If it’s worth knocking off, it’s worth knocking off wrong!
latexclothingmanufacturer.com: a Review
Over at our Kink Engineering HQ, we’ll get the occasional cold call from a variety of companies. Usually they’re peddling search engine optimization services or cheaper office supplies, but they don’t usually try to steal our business out from under us.
As a blogger for Knockoff Knockdown, you can imagine my surprise when a company called “Latex Clothing Manufacturer” (I’ll shorten that to “LCM” at times) contacted me. They’re a Chinese latex manufacturer who is interested in taking over our product production. They were offering to make products on our behalf and drop-ship them out to clients, or ship them to us to repackage and send out as our own.
A quick search of their website revealed unfinished pages – which have since been replaced with content – a downloadable catalog and a re-use of Radical Rubber’s color chart images re-cropped to remove the radical watermark.
Latex Clothing Manufacturer’s Color chart…
Radical Rubber’s Color Chart.
I sent LCM a quick email back, asking if they used Radical sheeting, since they use their color chart, you would expect that they do. Their correspondent assured me that while their sheeting comes from a factory in China, the quality is “well good” and comparable in every way to Radical Rubber. He followed up by offering to send us a free sample of their products.
And so the great comparison began…
Since we use our own source of sheeting at Kink Engineering (sold as the www.sheetlatex.com brand) we don’t generally use Radical Rubber. However, our friends at Ego Assassin had some Radical black and olive green samples that they were happy to give us to compare with what arrived.
Knowing that I had a great basis for comparison, I asked LCM to send me some samples of their black and olive sheeting in a gauge close to 0.40mm. I also asked them for a small garment to see the quality of their clothing. I want to make very clear that at NO POINT in my communications with LCM did I give them any indication that we were interested in reselling their products or having them produce garments for us. I told them that we were interested in seeing the quality of their rubber and workmanship and left the rest explicitly unsaid.
Fast forward about a week – the package arrived. The contents were worse quality than expected, which is saying something as my expectations were not high to begin with.
I’ll start with my first impression – the packaging. While the garment did arrive in record time (about 10 days from sending them my address), I was a little confused to see the custom declaration: “100% polyester knit sweater”. It also arrived with a hefty tax/duty charge that I had to take care of. I opened the package to find what looked like a brick of heroin – a black bag covered in packing tape. To be fair to heroin traffickers and dealers on TV, the props departments usually do a better wrapping job than LCM did with their sample product meant to WOW us with their quality and professionalism.
Packaging as it arrived.
With such overzealous outer wrapping, one would expect a carefully folded garment. Wrong. The garment had been tossed in a bag with a piece of crumpled paper.
The garment as it arrived. Smooshed in a ball.
When we opened our crumpled up ball of garment, we were surprised to find a pink-ish oriental dress complete with a small mangled color printout of an image from Honor’s website with the watermark intact and small image from Radical Rubber’s color chart. The label declares this garment to be “Red”.
Insert that came with garment… for display on a rack? With a missing chunk?
Keep in mind, we asked for a sample of Black or Olive to compare colors. So the color of the sample was not even close to what we had requested.
The garment itself: In a word – disgusting.
Zipper end not reinforced and already starting to delaminate on arrival.
The rubber smelled like tires. I cannot overstate how horrible it smelled. Several of our friends and fellow latex enthusiasts got a whif of this and were shocked at the stink of burnt rubber and chemicals. Several of the people we exposed the garment to asked for it to be re-packed in plastic as they were having trouble functioning with the smell of the garment in the same room.
The surface of the sheeting was laden with bumps, stretched areas, warps and stains. It didn’t feel smooth against the skin as Radical, 4D or sheetlatex.com’s sheeting. The surface was rough, and it wouldn’t hold a shine when cleaned of powder and polished with silicone shiner.
In short, this sheeting is totally inferior to Radical Rubber’s offerings in every way. Certainly not up to the quality that LCM assured me of.
What was most alarming was the misrepresentation of Radical Rubber. The handout came with an image, stolen from Radical’s website, showing the red the garment should have been. In actuality, the latex was a salmon color, not red at all. Now the color itself wasn’t bad – just not remotely what they were claiming it to be. As luck would have it, Ego Assassin also had a chunk of Radical Red sheeting, so we did a comparison, which speaks for itself in the image below.
