Why condoms are this year’s sexiest accessory for luxury brands

This year’s most alluring accessory? Condoms.

After a period of declining sales, rubber gloves are finally receiving some affection as fashion brands embrace the promotion of safe sex with playful collections that place condoms at the center of their designs.

Nicolò Scala, the global brand marketing manager for Durex, expressed their mission to destigmatize conversations around sex and sexuality on a global scale. He stated, “We are actively working worldwide to normalize discussions about sex and sexual health. Featuring condoms in more mainstream contexts highlights the growing recognition of safe sex as a culturally and socially significant concern.”

The UK-based sexual wellness brand, Roam, introduced a range of condoms in various skin tones earlier this year, aiming to challenge the stigma associated with shopping for sexual health products.

In May, Julia Fox, aged 33, made a daring fashion statement by donning a sheer tube top made from condoms, paired with matching boots and a bag.

Shortly thereafter, a visibly pregnant Rihanna captured attention by donning an oversized t-shirt bearing the message “USE A CONDOM.”

Saint Laurent unveiled a gold-wrapped condom adorned with their logo, retailing for just over $5, while Neil Barrett introduced a limited-edition leather condom case priced at $55.

Durex and Diesel debuted an unlikely partnership earlier this year, constructing a cherry-red condom mountain to serve as the centerpiece of the clothier’s catwalk at Milan fashion week.

The bold showcase was succeeded by the brands’ capsule collaboration, named “For Sucsexful Living” as a playful twist on Diesel’s iconic “For Successful Living” mantra. This collaboration showcased a hybrid logo combining both companies, which was prominently featured on jeans, t-shirts, and hats.

“Durex stands as the foremost global brand in the realm of intimate wellness, leading the charge in fostering conversations about sexual liberation and freedom, thrusting these topics into the cultural spotlight. This is precisely what we achieved through our collaboration with Diesel,” Scala elaborated.

“These two iconic brands joined forces to amplify and extend Diesel’s message of sex positivity, as showcased at Milan Fashion Week, in harmony with Durex’s fundamental principle of embracing one’s authentic sexual identity.”

Following the runway presentation, Durex introduced its cutting-edge condom customization system, offering tailored rubber options for a superior fit. This innovative system emerged from a comprehensive UK-based study conducted by the company, revealing that a majority of men continued to purchase “regular” fit condoms despite requiring a different size.

High fashion has always been renowned for its capacity to challenge conventions, often straddling the line between the extraordinary and the ingenious. This promotion involving prophylactics is no exception.

“A significant aspect of fashion has, and will always be, to provoke, push boundaries, and make a profound statement,” noted Yasemin Emory, co-founder of the sexual health brand Jems, in an interview with The Guardian.

Once considered a taboo topic, discussions about sex, particularly safe sex, have been propelled into the mainstream, coinciding with a concerning increase in rates of sexually transmitted infections following the pandemic.

Research has indicated a troubling decline in safe-sex practices, with many individuals opting for alternative methods of contraception over condoms.

In contrast, the younger generation, Gen Z, appears to be shifting away from casual hookups, with young women increasingly abandoning hormonal birth control due to health concerns. This, coupled with Gen Z’s more open approach to discussing sex, creates the ideal conditions for a resurgence in condom use.

Yasemin Emory, speaking to The Guardian, emphasized the importance of normalizing these conversations and promoting safer sex, asserting that such efforts will contribute to a revival in condom use.

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