Expertise with laser cutting latex opens up fashion market

Sept. 6, 2013
Cutting Technologies has used laser cutting to produce delicately patterned latex for lingerie on display at Paris Couture Fashion Week.

Barugh Green, Barnsley, UK - A laser cutting and engraving firm is finding work in an unexpected sector after perfecting a tricky laser cutting technique.

Originally developed to meet an order for laser cut neoprene rubber sheets for an electronics company, Cutting Technologies has now transferred its skills to laser cutting latex.

The move has opened up the glamorous world of high-end latex fashion and fetish wear design. Last month, Cutting Technologies' work was on display at Paris Couture Fashion Week in Charlie Le Mindu’s Gold Sabah collection.

The milliner to the stars collaborated with exclusive latex fashion designer Atusko Kudo for the show, which combined statement sculptural pieces using real human hair and luxurious gold leather, silk, and couture latex.

Cutting Technologies employed its specialist skills in laser cutting to produce delicately patterned latex used to make lingerie by Atsuko Kudo, a pioneering latex fashion designer who has dressed celebrities such as Lady Gaga and developed a pop-up shop in London’s Selfridges.

"Latex is a notoriously tricky substance for laser cutting – the heat of the lasers returns the latex to its natural wet stateso we had to experiment with various solvents and applications," said Jane Robinson, co-founder and director at Cutting Technologies.

“Through a process of trial and error, we eventually mastered the art of laser cutting latex," she continued. "Whilst laser cutting has been used on latex before, it’s only been on small pieces for applique-type effects. Being able to laser cut using our large bed 3 x 2 m machine meant that we could look at laser cutting latex on a large scale."

The company's first chance to show the possibilities of this technique came when it produced some samples for fetish-wear brand Cathouse Clothing. "The effects were superb and we showcased some of the garments at our Enlightened exhibition earlier this year. When Atsuko Kudo asked us to produce some items for the Paris Couture Fashion Week show, we were delighted to be involved."

“People often think that laser cutting is all about traditional manufacturing. This latest development in our work just shows that the sky really is the limit for our machines. It’s surely only a matter of time before the likes of Lady Gaga herself is sporting latex laser cut by Cutting Technologies!” Robinson said.

"Cutting Technologies delivered superb work for us, interpreting our designs perfectly and working round the clock to ensure we got what we needed for the Paris show," added Simon Walter Hoare, co-director of Atsuko Kudo. "They are leading the way in creative laser cutting and using their skills to push artistic boundaries, making them an ideal company for designers like us to work with.”

Cutting Technologies employs 30 people at its 18,000 sq ft warehouse.

About the Author

David Belforte | Contributing Editor

David Belforte (1932-2023) was an internationally recognized authority on industrial laser materials processing and had been actively involved in this technology for more than 50 years. His consulting business, Belforte Associates, served clients interested in advanced manufacturing applications. David held degrees in Chemistry and Production Technology from Northeastern University (Boston, MA). As a researcher, he conducted basic studies in material synthesis for high-temperature applications and held increasingly important positions with companies involved with high-technology materials processing. He co-founded a company that introduced several firsts in advanced welding technology and equipment. David's career in lasers started with the commercialization of the first industrial solid-state laser and a compact CO2 laser for sheet-metal cutting. For several years, he led the development of very high power CO2 lasers for welding and surface treating applications. In addition to consulting, David was the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Industrial Laser Solutions magazine (1986-2022) and contributed to other laser publications, including Laser Focus World. He retired from Laser Focus World in late June 2022.

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