Although Restraint has quickly become their signature line, to think about Fleet Ilya solely as kinky wear designers would be missing the point. The label artfully walks the line between fashion and bondage, establishing themselves as the new darlings of a long lineage of designers determined to blur any distinction between both disciplines. The result is beautifully handcrafted leather accessories and edgy, modern bondage pieces.
The London-based husband-and-wife team strikes a perfect balance of skill sets. Ilya Fleet brings the craft, product-driven, artistic background, with training in traditional saddle making, whilst Resha Sharma focuses on the design and art direction of the brand (Resha trained as graphic designer at Central St Martin’s). Above all, form and function drive the creative process of the label. These designers are not looking for a gratuitous or cheesy way out.
Fleet Ilya sits much closer to the high-fashion end of the spectrum than your average erotica, with luxury pieces you could wear in and out of your boudoir (or dungeon) of choice. All the designs ooze with desire, from the corset harnesses and paddle to the cuffs and clutches. The dog mask is produced in Italian leather in their South London studio and takes around two and a half hours to craft. Ilya and Resha test each piece to ensure perfect comfort and fit themselves. “The masks were initially designed to fulfill a friend’s fantasy”, Resha explains, “the features are inspired by the Dobermans Ilya had whilst growing up”.
It is clear Fleet Ilya loves pushing boundaries. The label has created a life-size horse armored in leather and also a series of grandiose leather chandeliers for window displays and concept stores.
Interview has been edited and condensed, originally appearing in Four&Sons.