Nasty Pig is many things. For starters, we're a trailblazing brand that makes hot clothes that get you laid. But we're also an art project, a love story, and an expression of the Great American Dream. We're innovators who have created unique and trendsetting products for over 20 years. We're 100% a product of Downtown NYC, and we're worldwide. We're as influenced by hip-hop culture as we are by gay culture. We're two guys - Frederick Kearney and David Lauterstein - who founded a company and found a life together. And we're the team they built to realize their vision. We're in our third decade of kicking ass, and while we're more popular than ever, very few people know our whole story. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
Margaritas always lead to good things
Frederick Kearney and David Lauterstein meet at $1 Margarita Night at the Break on 8th Avenue in Chelsea. Sparks fly. David loses his virginity to Fred, his first boyfriend. Fred loses his heart to David, his last boyfriend. They fall in love. They never look back.
Born at Sound Factory
Nasty Pig is born on the floor of the original Sound Factory on West 27th Street in NYC. David and Fred make their first product, "re:vision goggles" with refractive lenses, which they sell to club kids out of a knapsack. They use the profits to buy fabric, which they then use to make clothes for their friends. While at GMHC's Morning Party on Fire Island, a notable fashion industry executive approaches the couple to compliment them on their looks, which Fred had designed. David turns to Fred and says, "I told you you're amazing. We are starting a clothing company."
Nasty Pig Inc.
We make and sell clothes out of Fred and David's apartment, but we spot a closet-sized 72 square foot store for rent on West 22nd Street. David calls the realtor and finds out the space is $500 per month. David says to Fred "If we can't cover that rent we shouldn't be in business." They tell the landlord they want the space, but to get it they find out they need to incorporate a business. On Halloween 1994 Nasty Pig Incorporated is officially born.
Open for business
Our first store - which we call "re:vision" after the line of sportswear we're selling alongside Nasty Pig at the time - opens on December 24th. It has no bathroom, no air conditioning and no counter. But it's ours. We are open three nights a week and Saturdays. Sundays are optional. That's Fred in the store as seen through the front door in the middle shot. In this rare instance size doesn't matter.
Vinyl and Voodoo
All the clothes we sell are made in Fred and David's apartment - including vinyl pants, rubber superhero tanks, Nasty Pig tee shirts, and our infamous rubber chaps. We deliver our customers more than just clothing. We create the very first gay culture brand in history. People tell us our concept is "business suicide." We tell them "give it a couple of decades."
We quickly outgrow our first store. re:vision moves into a (slightly) larger space in the back of a gift store on 8th Avenue in Chelsea. We keep our lease on our old space and turn it into a voodoo store, where we sell voodoo dolls. We're not kidding. David still has a doll above his desk to this day.
As our business continues to expand rapidly, we outgrow our retail space again and need to find yet another new location. We have our hearts set on a space just around the corner, but it's currently occupied, by a toy store. Knowing the chances are slim, David nevertheless approaches the store's manager to ask if they might possibly be moving soon. As luck has it, they are. A few month's later Nasty Pig's retail headquarters "re:vision" opens at 265A West 19th Street. Having moved our retail operation to a larger space, we transition production to the back of our store. We make the gear in plain sight where our customers can see the work we do first hand.
We perfect the formula for our machine washable Nasty Pig Rubber and turn this material into a full line of innovative fetish gear that fuses old school classic archetypes from the art of Tom Of Finland with new school style influences taken from motocross suits and comic book heroes and villains. We see our looks being worn at underground leather bars and downtown clubs alike.
Having become the brand of choice for the young new school fetish scene emerging in NYC, we decide to bring our line to IML in Chicago. We rent a tiny booth in the vendor mart and sell out of all but four pieces of gear. Thierry Mugler - one of our inspirations and heroes - becomes a customer. We gag. We are still gagging. We love you Mr, Mugler.
One Sunday morning while leaving Twilo, David stops dead in his tracks and says "we need to make rubber sheets!" The rest is history. We introduce one of our most innovative and enduringly popular products, Nasty Pig Playsheets and the response is tremendous. Our machine washable rubber bedding are an immediate hit at IML, where we're on the main retail floor for the first time, thanks to then Coordinator RJ Chaffin - who tells us that we're the "future of the community." RIP RJ...we will never forget you. While at IML, we have the opportunity to meet Richard Hunter, the owner of Mr. S - and forge a partnership that endures to this day.
It's a big year. We hire our first full-time employee, and start selling the Nasty Pig brand to our first retail partners, Mr. S in San Francisco and the Leatherman in New York City.We introduce the NP Jean, our best-selling stretch denim style that we still produce today. Renowned photographer David Morgan shoots them for the product launch and in 2011 they'll be immortalized in the movie "Shame." We're also the first sportswear company in our industry to sell branded jockstraps, which we introduce at IML. We can't keep them in stock. We still can't. We set off another trend that endures to this day.
