In the five years he has been producing content for his UK-based video label LatexFashionTV, Cole Black has become a real force to be reckoned with in fetish media.
The international fetish scene’s regard for his work was confirmed last year when he won the 2019 European Fetish Award at the German Fetish Ball in Berlin.
And I can report that industry people don’t just like his work — they like him as a person too. Try as I might, I can’t find anyone with a bad word to say about him. So frustrating!
In a world where the term ‘fetish video’ is more often associated with porn, Cole has adhered firmly to showcasing the fun, fashion and social sides of wearing latex.
Latex models and designers — some of whom have doubled as presenters in his reports — are happy to collaborate with him because they know they and their work will be treated with respect and a complete absence of sleaze.
But, let’s be clear: this does not mean that his films are not sexy. Far from it!
The big news from LatexFashionTV right now is the launch of its Patreon site. This adds several affordable levels of subscribable LFTV material on Patreon to the existing free content available on YouTube. As Cole Black explains:
“All LFTV videos are free to view and it’s important to stress that this won’t change. If you’re reading this and watch my stuff, that’s amazing and thank you. New videos will still hit YouTube as always.
“I think of Patreon as DVD extras. It’s totally optional,” he explains. “There’s hours of footage no one else gets to see. Whether it’s an interview I’ve cut for time, funny outtakes or models shining latex getting ready to shoot.
“Now there’s a place I can share that — with the permission of those involved, of course.” A great example of this, he says, is the new video podcast.
“The YouTube version is edited to tighten up answers and cut any raunchier stories to keep it family friendly. But patrons get the ‘bootleg’ version of the stream as we recorded it. Fans can even get their name in the credits.”
The response has already been great, he says, and the funds it brings in can be put straight back into LFTV.
“I’ve already been able to license new music and move to faster web hosting. If it continues to grow, maybe I can make it to some of the more distant events I’m invited to, post-covid.”
The LFTV Patreon site offers three modestly-priced levels of monthly subscription with increasing benefits: Supporter at £1.00, Insider at £5 and Cutting Room at £10.
In addition, there’s an All Access option for £25 which lets you have your name on LFTV film credits, a monthly model Q&A where a latex-clad model answers your questions, and more.
If you’re already a fan of LatexFashionTV, this seems like a great way to get access to stuff that didn’t make the free edits — and in my experience there’s always good stuff one wishes could have been included.
But even if you’re pretty familiar with LFTV’s output on YouTube, chances are you don’t know much about Cole Black himself. He makes a point of keeping as much separation as possible between his fetish film persona and his ‘straight’ life.
So I’m quite pleased to have persuaded him to reveal a little bit more about his background than you could previously find online.
Cole traces the first stirrings of his fetish awareness back to seeing Batman Returns “at an impressionable age”, and to a memory of television presenter Dani Behr wearing rubber on youth TV show The Word a few years later.
“I’ve been fascinated with latex ever since,” he confesses. “I’d catch glimpses of shiny outfits in movies and on late night TV, so it was kind of a building curiosity.”
(“You couldn’t just type ‘latex’ into Google and bring up thousands of images and videos like you can today,” he points out.)
“I tracked down an image of Dani Behr backstage from that episode earlier this year and licensed it as a print. I have that and an image of Catwoman next to the desk where I edit.”
Cole’s first visit to a fetish club was with friends on a trip organised by the local goth shop.
“I felt like I’d stepped into a movie set. Everyone was wearing such visually amazing outfits. A friend used a guy she just met as a stool. It was a great night.
“But that group drifted apart, as friends sometimes do, and it wasn’t until a decade later that I visited another club and realised it was something I’d really like to explore more.”
Cole Black has worked in mainstream video production and broadcast media for 20 years, and it often surprises people who encounter him on an LFTV mission to learn he is not based in London, but almost 200 miles further north in the East Yorkshire port city of Hull (aka Kingston upon Hull).
His adventures with video began there when, after leaving school, he saved up for a cheap video camera to make short movies with friends.
“This was before the internet was a thing, so I read books on filmmaking and taught myself to edit VHS to VHS tape,” he recalls.
“When I decided to go to college and study media, it was touch and go they’d let me in as my grades weren’t the best. But they did. I started at the bottom and worked through to graduating from university.
“Looking back I guess nothing much has changed. I’m still making films with friends today, but now all my friends wear latex!”
After graduation, Black went straight into a job at a production company, and found himself working with everyone from Prime Ministers to pop stars.
“Carol Vorderman* stole chips from me when I worked on Better Homes, and I saw a Sugababe have a wee once. Ask me about it when I’m drunk. [*Original, longtime co-host of TV’s Countdown.]
“I’ve done some live TV and made a series for Sky. I worked on hair and beauty campaigns for brands I shouldn’t mention and for the last few years I’ve been working on high end videos for the luxury sector.”
Fortunately, he adds, he still gets some editing work since lockdown, though things have slowed down. “Being able to work from home helps keep the lights on,” he says.
Cole Black the videomaker first appeared on Facebook in 2011, some four years before the launch of LatexFashionTV.
“Up until then I’d been online as ‘Colatex’ which I thought was very clever, but was a nightmare to explain to people how to spell. 2011 was when I started Facebook to keep in touch with friends in the scene.”
Before LatexFashionTV was launched in 2015, Cole was producing similar content under the brand LatexGirlsHD.com.
What motivated him to start this project, and what objectives did he set himself for the style of its content?
