German fashion company Benno von Stein has a modern, black version of the traditional “Lederhose” in its collection. Benno von Stein describes leather as “seductive” and its designs as an expression of their “love of leather, the very first material to clothe humankind - a material which infuses every sense, and satisfies every need.” They “have never had the slightest intention to clothe the masses, because our garments are only intended for a select few.”
It is clear to those who have read these words on www.bennovonstein.com that Von Stein’s short leather pants do not have a traditional appeal, but are meant for fetish lovers. These “chastity shorts” are equipped with “two front locking zippers - when the flap is open, it exposes genitals and snap closures. Across the back a two way zipper with two locks.”
Even though Benno von Stein is not specifically targeting gay men, I can’t imagine a true-blue straight guy would get dressed in such chastity shorts. But maybe I’m wrong, and are straight men more creative when it comes to clothing than I think. And things are not made easy for them. About two years ago, the then twenty-eight-year-old Michael was wondering on the forum Paradisi.de whether he could wear leather jeans, because his wife was of the opinion that only gay men wear leather pants.
The reactions were of course very diverse, but the subject of leather pants as a gay garment is still of topical interest, at least in Germany. In November 2012, a woman asked on Kleider Kreisel: “Men in Leather Pants = Gay?” This question had 112 responses, one of them being “gay is the last thing I would think of: Bikers, Rockers, Metal fans...” Another person says: “hard rockers, or SM queens, or incurable Bavarians, nonsense, my God, people should be able to wear whatever they want!” And there are some who think men wearing leather pants are in the middle of a mid-life crisis, but fortunately someone says: “Men in leather pants are hot!”
This discussion is about leather pants, but it would be interesting to see how it would develop it were about the short “Lederhose.” The “Lederhose” is native wear in Upper Bavaria, Allgäu, Austria and South Tyrol (or Alto Adige) in Italy, but not in Switzerland. Traditionally, the leather shorts that leave the knees free are work wear or leisure wear for working-class men, because they were more durable than a fabric garment and easier to clean. They were also worn to hunt, and are still normal uniform gear for the rangers of the Munich police (Reiterstaffel). You can only come to the conclusion that the original leather short is pre-eminently masculine clothing!
Gay men have always been disposed to eroticise masculine clothing, as becomes clear from the pornographic popularity of policemen, construction workers, soldiers, sailors, and other men who cannot be softies in their professions. Not surprisingly, the charity calendar “Men of the Alps” is rather popular (all previous editions are sold out). Unfortunately until further notice, the last edition of this calendar was published recently. After nine editions and more than 100,000 Euro raised for charity, twenty-one boys and men from the Alps bid farewell to the fans of the project.
With the 2014 edition, the makers want to raise at least another 20,000 Euros. Just like last year, the money will benefit the HIV/AIDS support centers in Munich (Münchner Aidshilfe e.V.) and South Tyrol (Pro Positiv – Südtiroler Aidshilfe) and the DEBRA Foundation (Schmetterlingskinder).
Most of the pictures for the new edition were made in South Tyrol, but like every year, two special photos were made in Bavaria with Stefan and Markus from the countryside near Berchtesgaden, and in Austria with Christopher and Alexander from Tyrol. The calendar has been produced on a completely voluntary basis. All participants in front and behind the camera have waived financial rewards, in order for the total net revenue (profit minus print and shipping costs) to go to charity. A Making-of video of the 2014 edition can be seen on http://vimeo.com/74738900.
The calendar can be ordered via the website www.men-in-the-alps.com for only 15.00 Euro plus shipping
and is in Amsterdam available at Gays & Gadgets and Vrolijk.