The goal of this “Behind the Picture” series is to explore not only the story behind a certain powerful or interesting rainwear picture but also the person depicted in the picture or the photographer who created the image. All too often a picture is shared online endlessly; the people in the picture are reduced to objects or subjected to speculation about their motivations and feelings, and nobody will ever find out what was really behind the image.
Everyone who is interested in rainwear, or active within a rainwear community, must have come across a picture of the lady featured in this “behind the picture” episode. Besides that she is displayed in the background of the online rainwear community “rainwearcentral.com”, her pictures have been shared, stored, and re-shared many times on social media. It is not often that there are so many pictures, of one specific person, with so many different rainwear outfits, available freely online.
The picture that let me on my quest is one of her sitting on a bed showing a rainsuit that really stands apart. The odd colour of the suit, combined with the shiny finish, would make me think of a fashion brand, but a lack of a visible brand name or logo indicates otherwise. The biggest giveaway that this rainsuit is originally workwear is the lack of a front zipper. A smock, or anorak, that needs to be put on over the head, is very uncommon in regular rainwear but a normal feature in fishery workwear where heavy fishing nets need to be pulled out of the water without getting stuck on a button or zipper at the front of the gear. Most fishermen also don’t have the luxury to wear their gear half-opened, making a zipper unnecessary.
But the rainsuit is not the most mesmerizing part of this picture, there is much more at play. Of course the model immediately captures my attention, as she looks straight at the camera making it impossible to scroll past this picture without making virtual eye-contact. Her pose shows confidence and is sexy, but all in a tasteful way without showing any skin or being suggestive.
My guess is that this picture is taken at a spare room at the top of a house, as the area above the bed is limited by what appears to be roof construction. The neutral background brings more attention to the subject of the picture, which is further enhanced with what is probably artificial lighting that is reflected by the shiny material of both the rainwear and the bed covers. And these bed covers also stand out, as they are probably made for play and not a comfortable night of rest. They perfectly bring that hint of eroticism to the picture without it being over the top and giving it away too quickly.
The lady in the picture is best known under the pseudonym “Rainweargirl”. The picture has been taken by her husband who goes by the matching name of “Rainwearboy”. They live together in South Africa and have been active within the rainwear community for well over a decade. Rainwearboy actually reached out to me with additional information about the rainsuit shown in the previous instalment of Behind the Picture, which featured the Dutch model Eileen in a South-African-made yellow rainsuit. We will talk with Rainwearboy about the featured picture specifically and the rainwear scene in general.
Can you tell a bit more about this specific photo?
This picture shows Rainweargirl in a Maxden rainsuit at our place. We have a guestroom which would sometimes double as the location for taking pictures and this photo is part of a complete series of pictures taken at that same spot. You can see this photoseries as a showcase of our collection with her switching the gear between shots. Below one more shot we took of this rainsuit, now with the hood up.
Many of those pictures are also available on our website; you can recognize them by the black PVC bedsheets visible in the shot. These bedsheets are from betweenthesheets.co.uk (now defunct) by the way, an online retailer that also sold rubber, satin, and silk sheets.
While these pictures were taken indoors, most of the pictures of Rainweargirl show her outdoors in natural light. We would do shoots not only around the house but also on quieter spots in public like the beach or in nature. But in this case we aimed at showcasing most of our collection so the best spot to take consistent pictures and have space for her to put on the next set was indoors.
The specific rainwear she is wearing is this picture seems rather unique, as I have not come across this combination of colour and shiny material before as rainwear here in Europe. Is this locally made?
The rainsuit shown in the picture is a green Maxden yachting suit in 400 grams per square meter PVC. These suits are still available today, as you can see here in the link to a South-African retailer. Below a scan from an old print advertisement of Mr. Farmer showcasing several locally made rainsuits, all with a similar glossy look.
The colour and style are not very common in Europe or America, but in South Africa you will mostly see similar workwear in green or orange. This rainwear is locally made and sold under several different brand names; besides Maxden there is Viking and Samson with similar material characteristics. In harbours you will mostly see this locally made rainwear, although some opt for imported foreign brands like Elka or other Scandinavian brands. Locally made rainwear is actually quite versatile here and even includes special PVC workwear for the mining industry made out of extra heavy-duty PVC with a material weight of 700gr/m. Below a picture of Rainweargirl showing a locally made suit in orange.
For as far as I know the colour combined with the shiny smooth material is relatively unique for South Africa. Over the years it has happened regularly that people from around the globe have contacted us with a request to distribute some South African rainwear as it is hard to come by outside of this region. So while you might see some similar suits being shown by European or American models, there is a good chance it is actually a South African made rainsuit. Previously you posted a picture of the Dutch model Eileen on your site showing a shiny yellow suit, I am pretty sure it was made here and I might have had a hand in getting it to Europe. I’ve also send a South African emerald green suit to fetish-memoirs which has been used in several rainwear-related photoshoots since then, with one example from their website shown below.
