Suffer For Fashion


Written by Barney Cox
14 Sunday 14th October 2012

Say what you will about our ancestors, they were certainly no strangers to pain. Whether they were pasting their faces with poisonous lead paints, donning ‘vatermoder’ (father-killer) collars at the risk of asphyxiation, squeezing their waists into organ-punishing corsets, or being swept out to sea thanks to their ginormous hoop skirts, they risked their lives (literally!) in order to achieve that season’s must-have look. Whilst these days we are no longer expected to kill ourselves in the name of high-fashion, a good deal of suffering will have to be endured to pull off the following looks. We take a look at some of the most eye-wateringly painful trends around. Ouch! 


The Faveo Freedom Bra:

According to the manufacturers of the bra, this particular product is ‘surprisingly’ comfortable. Whilst that may be the case, it sure doesn’t look it. A piece of elastic goes around each breast, squeezing them into elongated and frankly bizarre shapes. It doesn’t exactly scream ‘comfort’, and we’re struggling to see the appeal: unless, of course, you want your boob to look like the nose of a cartoon dog.


Wearable Weapons:

From designer Carrie Mae Rose comes her ‘wearable weapons’ range. Rose has created jewellery out of scissors, razor blades and the spiked leaves of the agave cactus. Whilst they may not be everybody’s cup of tea, they certainly are striking! Besides, nothing says ‘approachable’ better than wearing a large quantity of sharp metal tools around your neck and looking like you’ve stumbled straight off the fogged streets of Silent Hill (pyramid helmet optional).


Head Armor:

Sorely missed and much-lauded fashion designer Alexander McQueen came up with these eye-catching (and slightly mental) creations for his Fall 2009 show. Imagine if, after using the classic line “Let me just slip into something a little more comfortable”, you leave your beau waiting patiently, go into the bedroom, and return wearing one of these. Also great for weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs and your parents’ anniversary dinner. Just make sure you don’t catch your hair as you take it off.


Ballet Toe Boots:

So, you’ve gotten yourself a torture bra, and, obviously, you’re looking pretty darn cool. “But what shoes do I wear with it?” we hear you cry! “My footwear is just not painful enough!” Well, look no further and allow us to introduce you to the ballet toe boots. Starting off as the must-have footwear for fetish performers and risqué cabaret artists, these shoes have since crossed over into the mainstream with Beyoncé donning them for her I Am… Sascha Fierce publicity photos. Most of said photos, however, picture Beyoncé lying down, and we don’t blame her: just looking at these boots make our feet spasm in pain!


Torture Couture:

Unimaginable physical and psychological torture? So hip, fresh, so now dahleng! In 2008, Dior designer John Galliano released his highly wearable 'Prisoner of War' fashion collection, which took as its ‘inspiration’ the horrific atrocities committed against detainees at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison. For the show, Galliano had his models wear hoods and frayed nooses, and their bodies were made to look bloodied, beaten and scarred. Surprising it took so long for him to be sacked!

Don't Panic attempt to credit photographers and content owners wherever possible, however due to the sheer size and nature of the internet this is sometimes impractical or impossible. If you see any images on our site which you believe belong to yourself or another and we have incorrectly used it please let us know at and we will respond asap.