Fetish. Not a usual word from us in a title, but hear us out. When we heard about a brand utilising the technique of rope tying, a skill in recent years used to bind the body, we had to dig deeper.
Shibari, the rope tying technique from Japan. We were unsure what this had to do with fashion. That is until Figure of A. FOA translates traditional rope patterns used for binding the body to clothes and accessories, using rope in a functional and decorative way. Fashion doesn’t get any more fitted than this.
We are all about the new and the now, so we knew you would need to find out more. FOA uses traditional techniques to create edgy, architectural, and body-aware pieces. This is not the fetish wear you were imagining. This is fashion and art combined.
Not only is this brand pushing art, fashion and culture together, but it winds quality into every piece. All pieces are handmade from top quality leather and custom-made waxed cotton ropes and tied in London.
To find out more we caught up with designer and founder of Figure A; Anna Kostina to learn the ropes of rope tying and and all about her exciting brand…
Many people will be learning about Shibari for the first time reading this, what are the origins of this craft?
Shibari is an ancient rope tying technique from Japan which originated from martial arts Hojojutsu but was eroticized in the 20th Century. Nowadays, it´s getting more and more popular in the West and there is now a whole community around it.
How did you get into Shibari?
I travelled to Japan twice and fell in love with the country and the culture. I enforced my interest in Shibari as it stands for so many things in Japan; skills, craftsmanship, structure, obsession with aesthetics and its weirdness.
From then I took classes and courses in London where I found a dedicated Shibari studio which has weekly classes and workshops with famous riggers. There is also jams, meetups, club nights you name it! In the community, consent is an important topic; all interactions should be mutually wanted.
At its core what does Figure of A utilise Shibari for?
FOA designs wearable Shibari. Traditional rope patterns used for binding the body translate to clothes and accessories, where the rope has both a functional and decorative purpose.
FoA pieces look like they are tied, but they clip on and off without doing the work!
Your collection focuses on binding the body, how should it make the wearer feel?
Binding the body is a connection, it makes the person in ropes feel a variety of things, ranging from feeling submissive to powerful, enjoyment of the movement and restriction of the body in ropes.
Many people say it feels like being ‘hugged’. Generally wearing FoA pieces is like having a secret story to tell and being part of it and therefore feeling special.
How does one integrate these pieces into an everyday wardrobe?
Depends on the occasion of ‘every day’! Harnesses look great over a bodycon dress or top, and especially over a white shirt. Other accessories as chokers and bags work with anything, since they don’t scream ‘bondage’ but only have a subtle hint, and the elaborate rope work speaks for itself anyway!
Who is the Shibari customer?
My ideal wearer is a 25-40-year-old woman. She is fashionable but with an alternative taste, curious to try new things, doesn’t want to look ‘safe’, wants to provoke and not vanilla. Recently, it has changed a lot. Women are braver and the alternative look has become more fashionable.
Which public figure would you love to wear your products?
Lady Gaga is someone I would really want to wear my products; she was once tied and photographed by Araki, I think she would love my stuff! I would also love to see my work on people like FKA Twigs, Dita Von Teese and Poppy.
It is obvious Figure of A is something you are incredibly passionate about, where would you like to see your brand in 5 years’ time?
Yes, it is my baby and the business I was dreaming to run all my life.
I hope to lift Shibari out of the dark and make it more approachable for more and more people.
It would be amazing to create very commercial products with it in future and collaborate with bigger brands. The rope is so versatile and the Japanese look will never be out of fashion!