Although its German Fetish Ball sister event temporarily quit riverside venue Spindler & Klatt, 2022’s German Fetish Fair remained at Magazin in der Heeresbäckerei — the ‘street end’ of the same ex-military complex.
For some years the GFF had regularly filled one floor of the Magazin building. But in 2019, a surge both in international attendance and exhibitor interest from fetish fashion brands enabled the Fair to expand to accommodate almost 50 vendors on two floors for the first time.
Arriving to cover the Fair’s first day for our GFB 2022 Report Part 2, I discovered that quite a few visitors were hoping for two packed floors again as in 2019.
I, on the other hand, thought it quite an achievement to fill one floor — given all the cancellations and reschedulings of the previous two years, the barely three months of preparation time since the May 2022 slot had been confirmed, and the post-covid financial struggles of many small businesses!
But even with only one floor, there was still plenty to see from returning exhibitors — and some first-timers too.
As always, the majority of exhibitors were German brands. There was a smattering of other European businesses, but a reduced UK contingent — due in no small part, surely, to the extra bureaucratic burdens Brexit has imposed on British firms wishing to show and sell at EU events.
However, the brand that took the largest stand space was not German but Dutch — the designer, retailer and distributor Peter Domenie.
This year Domenie almost doubled its (already large) space with the addition of a separate stand dedicated to Latex 101, the men’s clothing line acquired after its British founders went bust while expanding their manufacturing into Hungary in 2019.
Fortunately, Domenie and Latex 101’s existing business relationship enabled Peter to step in and buy 101’s assets, pledging to fulfil all existing orders, save the brand and guarantee its continuity under new Dutch ownership.
Among UK brands that did make it to this year’s Fair were Anna Kii’s Figure of A, Helen Teiman’s Amentium and latex label Rose Noir Designs, all familiar from London’s Le Boutique Bazaar pop-up shopping events.
Of the two UK latex labels in this year’s Ball fashion show — Pandora Deluxe and Antidote London — neither opted to take a stand at the Fair as well (although Pandora had previously been a regular exhibitor).
But the choice both made is understandable. For the sort of small artisan brands that make up most of the fetish design scene, running a fair stand all day and organising a fashion show by night can be quite a big ask.
Unsurprisingly, the two labels that exhibited at the Fair this year and put on shows at the Ball — Inner Sanctum and Maniac Latex — were both German. I’m sure that doing the Fair and the Ball still stretched their resources. But being based in the same country as the events obviously helps.
Inner Sanctum’s GFF stand was busy as always, and irrepressible boss Max Kuhl was on hand with colleague Julia Wiegandt to enthuse about his latest venture, Fetish-Lofts.de — a new ‘bed, breakfast and bondage’ apartment available for rent in Hamburg.
We hope in the near future to bring you in-depth coverage of Fetish-Lofts and Max’s promised (and, he admits, overdue) revamp of the Inner Sanctum website.
Among other German vendors I always enjoy chatting with is Carina, owner/designer at Berlin-based latex label Chronomatic.
Asked, for our GFB 2022 Report Part 2, how her business had been affected by the pandemic, she said it had been remarkably beneficial. It had enabled not just development of new Chronomatic lines but also the launch of a fully-featured retail website and an expansion in company personnel.
Another Berlin label owner, GFF veteran Noraly of Cyberesque, revealed that she’d used the hiatus between Fairs to start making fancy headdresses — such as the feathered beauty she is seen posing with in one of my gallery pictures. She said she was really enjoying this new area of creativity.
Among brands from parts of Europe not so often represented at events like this, I want to mention Czech company Bugshop.cz, whose display of shiny steel toys surely went some way to compensate for the absence of certain German makers of such items who used to be GFF regulars.
Last but not least, a shout out for Crea FX, an Italian special effects company displaying ultra-lifelike moulded masks. Its hoods take anatomical realism beyond anything I’ve previously seen in rubberdoll-type creations, and are likely to be a hit with those seeking the ultimate in convincing ID-transformation experiences.
Below, as part of our GFB 2022 Report Part 2, you’ll find 2022 German Fetish Fair exhibitor details plus two galleries of my pictures from the Fair, mostly from Day 1 but with a few from Day 2 as well.
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