We held a sample of Radical Rubber’s Red latex up against the “Red” latex from LCM.
Lumps and bumps and stains, oh my!
Moving on to the quality of the dress. The garment was poorly designed and built. Having obviously based their design on an image alone and not a real item or much of an understanding of tailoring, LCM didn’t put in any seams going down the bust for shape. Instead of using trim to give the oriental neckline and a zipper down the back (as was likely the case with the original garment that they knocked off from Honor), the neckline itself was the zipper, and poorly installed at that.
Zipper installed by gorilla?
When I tried the dress on, it turned out to be close to my size. Since there wasn’t a zipper at the back, it was incredibly difficult to get the dress on and off. The zipper at the neck didn’t help much and this sort of issue is often the death of a garment as seams usually blow out when dressing or undressing if the garment is poorly built with no thought to how to put it on and take it off.
It’s not entirely fair for me to comment about the sizing of the dress – it was a sample that wasn’t made for me. Based on our experience, there’s no way to know how well LCM would do a made-to-measure item. What I can say is that the proportions were very skewed. The neck was so large that it fell like a collar, instead of sitting against the neck, as a classic oriental neckline should. The zipper caused some irritation at the armpit and forced the dress to buckle where it shouldn’t. That’s a safe assertion to make – a zipper in that area will always cause buckling, no matter how well the dress would otherwise fit.
Floppy collar and awkward zipper… and the smell… oh, the smell of that rubber! Gross!
The seams were coarse, at best. Some still had lots of glue residue, some had frayed edges of latex scrap. Almost all were bubbly and uneven. The trim at the back was also coarsely finished, causing the bottom of the dress to flare out on one side, and tuck in on the other. It was a mess no matter how you looked at it.
I contacted both Radical and Honour to get their take on the use of their designs/images by LCM. Honour’s representative assured me that LCM has no right to reproduce their clothing, nor do they have any rights to the images they sent us.
I was especially interested in Radical’s take on the matter, as I’ve seen their color chart on other, more reputable designer’s websites, including Libidex, which is part of the same ownership as Radical. When we contacted them Radical’s director, Nigel, confirmed that they do allow designers to use their color chart providing they actually use Radical Rubber and give credit to Radical/Libidex. In this case, LCM was using images that they DID NOT have rights to, and Radical confirms that they had requested this site to stop using their images previous to our contacting them. So this is an ongoing problem with LCM.
Considering the sizable investment made by Radical into building a catsuit for each individual color in their stock, I can absolutely understand why Radical would want to keep some degree of control over the usage of the images. This is especially critical in a situation like this where a consumer is being led to believe that inferior rubber might come from Radical, thus cutting of potential future sales.
After confirming with Radical and Honour that LCM was deeply in the wrong, I decided to send them one final email. I was completely forthright with them and explained the nature of my blog, as well as the nature of the article I would be writing. I outlined the areas of concern that I had with their products and business practices. I asked why we did not receive the desired color samples. I called them out on copyright theft.
The reply that I received was short and to the point – the garment that they sent me “was not an adequate representation of their work”. They thought they had included the swatches and were surprised to hear that they were missing. Their clients send them images of garments to reproduce, and they “have no idea to whom the original copyright belongs”. They made no comment on changing their practices or manufacturing processes.
It is obvious that Latex Clothing Manufacturer is a flagrant offender in the latex fetish market. They are not producing garments anywhere near the quality that they promote, and they are illegally using images from several companies who do produce excellent products. You should not trust your money, time and latex fetish to them.
Sadly, their prices are low… but if that were the first rubber garment my boyfriend ever bought me, I’d be off latex entirely. LCM is obviously not interested in customer care - selling inferior products to what are likely one-time customers.
Instead, all those years ago, we spent a little more money and I got for a catsuit from Libidex (made with Radical Rubber sheeting). I loved it, and I still wear it today after years of service. Because of that beginning - full of quality and exceeded expectations - I’m Miss Rubber World 2011.
Archean is the current “Miss Rubber World” and blogs about latex fashion, fetish lifestyle and all things rubbery. Catch more of her on www.msrubberworld.com