Being an advocate isn’t just a title; it means living your values daily. Advocates believe in change and then work their magic, tearing down barriers, challenging preconceived notions, and paving the way for others to follow.
This year, StartOut is ready to roll out the rainbow carpet to honor two advocates who have torn down barriers and changed the face of business and marketing for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs everywhere: David Lauterstein and Frederick Kearney, the couple behind the iconic Nasty Pig brand.
Nasty Pig was founded by David and Frederick (Fred) in 1994. When the two met in New York City, their shared passion for design and love of the LGBTQ+ community inspired them to start a clothing line that fearlessly celebrated queer sexuality – at a time when the AIDS epidemic continued to ravage our communities and queer sexuality was seen by many as a dangerous vulnerability for any new company.
With an initial investment of fifty dollars without any business experience, the couple began buying fabric and making clothing for their friends in the underground club and leather scenes of the early nineties. David and Fred persisted, growing that fifty dollars into an international juggernaut, changing apparel companies’ approach when designing and marketing their products. Over the last 30 years, they have continued to give back to the community, regularly hosting fundraisers for LGBTQ+ organizations that support youth, people experiencing homelessness, and others.
“Dave and Fred are a testament to the power of queer innovation, resilience, and drive,” said CEO Brian Richardson. “They challenged conventional wisdom, celebrated sexuality, and transformed an industry. Through every stitch and design, they empower everyone to embrace their unique identities unapologetically.”
Today, Nasty Pig is widely considered the original sex-positive queer sportswear brand. Lauterstein and Kearney, co-founders and husbands of 28 years, never lose sight of why Nasty Pig exists: to design clothing for the community they love and help their customers feel sexy and empowered.