Lace and latex: an unconventional combination by Sara Linke

While latex has shaken its slightly sleazy image recently, the material is still not widely used in garments. The unconventional combination with lace was thought up by designer Sara Linke in her master thesis. Her aim was to show the aesthetics of latex.

Linke, who recently graduated from the College of Applied Art Schneeberg (department of Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau University of Applied Science), combined the two materials to develop a substrate using wrap-knitted textiles. Lace is “innocent and playful”, while latex is “slightly edgy and unfamiliar”. Both, however, can be seen as seductive. It was Linke’s goal to create a latex collection to translate the subject fetish into fashion.

The new material is made by covering or coating lace with liquid latex to create a closed fabric. The lace takes on the latex’ characteristic sheen, and it creates a striking visual look. Linke also bedewed the lace with the latex to remain the open structure of the fabric. Depending on how the materials are combined, other characteristics may change as well. These can be manipulated in different ways.

Linke experiments with numerous variations to produce a product similar to laminates. If the open, wrap-knitted textiles are dipped in the latex, the transparency, drape and feel of the new fabric depend on the thickness of the layer. Thin coatings produce a soft, supple drape, and make the fabric shimmer as frosted glass. Thick layers increase the rigidity of the textile, giving it rubber-like properties and making it opaque. Different colour effects can be produced by mixing in dyes in the process. If the used lace has stretch properties, this is maintained in the process.

The lace was supplied by Karl Mayer, a warp knitting machinery manufacturer, and the latex by Linke intends to produce a number of garments made from the fabrics this autumn.

For the material in our collection, click here.

Photos: Sara Linke / Christian Spiegler / Udo Hentschel