Toronto
2 min

Mad cow costs

Leather fetish gear prices go sky-high

BULL MARKET. Carrie Gray says costs are rising. Credit: Joshua Meles

Thanks to mad cow disease and foot and mouth, the costs of leather just keeps skyrocketing. Fetish gear for this month’s Leather Ball could cost a small fortune.



“This year alone we have seen a 30 percent increase in the cost of leather. Last year there was about a 15 percent increase,” says George Giaouris, of Northbound Leather.



Giaouris says that the price increase started when the popularity of leather skyrocketed. Then the twin whammy of mad cow and foot and mouth diseases added to the shortage. Cows in England and elsewhere in Europe were – and are – killed and burned by the thousands.



“When the foot and mouth thing happened that’s when there was a real increase and a real scarcity. We had bought contracts that our suppliers ended up coming back to us and saying that they couldn’t honour the contracts because the price they agreed to sell to us was now lower than what they actually had to pay for the raw materials.”



But Giaouris says that mad cow’s effect on leather prices had to do more with the paranoia it caused.



“When people started hearing about mad cow, they swore off beef, the beef packers stopped producing it and there was less hide going around.”



And Giaouris says that those going to the Sat, Aug 18 Leather Ball can pay thousands of dollars for an outfit.



“The average person going to Leather Ball is wearing approximately $500 worth of leather. And there are people there with over $2,000 worth of leather on, but you can also spend as little as $50.”



Carrie Gray, the owner of Aslan Leather, says she was warned about the jump in the cost of leather a year and a half ago by her supplier.



Gray, who specializes in bondage gear and dildo harnesses, says that in 1996 she paid $6.65 a square foot for “the best leather” – which now costs $9.80 a square foot.



“I used to be able to make a pair of custom pants in just regular leather for $200, now those same pants would cost $300. Leather strap-ons were $50 in 1997, now they’re $80.”



Gray worries that soaring costs will make leather too expensive to buy.



Over at Northbound:



* Leather pants range from just over $200 to the popular five pocket jean style pants for $378

* More intricate pants with bondage straps go for as high as $700

* Chaps go for $300

* Straightjackets made completely of leather sell in the neighbourhood of $500

* Jockstraps and G-strings go for $27 to $79

* Bras are $48 to $70

* Hoods run from about $49 to $200

* Blindfolds generally go for $25, while leather masks start at about $40

* Collars run from $18 to $118 (the more metal, the more labour, the more expensive)

* cuffs are $40 to $50 a pair

* Riding crops are $19 to $40

* Cockrings go for around $6

* Whips range from little $20 genital whips to $110 floggers and bullwhips that go from just under $200 to thousands of dollars.