INTERVIEW: A Recon member chats with the creator of Nasty Pig. Part 2
25 April 2016
New York City based fashion historian Samuel Neuberg (Blackbandana991 on Recon) interviewed Nasty Pig founder and CEO David Lauterstein. Neuberg, a specialist in the history and development of queer subcultural systems of dress, met with Lauterstein at NPHQ to talk about the birth of Nasty Pig, the brand's future and the evolution of NYC fetish.
Samuel: So who were you selling to when you first opened?
David: Friends, people who lived in Chelsea. At the same time at the L.U.R.E. on Wednesday nights an event started up called Pork. Pork started on Thanksgiving of 1994 and we started Nasty Pig in the spring of 1994 and opened in December of '94. Pork was an event where the L.U.R.E. said, 'Okay: young, kinky, no rules.' So you had Pork and Nasty Pig together and really, if you want to talk about the idea of pig within gay culture it started with these two things coming together serendipitously at the same time. So we would go to Pork and we would go to Sound Factory on 27th street which was completely underground after hours and we would wear our stuff and people would approach us. So it started out very just face to face and people would come to our little store and we would have fun with them and entertain them.
S: So the name Nasty Pig has been around since the beginning. Today I think so many men identify or buy into the identity of being a pig and assume it is an identity type that has been around for a long time--but it's really something that's quite new, quite New York, and quite you. How do you feel now that you've reached a level of recognition and success and not just financially and commercially but also that you feel that you've given something back to a community, you've expressed yourself and in doing so allowed other people to find themselves or identify themselves.
D: I love it. It's really rewarding to see people self-identify more with what we do but the most rewarding part is that from 1994 till just a couple years ago a lot of people had a lot of problems with our brands. They still do. They think that being gay and owning your sexuality and being unafraid to explore it is something that reflects badly on who we are as gay people, and from day one when I came out I saw it differently. We always knew it would take 20 years before people caught on to us but being gay is a gift. You have no rules, your sex can be what you want and the non-hetero--in my personal opinion--the non-heteronormative versions of us, it's not that we should just be tolerated or accepted, we are necessary to the fabric of society. I believe that the worst thing that could happen is we all become, you know, married with kids. I want people to have that if they want it but it should not be the gold standard of gay. The gold standard of gay should be a complete acceptance and follow your path. So I'm fucking thrilled to see more and more guys identify with our brand. Forget the commercial and the money, it's personally rewarding because we are beautiful with all of our good and our bad we are valid.
S: So the difference here is that essentially now there's a brand that's not afraid to say this is what we're committing to and catering to and developing for, whereas there wasn't any brand like that previously for giving people a platform.
D: As much as we're rooted in sex, we're rooted in art and love. We are a great experiment in showing gay people that--I'm acting as a mirror; if you see me as this sexed up orgy HIV whatever, that's your projection onto me. That's on you because in reality this is a company that is owned by two men who are very much in love, who are honest, hardworking, tax paying, blue collar, traditional guys. That's the reason why we're gaining popularity. I think that the energy of honesty and authenticity underpins everything else. And the people who get into our brand they feel that love.
S: And now that you are much more on the map than you were before what do you see as your next chapter?
D: What is the next chapter? You know, in terms of product there are many more things that I'd like to make. We want to continue to innovate in this whole fashion/fetish sports gear thing that we started. I don't want to rest on it so I want to make more cool fetish pieces. Ultimately what I would love to do is continue to push forward this fully evolved, culturally relevant thing where we continue to put out great product and that people continue to see more and more that being a nasty pig is both being a gentleman and having a four-way or loving to get fucked; that these things are not opposites, they are two sides of the same identity. I've got these different philosophies, I call it hard and soft: hard in the bedroom, soft when you're not. Show up and be a raging pig but then when you're not hard, be gentle. Then there's another one, and this is the Nasty Pig philosophy: Deals, Heels, Squeals. Capitalism, cutting up, and cock. First deals: pay your bills, be a man of your word, show up, pay your rent, honor your word. So first deals, then heels: play with your friends, go out, celebrate; dance, be joyous. Experience being gay from the joyous and the female energy of release and love. And then squeals: then you fuck. And you do it in that order. Keep those things in that order because you must first and foremost take care of yourself financially and be responsible and then you should always be happy and that's the joyous part. And then have sex and close the night letting that channel through you.
S: Then you're creating clothing that sells that concept for people who understand it and then when they see others wearing the same it serves as a sort of flagging.
D: Yeah. We like to say that our brand is a very private nod in a very public world. I always wanted my brand to be a way of culturally flagging for people whether you're kinky or you just believe in non-conformity.
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