We once lived in a time where if you wanted to stand out you had to look unique. You had to pop out of a crowd and be seen from the other side of the city in something you hand crafted yourself.

The 70s punk scene and 80s hair metal era saw a huge influx of music fans customizing their clothing in order to set a new trend and distance themselves from the suits and yuppies of the day. A lost art that could be making a come back thanks to a handful of badass women in fashion that are restyling the metal world one outfit at a time.

One such woman is the founder of Wicked Lester Clothing. A custom heavy metal clothing company based in the United Kingdom that ships unique one-off designs all over the globe to hundreds of metal lovers every single year.

We spoke to, Janine, the brains behind the designs of Wicked Lester Clothing, to see what it takes to become a Heavy Metal seamstress.

I recently designed for Michael Starr (Steel Panther) and Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth) and they are super fun to work with
- Janine (Owner WLC)

Can you tell us how you got started in the metal fashion industry and why?

I have a degree in fashion styling so the interest has always been there, however, the skill has not. I started by creating pieces for myself that I couldn’t buy elsewhere. I am completely self-taught when it comes to sewing and found my technique through trial and error. Friends asked me to create items for them and it grew from there. Like a little metal seed!

What was your main inspiration for wanting to create Wicked Lester Clothing?

I love metal music and wanted sexy leather clothing I could wear to shows, festival and just doing my food shop! I always liked my wardrobe to be unique, something no one else had that stood out in a crowd. And I wanted every girl to feel that way. There’s something special about knowing it’s the only item like it, it means so much more.

Can you remember the first item of clothing you ever custom made?

Oh shit yes, it was a Motley Crue bodysuit I made from myself from an old shirt. I’m pretty sure It was handsewn! At the time I was so proud and wore it all the time, looking back the change in quality and design is insane. From humble beginnings!

I recently designed for Michael Starr (Steel Panther) and Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth) and they are super fun to work with, totally contrasting styles which is exciting to work from.

Where did you get the name Wicked Lester from?

I am a big fan of KISS, the music, and the style. I read their autobiography and their band name before they officially started was Wicked Lester. It stuck. To me when I think of it I imagine a hot girl at a show called ‘Lester’ decked out in wicked evil leather studded trousers and a skin-tight leather top. I imagine this dream lady every time I design.

Where do you get your inspiration for your designs from?

So many places. Music, catwalk, street style, travel. Sometimes I just see a fabric and then the ideas come flooding into my mind. I tend to sketch designs as they come otherwise they get lost in my brain. I've come across weird bits of hardware that give me ideas to work around. I often have dreams about what I want to make and wake up full of inspiration.

What would you say is the most challenging aspect of what you do?

Juggling everything that comes with running a business as a solo designer. I keep this machine running on my own, often called ‘Janine the machine’.

People don’t realize the sheer amount of daily tasks I have to keep on top of. Design and sewing take priority but just a small list of other jobs include: Fabric shopping, modeling, editing, admin such as emails/website/accounts, social media, editing, shipping, packing, promotion. There’s so much more to this role than just making clothes.

We’ve seen people from all over the world buying and wearing your items, that must be a pretty amazing thing to see?

It’s so crazy, I don’t think I will ever get over it. Always shocked when items head to Japan, Brazil, Israel, New Zealand, Russia. I always think how are these girls coping in faux leather in all these climates!?

Do you have a “Wow” moment from your career so far?

It’s cringe to say but I get a wow moment daily just being able to call this my job. I get as much excitement bumping into girls at festivals in my items as I do creating for bands. It’s such a rush seeing someone in an outfit you created from scratch, I remember every stitch, hammer, and stud set in each piece so to see items in action is a dream come true.

Who would be a dream client to make custom clothing for?

Male - Steven Tyler/Rob Zombie
Female - Lzzy Hale/Maria Brink
I already love their aesthetics, so to be able to contribute and work together on stagewear would be insane!

Do you plan to own your own store at some point?

Not really. I sell all over the world online and a store would only hit one small area. I enjoy working from home too much. But never say never!

What can we expect from Wicked Lester in the future?

More collections, bigger and better than ever. The girls who wear my outfits give me so much inspiration and I love hearing their ideas on what they want to see on the site. Let me know what you want to see and I will put my evil stamp on it!

Visit Wicked Lester Clothing here!

Author Bio: AC Speed

Senior Editor

I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Also a huge gaming nerd! Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!


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