Today was my last day at our old apartment and home studio. More than my home for the last ten years, this is where my best friend and I completed our very first production run around the kitchen table, where hundreds (maybe even thousands) of harnesses and chokers were patterned, cut, hammered and riveted into being, where I let myself dream of things that seemed impossible, where I nearly punched a hole in the ceiling from jumping so high when I saw Lady Gaga wearing my bralette...this was the place where UNCUFFED was born.
I've never shared this story because I haven't fully made sense of it myself, but it feels like the right time to at least try.
Let's go back in time, to about six years ago. I had a wonderful partner, the most incredible friends and a job I loved, but I kept feeling this ping of unfullfillment, no matter how hard I tried to push it away. After doing a bit of self work, I realized that I missed being creative and getting my hands dirty. I had painted all through my childhood and into my early twenties but then stopped pretty abruptly. At the time, I didn't feel like I had anything left to express or explore as a visual artist, but the idea of parlaying that creativity and self expression into something fashion-related had tremendous appeal for me.
I didn't know how to sew well and the idea of learning to use an industrial machine freaked me out so I somehow deduced that leatherwork was the answer. Over the coming weeks I took one leather-working class where I made a belt (with a fair bit of assistance) and watched a lot of online tutorials.
One evening, I felt ready to start playing around. I didn't have any ideas or sketches, I was just planning on trying out some of the techniques I've seen online. This is where things get a little more difficult to explain.
To this day, I don't really have an explanation for what happened - just a lot of gratitude. Was it a guardian angel, a close friend who recently passed or a higher power guiding? I truly don't know, but it certainly felt like something magical happened that night.
I remember sitting at my kitchen table and getting overwhelmed as I stared at leather scraps and tools that I had recently purchased but wasn't entirely sure how to use. The rest of the night is a blur. By the time the sun came up, there was a finished harness on my table with hand cut, shaped and molded roses. I still can't really remember how it happened if I'm being completely honest - but I couldn't shake the feeling that this was the start of something that would change my life.
This pic is from that morning, taken at around 6am. My first ever harness.