By Jake Rivett
Em Eato is the creator and owner of Rubber Monkey Latex, down to earth and has big aspirations for such a young company and her creations have been featured in the last two issues of Bizarre Magazine. Em chatted to Culture Bomb about what’s going on in the world of latex at the moment
Jake Rivett: Hi Em, when was the business formed and why?
Em Eato: Rubber Monkey Latex was officially established in July 2011. I’m a one monkey show and I operate out of my studio at home. I chose the name Rubber Monkey as a little tribute to my lifelong family nickname of “monkey” and to the obvious fabric choice that I work with. I like to use independent suppliers and have a great relationship with my latex wholesaler. I probably pay over the odds but I like the personal business approach that he has. I carry this through to the people I choose to work with. I’m not really interested in anyone who is simply out there to make a fast buck.
JR: And what are Rubber Monkey’s aims?
EE: Latex for all! My aim is to provide custom, made to measure latex designs at a price that is affordable. I’m also focused on bringing latex out of the stereotyped shadows of “pervy” and “fetish” and show that it can actually be quite fashionable and stylish. Don’t get me wrong… The fetish side provides me with much inspiration and work and I wouldn’t be without it. I’ve just completed a set using model Crimson Raine and photographer Scott Chalmers which is all about trying to integrate “fetish” into “fashion”. The latex has been shot with alongside “normal” clothing… I’m really pleased with the results.
JR: Do you enjoy what you do and the people you work with?
EE: I love it! I have 2 models and 3 photographers that I continually work with because:
- They understand the brand and what I’m trying to achieve
- Their approach to each project is professional and dedicated
- They are genuinely lovely people.
Violet Eyes and Crimson Raine are very down to earth and creative. They make my designs come alive and look amazing. The way they approach each shoot is so professional, bringing ideas and concepts to the table to create the perfect picture set. Each photographer: Scott Chalmers, Jamie Mahon and Dean Wilkinson each have their own unique style and I’m continually blown away by their work. I’m like a kid in a candy shop when they send me the latest contact sheet.
JR: What advice would you give to those looking to design, specifically, fetish fashion?
EE: There is a lot of competition out there and it can be quite fierce with the accusations of copying and design stealing. I think the best advice I can give is, if you really do want to do it, grow a thick skin, establish good connections with models and photographers who understand your philosophy and brand, do your research and just plug away at it. I work very long hours but the best rewards are the simple ones such as when you get an email from a customer who is so over the moon with an order that they felt compelled to email you to tell you.
JR: Do you think that ‘fetish’ is becoming more mainstream?
EE: I think, with the artists like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry that a diluted fetish style is very much becoming common place in the mainstream market although if you look back to the heyday of Madonna with her “erotica” phase… it’s always had a presence.
JR: Ever done anything for anyone famous?
EE: Not that I know of… but I have a lot of “anonymous” purchasers.
JR: What are your major influences and what inspires you when you create?
EE: I’m often inspired by the customer when I create something. It’s important to me that the customer gets what they want… not an interpretation of what I think they want. A lot of the time, latex is an investment and so I think its important that the finished piece be representative of what the client envisaged for themselves. It’s hard not to be inspired by established latex designers, and you do tend to kick yourself when you see something new come out and go: “Why didn’t I think of that?” Brands like Lascivious and Agent Provocateur also provide me with lots of food for thought as I love their unique approach to lingerie.
JR: Finally, How much fun is what you do on a daily basis?
EE: I love what I do… even if its a day spent making 24 pairs of socks… I still enjoy it. As long as I am enjoying it I will continue to grow Rubber Monkey and share the random creativity that falls out of my head with whoever is interested in it.