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Nasty Pig, a masculine sportswear line with an unabashed fetish edge to it, is in its 18th year of existence. That means the high school boys who sometimes come into their retail store on 19th street in New York City might be younger than the brand itself. Quite an achievement, then, for this unique brand to have stayed true to itself for so long.
See what Nasty Pig is all about by strolling through our gallery of some of our favorite photos of theirs, and then read on to find out how Nasty Pig got it’s name, who’s buying their product, and how they’ve managed to stick around so long.
With a name like Nasty Pig, you might be unsurprised to learn that the brand has a connection to a raunchy, sexual subculture of some kind. “It’s our version of fetish,” explains David Lauterstein, the CEO of Nasty Pig. What you might not know is why they chose that exact name: “Nasty Pig is named after our dog – her name is Piggy,” says Lauerstein.
The brand’s no bitch, though. “We base our belief system on the idea that men are pigs. So it’s about owning those attitudes, but at the same time rejecting the negatives of it. You should own those parts of your sexuality, but you shouldn’t be an asshole. A guy can be cocky but that should stem from the fact that you’re a good person. That’s how we’ve built our following without any branding or advertising at all over the years.”
And what a following: guys who buy Nasty Pig swear by the brand so much that many send Nasty Pig pictures they take of their Nasty Pig logo tattoos, which Lauerstein says is no longer a rare occurrence. But there’s also the moms who will buy the brand’s briefs for their sons, or the girlfriends who will see Nasty Pig jocks on the go-go boys at a night out and then buy a pair for their boyfriends. Even for a brand so heavily identified with a kind of marginal sexuality, more and more straight dudes are coming in to the retail store and purchasing a jockstrap or brief.
“The straight guys who buy our stuff represent a different version of the same masculine energy and confidence that we embody,” Lauerstein elaborates. “We’re less unapologetic, more unbothered about how we portray ourselves. And these guys respond to that — they say, ‘I’m confident, sexy, and I if I like it I’ll wear it.’ Young straight boys are starting to identify with that, too — you’d be surprised at the young kids coming in from the high school near here. They don’t care about those categories, but they respond to the energy.”
Having worked at creating and keeping the Nasty Pig energy for nearly two decades now, Lauerstein still draws on the brands that he responded to when he was a kid. “I grew up raised on streetwear brands like GFS, PNB Nation,Triple Five Soul, brands like that. You have to deliver an experience. A great brand stands for something. If you promise your customer something and deliver on it, they become very engaged in what you do. Nasty Pig will never do something that compromises our customers or our aesthetic, and our customers sense that and appreciate that.”
That means more Nasty Pig-branded jockstraps and gauntlets — studded wristbands which add a menacing edge to a complete leather get-up — and no peekaboo mesh thongs. “You’ll never get that from Nasty Pig,” promises Lauerstein. “Nothing against that, but our customers, we know that they’re the most important people in our company and we’ll never pull the rug out from under them.”
“We wanted to make underwear that was incredible – you put it on and you think its going to be a gimmick – then you realize that it’s actually really well made,” continues Lauerstein. “It’s masculine, forget all the bells and whistles; it’s quality, no spandex, heavyweight underwear. We deliver a quality product that fits well and holds on to a kind of masculine ideal.”
“Our customers wear the Nasty Pig attitude on their sleeve,” adds Lauerstein. “We wanted to create a brand and a logo that flagged those attitudes: It’s not about who you [ ], its about who you are. Masculinity and sex and strength is very wrapped up in who you are as a man. We toy with the idea of nasty — we see it in a good way.”
And thanks to the efforts of Lauerstein and his company, so do many others.