The sub-brand, already featured on the new ExxEss Latex Etsy store and soon to appear on an even newer ExxEss website, marks the debut of a radical new latex production technique developed by designer Jeannie Lou.
Jeannie started with the idea of rubberised fabric, in which liquid latex is coated onto a conventional woven fabric and allowed to soak in. It’s a process commonly used with zipper tapes to make them easier to bond to sheet latex.
But she has taken that concept to another level by subjecting her latex-fabric mixtures to a proprietary process involving repeated pressing.
The resulting hybrid sheeting, called ExxEss Fabric, is claimed by Jeannie’s partner Al Holt to be “a sustainable replacement for plastics, petroleum products and animal hide”.
Unbleached cotton fabric is at the heart of the mixture, while organic cotton linen, bamboo fabrics and organic cotton twill are among other natural fibres employed.
The production process is time-consuming, but the result, according to ExxEss Latex’s UK associate, the latex artist and designer Catasta Charisma, is “rubber sheeting that has an incredibly soft feel yet is also incredibly robust”.
These qualities, he adds, make the hybrid sheeting ideal for producing items of a structural type — “products that need some rigidity for them to hold their shape and yet still remain incredibly flexible”.
ABOVE: ExxEss Baggage designer Jeannie Lou and her trusty assistant at House of ExxEss
Hence why Jeannie started by making bags and purses from the sheeting. She has produced sheeting in a large array of colour backgrounds and effects, decorated in a plethora of patterns, also in rubber.
In this article you can see images of the first ExxEss Baggage items to come to market. The UK Etsy shop features helpful multiple views of each product — a selection of which we’ve reproduced at the bottom.
ABOVE: Signature ExxEss Latex Dahlias for DIY decoration – 3-pack £54.98 plus shipping
And, according to Catasta, each is such a work of art that “on a personal level I would love to simply frame one of Jeannie’s sheets and hang it on the wall”.
This gives each bag and purse additional value as a collectable item. And yet the prices quoted on the Etsy store for the initial range are surprisingly reasonable.
Prices for UK customers range from about £45 for the Suki bag to about £103 for the Julia bag. Shipping to the UK adds another £30-ish to the individual cost, but for something so unique and collectable — and eminently suitable for daytime or evening use too — it looks like a good investment to us!
The ExxEss Latex Etsy store also offers sets of three latex flowers — a decorative element that will be familiar to anyone who has seen ExxEss fashion shows in the flesh or in event reports.
Anything else going on at ExxEss right now? Well, in between latex creations, Jeannie is writing music for her “latex eccentric band” IVO (Innies v Outties) with a view to a tour in the near future that will be “part latex fashion and part musical”.
And other offshoots of House of ExxEss include ExxEss Images (photography) and ExxEss Sound (music and production).
“ExxEss Baggage is designed for everyone,” she adds. “We all need pockets and bags. For parties, life and travel.”
Indeed we do — and for that very reason we look forward to the appearance of lots more ExxEss Baggage creations in the not-too-distant future!
Published January 30, 2020