Graphic illustration of trademark law
We open our first dedicated design studio in an artist's collective above legendary NYC nightclub Twilo, formerly Sound Factory. We are right back where we started and it feels so good.We also learn an important lesson. For the first few years of our graphic tee shirt program, we leaned heavily on parody. Since Nasty Pig customers are usually a good-humored bunch, this is initially a big success. But trouble strikes when Absolut Vodka takes issue with our "Absolute Nasty Pig" shirt. They try to sue us but we get away without having to fork over any cash. Unfortunately, we're not quite as lucky when Major League Baseball sues us for our "Major League Pig" shirt. We lose the lawsuit, but in the end, we're given a gift - the realization that we have to abandon parodies and move our graphics toward our own unique brand vision. We also learn the value of trademark law and take full ownership of our name.
Destruction demands creation
On September 12th, responding viscerally and immediately to the events of the day prior, we close our doors and begin a full gut renovation of our store. David, who was a poetry major in college, writes this poem and posts it in the window of the store while we renovate. re:vision reopens four weeks later. We give our customers something new and beautiful at a time when everything seemed to be crumbling. Their appreciation brings tears to our eyes.
Everything is logistics
As our wholesale business grows, we finally open our first fulfillment center and warehouse. Up until now, we've been servicing our wholesale customers from some odd places - such as David and Fred's apartment, or the back of our retail store. The warehouse pictured is where we ship from to this day.
The Nasty Pig Crew
By 2002, the team we roll with to IML has become a significant part of the way that our brand is perceived. The Nasty Pig Crew are a group of downtown NYC artists - dancers, DJs, voodoo priests - that live the brand and love to sell it. Knowing we have a good thing going, we decide to take the show on the road again, and add MAL in Washington DC to our tradeshow docket.
Working with a new set of bad-ass graphic designers - and establishing a strong tradition of impactful graphics - we relaunch our full line of tee shirts and basketball jerseys, cementing Nasty Pig's presentation as a lifestyle brand.
100% Nasty Pig
Seeing that our clients are identifying much more strongly with the Nasty Pig brand than they are with re:vision, along with the news from our legal team that we can't trademark that name, we decide to focus our energies entirely on Nasty Pig. Henceforth, all our gear is produced and distributed under the NP label. We launch our very first website and start selling Nasty Pig online. We start receiving orders from customers all over the world and are amazed at the global reach of our brand.
Putting up our dukes
As our visual style begins to coalesce, we mount our first full-scale editorial photo shoot, renting a boxing ring at Chelsea Piers and taking a series of smoking hot pictures of Nasty Pig Crewmembers at their pugilistic best. We take the line international, and begin selling to accounts in Europe, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
In keeping with our new focus on the Nasty Pig label, we go back to the drawing table on our brand identity, and end up with the brand mark and visual iconography that we still use today. Our snout logo immediately becomes an identifier with which our customers flag each other. We call it "a private nod in public world."
Day and Play
We reposition the Nasty Pig line to emphasize that our collections work for Day and for Play, and we shoot a campaign that shows off the entire Nasty Pig brand.We take one of our tee shirts, deconstruct it, and turn it into this new thing we call a "shredder." Not only do we create another signature NP style, we add a new word to the language of fashion.
Our customers are supermodels
We relaunch our website and start taking pictures of the hotties who roll through our store on a daily basis and posting them up on the Internet. It's the beginning of one of our best traditions - we turn customers into our models. The tradition continues today on our site and our social properties. We also partner with NYC nightlife impresario Daniel Nardicio and Folsom Street East to throw "BadaBang," the first - and last - gay stripper party at Scores - an infamous Manhattan strip club. The New York Post's Page 6 covers the event. The champagne rooms are scandalous.
Every guy needs some NP undies
After many years selling our branded cotton and rubber jocks - and several phases of research and development - we launch a full line of Nasty Pig briefs, jocks and trunks. Almost immediately, we start hearing that they're the best underwear on the market.
We take the last step to clarify our brand identity, closing our re:vision boutique, remodeling, and relaunching NPHQ as Nasty Pig's flagship store.
Our Schoolboy shoot, the first of many to be photographed by Fred Kearney in our new in-house photo studio, encapsulates the fully evolved Nasty Pig mindset - confident, sexual, and fun-loving.
We keep the product innovation going by introducing the first ever Leg Harness, a product that leads us to continue to believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery hehe. We join Facebook. Since our brand has always been about our long-term love affair with our customers, we're perfectly positioned to jump into social media. Our Facebook page becomes a gallery of our incredible clientele, as well as a place for them to gain instant popularity.
Branded Nasty Pigs
In one of those brand moments that are so incredible that we actually kind of still can't believe it, people start tattooing the Nasty Pig logo on themselves and sending us pictures. We're stunned and honored that some of our customers identify so profoundly and so permanently with us.