“Working in high end video is really creative but ultimately you’re working to a client who
“LFTV was all about how far I could take something creatively that was entirely my own, where I’m ultimately responsible for everything — for better or worse.
“Growing up watching late night TV like Eurotrash and Men & Motors, bite-sized segments were my inspiration, but with a modern twist.
“I wanted it to be sexy but dialled back enough to be approachable. Something you might see while flicking channels and stop on to watch.”
What persuaded Cole Black to rebrand as LatexFashionTV? I tell him my guess is he found that Latex Girls as a name was sending out the wrong messages about the content, suggesting something rather more ‘adult’ than the actualité.
Latex fashion, on the other hand, is a much more mainstream and social-network-friendly concept. And more female-friendly too — increasing the chances of collaboration from designers, models and female latex fans.
He confirms my conjecture. “I guess I wanted a clean break from LatexGirls. This is probably the only time I’ve mentioned it since. It was for all the reasons you mention but mainly for perception and branding.
“As I was starting to cover more events outside the fetish scene, LatexGirls had certain connotations. ‘Is it porn?’ or ‘Is it Babestation?’ were things I started to hear, and I’ve always tried to balance fetish and fashion.
“It’s how the videos can go from cute latex cosplay to vac cubes in a rubber fetish club and (hopefully) still feel connected,” he reckons. “I try to present it all through the same lens of ‘Hey, isn’t latex cool’, and wanted to be able to bridge both worlds.
“LatexFashionTV as a name pretty much explains itself. Two weeks after launch, Sexhibition approached me about being a media partner and it grew from there.”
For those not familiar with Sexhibition, it was launched in 2015 in Manchester as a sort of ‘Erotica of the North’, with quite a strong emphasis on fetish content.
It ran for just two years before disappearing under something of a cloud. Before that happened, it had held out the promise of becoming a major annual event for the North that could challenge London’s dominance of the scene.
“Sexhibition was huge for me,” says Cole. “It was only weeks after launching LFTV that I was meeting Bianca Beauchamp backstage and explaining to Martin Perreault [her photographer partner] that I’d helped him with the auto-run code for the Video CD they released in the noughties.
“Those two events in 2015 and 2016 had a real Comic Con-like atmosphere of inclusiveness. I’ve been to many welcoming events but they really seemed like they crossed over into the mainstream. Their ad even played in cinemas.
“It’s still the only event where everything I filmed that day and night was online for everyone to see by the next morning.
“Having people come up and say they just watched it over breakfast was the coolest feeling. I’d love to try that again in future. Maybe for GFB’s return.”
We’ve included Cole’s Sexhibition report in the LFTV films you’ll find in this article. It rattles along with tremendous fetish energy, mixing big stars of the scene with people who have tended to be less represented at such events because they’re based in the north of England or Scotland.
It’s also proof that you can never be too sure what the future holds, featuring as it does some folk that have become mega and others that were mega but have since left the industry.
After its launch, LFTV soon established a big following among models and performers including many of the scene’s biggest names, as well as with the wider fetish community. To what does Cole attribute the popularity of the brand?
“A friend recently described LFTV as fun and flirty, and I’d like to think that’s why people respond to it.
“Yes, latex is sexy, but I’ve been on shoots in public where families are asking to take selfies with ‘the girl in the cute dress’. They don’t realise it’s latex, it’s just a cool look.
“I’ve had couples email me and share that they watch videos together, or guys who say they’ve introduced their partner to latex with LFTV — and that’s really flattering.
“I’ve heard from people who are no longer able to get to clubs, and say they watch event videos because it feels like being there. That’s all really heartwarming to hear.
“I was invited to pick a ‘best dressed’ winner at an event a while back. The guy we picked later came up and thanked me, explaining the reason he got into the scene was watching my videos of that very event, which gave him the courage to go for the first time.
“That was a nice ‘full circle’ kinda moment.”
In 2019, at the German Fetish Ball in Berlin, the fetish industry conferred on LatexFashionTV international recognition for its achievements with that year’s Special European Fetish Award. How did Cole feel about that honour?
“I still can’t quite believe it,” he admits. “It was such a surprise, I gave the camera to a friend to hold with it still recording. I still haven’t watched it back because I’m sure in my memory I’m cooler than I actually was in reality.
“I remember hugging [host] René and looking the wrong way. Then walking back down the catwalk and jumping down to film the rest of the fashion shows.
“It’s humbling to know people enjoy what I do and that I’ve become a small part of the scene I’ve loved for so long. I never normally drink when I’m working but that may have been one of the rare occasions when I did. Such a crazy amazing night.”
The 2019 GFB audience wouldn’t have known it at the time, but at that very same event, a film made by Cole Black was shown on the screens alongside the GFB catwalk to introduce the evening’s closing fashion show from Yummy Gummy.
It seemed, for a designer doing a show at the Ball, such an obvious use of the venue’s video facilities. And yet in all my years of covering those shows, I couldn’t recall any other label using them in such a way.
“That did look really cool,” Cole agrees. “I love working with Rebecca [of Yummy Gummy] and it was great to be a part of it.”
Any thoughts on why introductory film wasn’t a more common element of such shows? “I guess logistically not every event has video screens or the production bandwidth to create video intros,” is his reply.
However, when label Am Statik held an anniversary showcase last year, it also featured footage filmed by Cole, along with live models and photos of designer Amy Statik’s distinctive creations. “I’d love to do more of that kind of thing,” he says.READ MORE – GO TO PAGE 2 OF 2
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