My first awareness of leather harnesses as a fashion item was back the 80's when I got into punk. I saw how punks wore them to subvert the subversive. Fetishwear was commonplace among the more outlandish punks and it's use as fashion, or anti-fashion, bleed into the early 90's with Industrial music, where the associated look was in a similar vein to punk. I didn't wear harnesses back then, as I preferred to explore latex, but I think on some level the aesthetic stuck with me.
I first started wearing harnesses back at the beginning of the blog. They still didn't exist outside of fetish shops at this point and so I was making my own crude versions from thick elastic.
When the first brands appeared who were making them as a bona fide accessory, I honestly didn't expect the whole thing to last, yet here we are many, many years later and new brands designing their own take on the leather accessory appear with relative regularity. In the blogging world it's sometimes hard to distinguish what's actually mainstream and what's mainstream in our bubble, and I think harnesses are in the latter category. You're never going to see your average Topshop princess wearing one but for the more fashion forward among us they have become a staple accessory to liven up simple outfits.
I recently discovered a Berlin based brand, Perlensaue, doing their own take on it.
The brand was born in Berlin in 2013 and is designed by Nina Kharytonova and Jacob Jungenkrüger. It initially began as a hobby but soon grew into a proper brand. Their latest collection, entitled Industrialization, features stainless steel, sterling silver and handcrafted leather. Bolts, barbells and rivets punctuate the collection and give the familiar harness silhouettes a twist.