Can you tell me a bit more about you distributing locally made rainwear around the globe, is this part of an enterprise you are running?
No, this was not a for-profit business or anything, just people contacting us directly online asking if we could assist buying some of the gear they had seen Rainweargirl wear in photoshoots. Actually there has never been a commercial incentive behind what we have been doing. Many of the pictures we took we have been sharing online, for free. Everyone who was interested could find these pictures and enjoy them. When we met in 2004 she started modelling rainwear for me and we just came up with the pseudonyms Rainweargirl and Rainwearboy. As the url of rainweargirl.com was available we bought it and published the pictures mostly there.
Since the start we have been building up a collection of rainwear, and the requests to send locally made gear around the globe was actually very helpful with that. Instead of asking for a payment to buy the gear, we would trade it against rainwear made locally in the country of the person asking us to send some. Besides that we made some great trades over the years, it is also a lot of fun to see pictures of one of our rainsuits pop-up online from the other side of the globe. Not only did we purchase rainwear locally and traded with other rainwear enthusiasts, there were also occasions where someone would send us raingear for Rainweargirl to wear and pose in for pictures. All together we have built up quite the collection over the years. Below a picture of Rainweargirl wearing maybe our favourite rainwear item: a Florenz Kunzman latex raincoat that we traded against several Maxden rainsuits.
You have been active within the rainwear community for many years; can you tell a bit more how the scene has changed over time?
The first time I came across a rainwear community must have been somewhere in 1997. Back then there was no google yet and finding this obscure site discussing rainwear was a real eye-opener for me. Till then I always thought my interest in rainwear was unique, but finding a group of like-minded people online taught me I was not alone. The site was hosted on a forum site with a very long URL making it very difficult to find. At some point the forum was terminated, which is when I created rainwearcentral.com. The site rainwearcentral.com has existed ever since, even though I do not post too much myself there anymore. These days I mostly pay the hosting bills, keep the software up to date, approve membership requests, and combat the spammers on a continuous basis.
In the early days of the internet things obviously worked differently. The rainwear community was more text based as the number of pictures available online was very limited, self-made pictures were hard to upload to a site, and it took long for user to load a picture-heavy page on a modem. That changed over time with digital cameras, sites where you could upload pictures, and quicker internet connections. When Rainweargirl and I started the photoshoots and posting our pictures we actually hoped more couples would follow by posting interesting rainwear-related pictures for all to share and enjoy, but those hopes have diminished over the years.
While it is much easier to make and upload pictures today, the internet has also become so commonplace that people get hesitant to share their pictures and information online. If someone would now post rainwear pictures of themselves online without taking efforts to stay anonymous, there is a good chance it will spill over to other parts of their life even though they never intended that. Think friends, enemies, employers, or family members finding out about your interests and treating you differently because of that.
That is not to say finding images, and videos, of rainwear is harder now that a decade ago. With social media, google images, and many rainwear communities you will have an almost endless supply of rainwear pictures at your fingertips. Unfortunately much of the current-day rainwear content is heavily commercialized. Maybe the odd picture is available for free, but the rest is hidden in private groups or behind a paywall on Patreon or OnlyFans. While for some of the content creators it is still a labour of love, there will be people who just smell an opportunity to make some extra money and lean towards the rainwear community under the pretence to find it interesting and sensational. In my view the golden-age of free online rainwear content sadly has passed.
Thank you very much for your insights and sharing the background of the picture of Rainweargirl. Is there any place people can follow you and Rainweargirl?
While we have started creating content in 2004, and sharing it for free on Rainweargirl.com, the updates have come to an end in 2018. The reason for that is that Rainweargirl became pregnant. Now life as a mother is demanding meaning it leaves less time to focus on this hobby. Besides, we feel like the era to be active within the rainwear community has passed a bit for us. A long time ago we have had talks about how long we would continue creating content, and one of the things Rainweargirl mentioned that she would stop as soon as she would not feel “sexy and young” anymore in rainwear. Below a picture of her wearing a locally made PVC raincoat combined with a pair of red rubber boots.
The site Rainweargirl.com has become static, showing a variety of our favourite pictures of her, and her YouTube channel has not been updated since 2018 either. We don’t post much on forums anymore. That does not mean our interest in rainwear is gone, we still have a nice collection and enjoy it when possible, but our online presence will probably slowly fade away over time.
It was fun to work along with this interview though, and hopefully it sheds some light on who we are and what our goals were to share the pictures in the first place. The online rainwear community is still dear to us and will probably stay a part of us forever.