Putting our best face forward
During a time when retailers see store windows as an unnecessary expense, we totally up our game and make Nasty Pig windows a Chelsea institution. Racked magazine names us as one of NYCs best retail windows alongside Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Moschino and Paul Smith.
Shred of Hope
Inspired to respond to the wave of teen suicides and to the ongoing bullying problem, we coordinate a sale of special purple Shredders to benefit the Trevor Project. We make the Shredders entirely in-house, and shoulder all overhead costs ourselves, so we can pass on all the money - not just the profits - to charity. Ultimately we generate $1200 for the Trevor Project in a fundraiser we call "Shred of Hope." The shirts sell out in less than an hour.
Nasty Pig beats you senseless
Nasty Pig has always been, at heart, a culture brand - intimately influenced by the art, music and pulse of New York City. So when our first track - David Lauterstein's collaboration with DJ Chad Jack, "eZbreeZ" - went to #1 on certain influential dance charts in 2010, we were beyond thrilled. And we find a new home for our product...iTunes. In 2011, our followup "Gag On It" becomes an international club staple, eclipsing the sales and popularity of "eZbreeZ." David's vocal hook "You gagging on these mother fucking BEATS!" becomes a rallying cry for butch and banjee boys alike.
We create our first video to promote our line of Dominant Jeans. It kicks off a a new medium for us to explore our identity as a brand. Making videos becomes an essential expression of our vision. We join Twitter. Follow us @nastypig.
A new NastyPig.com
Recognizing that our customers around the world are every bit as important as the customers who walk through the doors of our retail flagship, we plan and execute a complete modernization and relaunch of NastyPig.com, allowing our site to better communicate the Nasty Pig in-store experience.
With distribution of our product soaring we launch our Nasty Pig Choice Cuts program, a series of limited edition products made in New York City. Choice Cuts jackets, shirts and accessories become coveted pieces as well as an incredible new creative outlet for our team to show off some of their best work.
After seeing his work on Diplo's "Express Yourself" video, we take a chance and reach out to the director, LilInternet, to see if he'd like to collaborate. He calls the next day and we shoot our Spring 2013 "#iamnastypig" video. We use some of our hottest and coolest customers to star in it, and David Lauterstein writes the music with Chad Jack. Both are big hits with our customers and the video racks up over 150K views.
Shred of Hope 2013
After our success in raising money for the Trevor Project in 2011, we decide to bring Shred of Hope back, bigger and better, as a fundraising campaign for the Ali Forney Center, the largest shelter and advocacy organization for LGBTQ homeless youth. The campaign raises more than $30,000, 100% of which goes directly to AFC programs.
Shred of Hope primarily raised funds through an online auction of celebrity-designed one-of-a-kind Nasty Pig Shredders. Participating celebrities include Adam Lambert, Michael Stipe, Dustin Lance Black, Andy Cohen, Alan Cumming, and John Cameron Mitchell.
Nasty Pig Flagship 4.0
We move our flagship store down the block to 259 West 19th Street. The space goes through a gut renovation and we open on Valentine's Day with a sleek new look. The vibe is very modern and industrial but we keep true to our roots with our voyeuristic dressing rooms. We give our brand the proper home it deserves.
Under the guidance of our Marketing Guru Christian Schraga, and in collaboration with LilInternet, we shoot our first tv commercial for our Fall 2014 "Fuck Your Idols" collection. The spot airs during American Horror Story in NYC and LA. Our customers lose their minds seeing Nasty Pig advertised in such a legit manner.
Our holiday commerical "Give/Receive" runs during AdultSwim once and gets pulled off the air due to a complaint. Gawker picks up the story about the blatant censorship and it goes global. Our CEO is interviewed by Huffington Post Live. Time Warner Cable concedes and not only puts our spot back on TV, they issue an apology to us as well. We graciously accept.
Our Spring 2015 collection "Altered States" is our best selling grouping in history, thanks in part to our first ever national advertising campaign during RuPual's Drag Race. After two decades of building an underground following, Nasty Pig takes center stage.
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Nastiness
We are invited to show our collection at Liberty Fairs, North America's most exclusive business to business mens wear trade show, alongside brands like McQ, Ben Sherman, G-Star and Zanerobe. The men's editor of WWD, our industry's most influential daily trade magazine, stops by our booth to tell us to "keep doing what you are doing. Keep it dark and sexy. You are three years ahead of fashion."
After working quietly with the guys from "King Cobra" for weeks, Keegan Allen tweets a picture of himself and James Franco decked out in Nasty Pig. The press gets hold of it and Nasty Pig gets name checked on the front page of EOnline.
The very next day a picture surfaces on Instagram of Madonna wearing a Nasty Pig Harness Bomber. We are still gagging and will probably do so forever.
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