Laura Guy and Dr Fiona Jardine with support from Glasgow School of Art, the University of Edinburgh, Cruising the Seventies: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures and the Humanities in the European Research Area.

Access: The CCA Clubroom has level access, via a lift. For full details, see the CCA website here.

Image: Theresa Coburn/John Barraclough, 1983