One of London’s oldest fetish clothing stores, Regulation, has relocated from its longtime home in Islington into the heart of Soho in Bateman Street. Peter Cooke from Regulation spoke to us about the big change and our photographer Chris Jepson captures the exciting new store in pictures for us.
Hi Pete, can you tell us some of the history of Regulation and how it all started in 1991?
Regulation was started by two friends, primarily as a fetish wear store, in the early 1990s when London saw the growing emergence of fetish and kink events. Back then the store featured all sorts of items from military surplus to PVC and even a small selection of womenswear. Over time we’ve refined the clothing we produce and increased our selection of BDSM and fetish related products dramatically.
Why have you moved the shop to Soho?
Well, after 27 years in Angel our lease was coming to an end and sadly our building was due for redevelopment. More luxury flats of course. I think we were lucky to be there for quite so long but ultimately we wanted to keep the retail store open at the end of the lease so scouted a few different areas in London to see where we’d fit. Our main criteria was ease of access. With its rich LGBT history we felt Soho was a natural destination for many of our customers and close enough to some major tube stations for tourists.
Can you tell us about the new Bateman Street shop and describe its layout and facilities?
The new store is split over two levels with primarily BOXER Barcelona gear and leather on the ground level and more explicit items along with rubber in a rather expansive basement. We’ve all the same facilities as before which include our bespoke gear services, alterations and in store collections. We’ve designed some great fitting rooms in collaboration with Pink Mince to make trying on gear fun and comfortable. It’s also the first time we’ve had a store window so we’re looking forward to creating some fun and creative displays in the future.
Is it the same team as in Islington?
Mostly yes. We’ve a few new excellent team members due to the extra hours we’re open in the evenings.
You are known for producing much of your leather, rubber and latex clothing yourselves, can you tell us about your bespoke services?
We’re fortunate in that we make most of our rubber and leather clothing in our workshop in North London. Turn ups on jeans can often be done in store while you wait but in our workshop we really can produce most types of garment to your size and preferred design. We offer a lot of off-the-peg fetish wear and have increased size ranges on a number of popular products but sometimes customers want something that little bit more fitted and unique. Customers can book a custom fit appointment on our website or pop in store where one of our team can usually help.
Can you tell us about your relationship with bondage company Fetters?
We acquired Fetters in 2015 and it’s now part of our two brand family. Fetters make a great range of high quality bondage items in their workshop in Warwick including heavy duty BDSM furniture for bondage clubs and home dungeon spaces. We stock all of Fetters’ brand product on our website and have many of their popular products in our London store. We’re aiming to increase the range of Fetters restraints available and make it more of a Fetters destination in London. It’s part of trying to make Regulation a prime destination for kink and fetish with a focus on authentic BDSM play.
What do you expect to be your bestselling products or ranges at Regulation in 2019?
Our catsuit is still one of our most popular items for both heavy play or clubbing so I think customers will still enjoy ordering and customising their suits. There are also some new products that I’m hoping will be very popular later this year but I can’t really say too much about them right now.
How have the BDSM community’s shopping requirements changed over the years?
Undeniably, interest in the Pup Play scene has expanded dramatically along with the appetite for pup products. Trends in fetish gear also change over the years, especially in the rubber scene with an increase in influence from sports fashion and even superhero films. Overall, I’d say that the appetite for BDSM products has grown within the gay community and it’s definitely not the Fifty Shades effect! As LGBT people come out with more confidence of who they are and with more platforms to share their identities, it seems what they’re willing to explore is bolder than I’ve ever seen before. It’s fantastic.
Can you choose three of your personal favourite Regulation products for us?
Leather Jeans in “Kuhseide” Hide – I love my leather jeans and the Kuhseide hide is really smooth and beautiful. A good pair of jeans leather will last decades and these are one of my favourite purchases.
VacRack – There’s nothing quite like the sensation of latex pushing against you at all angles. A real headtrip to experience for bondage freaks and one that I personally love.
Limited Edition Pin Badges – A little passion project of mine because I’ve enjoyed working with some great LGBT illustrators and fetish artists to create some one-off badge designs.
Finally what Regulation items can a Boyz reader start with who’s never tried BDSM?
Well, we get intrepid beginners in store often and we try to get a picture of what gets them off to tailor our recommendations. As a good beginner staple I’d recommend a good set of leather wrist cuffs and soft hemp rope. There’s a lot you can do with those and a bit of imagination and even online tutorials. You’ll find that most of our ranges have entry level products that are great to get you started, whether it’s electro sex toys or crops and paddles. Our in-store or online team are always happy to provide information if you need help to dip your toe into something fun.
Photos by ChrisJepson.com