“Post Fetish” Designer Zana Bayne is Bringing Leather Harnesses to the Masses

Zana Bayne harness.
Zana Bayne harness.

Since starting her leather harness business in 2012, Zana Bayne along with her co-creative director Todd Pendu have had clients ranging from Rei Kawakubo to Debbie Harry to Beyoncé. In four short years, the 28-year-old has brought the accessory most often associated with punk and SM outside of the bedroom and dark nightclubs and into the limelight. And most recently, she launched a collaboration with the cult HM spinoff Other Stories to really bring her look to the masses. Thanks to Bayne, it wouldn’t be strange to spot a woman in a pink leather choker harness at a holiday party this season.

When did you get your start in fashion? And when did you begin working with leather?
I started a blog back when I lived in San Francisco called Garbage Dress as a way to document all of my creative friends as well as chronicle what I was wearing. I used to joke that all of the clothes I loved looked like they were made from garbage bags and from that the name emerged. It was always a mix of vintage, a bit of avant garde designers, and a lot of stuff that I created for myself to fill in the gaps. I made my first harness as a way to add a waist to oversized clothing while giving a nod to punk SM references. After getting a wildly positive response and a couple of initial orders from blog readers, I continued to experiment with designs after moving to New York in 2009. The project really became a business in 2012 when my partner and co-creative director Todd Pendu joined the company and we’ve been working together since.

Memorable clients:
Rei Kawakubo, Debbie Harry, Beyoncé.

How did your collaboration with Other Stories, which launched in September, come about?
Other Stories approached Todd and me in May of last year here in New York. From the moment we sat down with the team we knew it would be a great fit to work with them. The collection was about balancing strength with femininity, bringing some of our signature lines and silhouettes to the Other Stories woman to go with ready-to-wear pieces that their team were creating. Everything we designed included special details that made the pieces unique to the collaboration.

Do you see interest in your brand ebbing and flowing with trends? Do you think harnesses and such are having a “moment” again?
Harnesses have been on the runway since the ’80s (i.e. Vivienne Westwood, Comme des Garçons, Gaultier) and will probably continue to be. It’s natural that there would be an ebb and flow as that’s the way of fashion in general. The brand luckily isn’t affected very much either way being that we do not have to market to research trends of the moment. We have a consistent product with season-less appeal.

How do you want your clients to feel when they wear your work?
We’ve had our friends and customers tell us about a sense of power and confidence that they feel when wearing our pieces, which is exactly what we hope for.

Three words that describe your look:
Black, shiny, minimal goth.

Style icons/inspirations:
James Bond girls, Siouxsie Sioux, Isabella Rossellini, Poison Ivy.

Daily uniform:
I live in shirt-dresses. In the summer I’ll wear them with wide fishnets, in the winter with leather leggings.

Favorite stores in New York:
Dover Street Market, Opening Ceremony, and Ina.

Where you go for inspiration:

Night-out Look:
Fetish textures, fancy shoes, lots of leg.

Preferred footwear:
Always ankle boots.

Beauty secrets (specific makeup, hair products, bathroom rituals, etc.):
My first job was working at Lush in San Francisco, and I’ve been using their “Ocean Salt” face scrub ever since. I use it at night before I go to bed; it’s a bit intense and it stings, but it works for the softest, clearest skin in the morning.

Best recent discovery:
Glossier stretch concealer.

Fashion pet peeve:

Last purchase:
Earrings from the Pamela Love sample sale, before that two 1940’s black button-down dresses from a vintage store in Las Vegas.

Lusting after:
An entire closet filled with Simone Rocha. Also a tattoo for my right hand since I’m obsessed with symmetry.

What’s always in your bag:
Mini moleskine sketchbook, candy wrappers, MAC Lady Danger NARS Fire Down Below lipsticks.

Something you would never wear:
Blue jeans.

Most prized possession(s) in your closet:
Comme des Garçons coat with leather harness strap from the Fall/Winter 2000 Collection.

Something you’re looking forward to wearing this winter:
Everything leather, of course!

Three things on your most recent mood board:
I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

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