Expertise with laser cutting latex opens up fashion market

Cutting Technologies has used laser cutting to produce delicately patterned latex for lingerie on display at Paris Couture Fashion Week.

Content Dam Ils Online Articles 2013 09 Latex Full

Barugh Green, Barnsley, UK - A laser cutting and engraving firm is finding work in an unexpected sector after perfecting a tricky laser cutting technique.

Originally developed to meet an order for laser cut neoprene rubber sheets for an electronics company, Cutting Technologies has now transferred its skills to laser cutting latex.

The move has opened up the glamorous world of high-end latex fashion and fetish wear design. Last month, Cutting Technologies' work was on display at Paris Couture Fashion Week in Charlie Le Mindu’s Gold Sabah collection.

The milliner to the stars collaborated with exclusive latex fashion designer Atusko Kudo for the show, which combined statement sculptural pieces using real human hair and luxurious gold leather, silk, and couture latex.

Cutting Technologies employed its specialist skills in laser cutting to produce delicately patterned latex used to make lingerie by Atsuko Kudo, a pioneering latex fashion designer who has dressed celebrities such as Lady Gaga and developed a pop-up shop in London’s Selfridges.

"Latex is a notoriously tricky substance for laser cutting – the heat of the lasers returns the latex to its natural wet state – so we had to experiment with various solvents and applications," said Jane Robinson, co-founder and director at Cutting Technologies.

“Through a process of trial and error, we eventually mastered the art of laser cutting latex," she continued. "Whilst laser cutting has been used on latex before, it’s only been on small pieces for applique-type effects. Being able to laser cut using our large bed 3 x 2 m machine meant that we could look at laser cutting latex on a large scale."

The company's first chance to show the possibilities of this technique came when it produced some samples for fetish-wear brand Cathouse Clothing. "The effects were superb and we showcased some of the garments at our Enlightened exhibition earlier this year. When Atsuko Kudo asked us to produce some items for the Paris Couture Fashion Week show, we were delighted to be involved."

“People often think that laser cutting is all about traditional manufacturing. This latest development in our work just shows that the sky really is the limit for our machines. It’s surely only a matter of time before the likes of Lady Gaga herself is sporting latex laser cut by Cutting Technologies!” Robinson said.

"Cutting Technologies delivered superb work for us, interpreting our designs perfectly and working round the clock to ensure we got what we needed for the Paris show," added Simon Walter Hoare, co-director of Atsuko Kudo. "They are leading the way in creative laser cutting and using their skills to push artistic boundaries, making them an ideal company for designers like us to work with.”

Cutting Technologies employs 30 people at its 18,000 sq ft warehouse.

Above: Cutting Technologies helped cut the latex for this Atsuko Kudo design at Paris Couture Fashion Week in July.
Below: Detail of photo.

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