Everyone has a fetish and this woman is just helping them dress for it. Australian designer Teale Coco began designing bondage and goth inspired clothes at the age of 20 after modeling in New Zealand, Korea and Japan. She calls herself a rebel and designs fashionable fetish wear- including harnesses, underwear and jewelry- that is only limited if someone isn’t brave enough to wear them. The dark side of her designs, she says, opens up doors that no one ever knew existed before.
The world of fetishes and sexuality has been broken open since the rise of books like the Fifty Shades of Grey series, but Coco’s designs are not words on pages, or movies with creatively angling to block out the most risqué aspects of the designs. In fact, Coco’s work is blatant and blunt with it’s fetishism and undiluted sexuality. While she says she enjoys dark ideas for their mystery, her designs are anything but mysterious and instead are well into the territory of NSFW.
This does not change the fact that her Tumblr and Instagram have gained mass amounts of followers, creating a nearly cult-ish following that flood in to see her strangest and sexiest designs. Her Instagram @tealecocothebrand, has over 104 thousand followers, and her personal Instagram is nearly at 100 thousand, as well. It was less than a year after she first began to publicize her designs that even celebrities like Kat Von D made a purchase of her work. Other celebs who have been drawn to her page are people like FKA Twigs, Skrillex, Azaelia Banks and Christy Macks.
While the majority of her designs harness women, show them in provocative positions while strapped into leather metal, Coco says that her designs are actually meant to liberate and free the people wearing them. These days, she says, people should be able to express themselves in any way that they like and her designs allow them to do just that. She also discusses her time as a model in Melbourne, and the tendency of the fashion industry to design for solely the model bodied women. Her designs buck this trend and are made to fit real women, no matter their size or shape. The designs do not adhere to any size scale, as she deems these structures as a way to warp women’s views of themselves. Coco has discussed the lack of people willing to work to change the industry and society, but says that her designs will empower those who are willing to wear them.
Surprisingly, the people who follow Coco’s accounts come from all walks of life. Along with other shifts in society’s mindset towards fetishes and bondage, her work has become more acceptable in the mainstream of many people’s lifestyles, perhaps attributed to a new wave of liberation and sexual freedom.
Is her work a form of artistic, personal expression? It definitely walks the line of appropriate and erotic. The designs commercialize what was once a shamed and provocative subculture. Given that there are celebrities buying her product, they are obviously gaining widespread notice. The sole backlash has been from those who are discomforted by the bondage and the sexuality of her designs, and those who shy away from such provocativeness.
There are those who have said that Coco is a follower of the devil, not discouraged by the 666 she has tattooed on her butt, however she rebukes this idea. First, she says that the devil does not exist, and moreso, that if he did, he’d be worshipping her. In her world and reality, she says only hell exists and that her designs and risqué, provocative clothing are the only way she can find a sanctuary from it all.
These designs push boundaries and are far within most people’s comfort zones, but with all of those followers and growing cult-ish fanbase, it is obvious that Coco has a product that has a place in our society. But what is it closer to? Yes- the designs present an aspect of liberation and freedom from societal ideal and push the boundaries in their own artistic way, but they also represent an erotic subculture best known for being NSFW, crass and erotic. In the end this decision depends on the person. As long as business continues to boom for Coco and her strange designs, it would appear that the consensus of people would point to the answer. This fetish wear has become a new form of expressive art, coveted by many and horrifying a few.