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IML 2022 - International Mr. Leather & International Mr. Bootblack are Back!

by Bryan Schultz July 07, 2021 3 min read

announcement International Mr. Leather (IML) 2022 is back!

We are excited to announce that International Mr. Leather (IML) and International Mr. Bootblack (IMBB) are returning to Chicago after a two-year break! IML was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But mark your calendars! The next IML will be held on Memorial Day weekend in Chicago on May 26-30, 2022 at the Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center.


What is International Mr. Leather (IML)?

International Mr. Leather (IML) is an international conference celebrating the leather, kink, fetish, and BDSM community. Since 1979, this annual event in Chicago over Memorial Day Weekend in May has hosted a four-day celebration of all things gay male leather. The conference includes a leather vendor mart, workshops, lots of parties, and of course the main events - the International Mr. Leather contest and International Mr. Bootblack competition. Proceeds from the event support the Leather Archives and Museum (LA&M) and Renslow Charitable Foundation.


Who is Mr. IML?

The last Mr. IML, Jack Thompson, was crowned in May 2019 during International Mr. Leather 2019. Jack Thompson will hold onto the title until IML 2022 is held next year.


What is International Mr Bootblack (IMBB)?

The International Mister Bootblack (IMBB) Competition is a separate contest that runs throughout the IML weekend. Bootblack contestants perform bootblacking services throughout the weekend. Each year the International Mr. Bootblack is selected by a panel of judges and ballots from the attending community.

IMBB 2019 winner Kriszly de Hond being presented with a Fractal Belt

IMBB 2019 Winner Kriszly de Hond being presented with a custom fit Fractal Belt as part of his prize


Planning to attend IM 2022

We've exhibited at IML in Chicago every year since 2009 as part of the leather market. We look forward to seeing friends and fans from around the world at IML 2022! If it's your first time attending the conference, here are a few tips about what to wear and how to prepare for an amazing weekend.


What to wear at the event

A big part of attending IML is what you wear for the weekend, even more so if you are participating as a contestant in one of the competitions. At IML 2019 there were a record 68 contestants vying for the title, so if you want to stand out plan to dress to impress the judges and your fellow leathermen.

The leather vendor mart is open all four days of the event in case you need to shop for something to wear for the competition. Market hours for IML 2022 are TBD, but typically the market is busy all weekend long. Friday tends to be less crowded and the best day to stop by for more leisurely shopping.

Obscure Belts booth has a little belt workshop set up at the leather market so we can custom fit your belt while you wait. If your belt is for competition, be sure to wear your formal leathers down for the best fit. You can't miss us in the market, we are always next to our friends from Tribal Son, makers of one of a kind silver jewelry.


Best Selling belts at IML

Here are our top selling belts at IML over the years:

dark gunmetal dial belt buckle on black handmade leather belt

Satin Gunmetal Dial on Black Leather Belt

Excalibur Kraken Octopus Buckle on Black Handmade Leather Belt

Aged Excalibur on Black Leather Belt

Excalibur Kraken Octopus Buckle on Grey Distressed vintage Leather Belt

Aged Excalibur on Grey Distressed Leather Belt


Shop All Black Leather Belts


Hope to see you at IML 2022!

We can't wait to rejoin the leather community next May for International Mr. Leather. It is our favorite event of the year, and for good reason! It is a welcoming celebration of leather and the community of men who enjoy it. Hope to see you there wearing your best leather outfit and one of our unique leather belts.



Oops! Were you looking for information on Mid-Atlantic Leather? Don't worry, we'll be there too!

What is MAL in DC?

MAL (Mid-Atlantic Leather) is an annual conference organized by Centaur MC that has taken place in January in Washington, DC since 1973. MAL is the second largest leather conference in the United States, after IML.

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