When it comes to men’s fashion, few lines are as willing to push the envelope as Nasty Pig. The New York-based line, which started in 1994, is known for their edgy takes on men’s clothing items, with styles that include not-so-subtle hints of fetish wear. The name alone gives that away.
Their newest line, “Technically Insane,” sprung from the idea that great artists and the insane usually have their share of similarities. The line includes Nasty Pig takes on traditional winter clothes like sweaters and long johns, along with shirts that can be worn year-round and a few items not traditionally thought of as fashionable, like their F-19 Flight Suit (read more about that item below).
We spoke recently with David Lauterstein, co-founder and CEO of Nasty Pig, about the “Technically Insane” line, the history of Nasty Pig, and the oh-so-sexy models used to promote their lines.
What was the inspiration behind the “Technically Insane” line?
Well, the inspiration – well, it really started with the Alexander McQueen exhibit that went on here in New York. My partner and I walked through it, and he was really inspired by this sort of mad genius who’d committed suicide. We began to talk about the idea of artists and great art, and how close they found great artists are very similar to people they consider insane. It started with this idea that insanity is just a technicality, you know, for a lot of great ideas and a lot of vision. And our brand and our customers are kinda crazy, which we love about them.
What in the line are you most excited about?
In this particular line, the pieces that I love the most would have to be the Delusional Fleece sweatshirt, where we knit pieces of yarn. We knit basically pieces of sweater-knit and photograph them, and blew them up, and sublimated them onto a sweatshirt. So we kind of created a sweatshirt that looks like a sweater, but with a yarn that you couldn’t actually knit that big. I love our F-19 Flight Suit, which is a great jumpsuit. When you drop the upper part and tie it around the waist, the arms wrap around under your knees and create kneepads. So it’s sort of a very cool effect. And our Long Johns, ‘cause they’re just sexy and slutty. A lot of guys are wearing our Long Johns as pants here in New York. We see guys just wearing them out, going to get coffee. It’s brilliant.
Speaking of hot guys wearing your clothes, where do you find your models?
They’re our customers. We’re very fortunate to have some very attractive customers. We find our models – really, they walk into our store, and our sales managers keep an eye out for them. The customers show up and tend to be alpha males, and we grab them. I think that’s part of our brand identity: the guys we shoot tend not to be…we’re not shooting porn stars or the latest craze. We like to find real guys. Nothing against porn stars – I sleep with a lot of them!
You certainly have some dedicated fans. Some even go so far as to tattoo the Nasty Pig logo on their bodies. What’s your reaction when you see that?
It’s humbling. It is completely humbling that people believe so deeply in what we do, that they self-identify with us for the rest of their lives. We will never let them down. It’s humbling, and it inspires me to work that much harder, and be that much better. It’s…unreal. It’s ridiculous. It’s amazing.
Since starting Nasty Pig, what are some lessons you’ve learned over the years?
(Laughs) Well, I’ve been in business for a long time, so I’ve learned quite a lot. With business, I would say if I had to pass on one piece of advice…the most important thing, this wasn’t a lesson I had to learn, but the most important thing I’ve always known is that you have to be authentic, and your business has to never stray from being real and honest, and be genuine in what you do. That’s the core of our business. As far as lessons learned, I’d say the most important thing I would tell people is, if you want to start a company, make sure you can own your name. That’s the biggest lesson that I’ve learned, the importance of trademark law. I know it’s a boring answer, but it’s as real as it gets.
Speaking of your name, where did the name Nasty Pig come from?
It’s named after our dog, Piggy. Nasty Pig is named after our Jack Russell that we had when we started the company. And it plays off the idea that men are pigs. We at Nasty Pig just feel it’s good to own those parts of being a pig, but it doesn’t mean you have to be an asshole or stuck-up, you know. So it’s taking the best elements of being a pig and kind of owning that.
What can fans expect to see next from Nasty Pig?
Well, I just finished a fitting of Spring 2013 and Fall 2013. I would say what’s next from Nasty Pig is our constant desire to keep upping our own game. So what they can expect to see from us is something we believe in twice as hard as what we made the last time.