Fetish gear designer David Mason Chlopecki (slickitup.com) on his love for leather, his childhood influences and his collaboration with Tom Of Finland.
BY RUBEN ZAMBRANO | PHOTO BY DUSTI CUNNINGHAM
David Mason Chlopecki has had a busy year. He and his husband (creative director/ graphic artist) Alvaro Masa have relocated from New York to Los Angeles. His hugely popular fetish gear company Slick It Up (slickitup.com) has begun collaborating with Tom Of Finland and business has been booming.
In an interview with THE FIGHT Chlopecki talks about his love for leather, his childhood influences and his relationship with spandex.
More of a statement into a question: You are a fine artist, a contemporary artist. An LGBTQX icon. When did fashion come into play?
Thank you. My God… Well, I certainly remember when I was young talking about my mom’s Vogue magazine, pronouncing it “VO-Gooh” at the time [laughs]. I knew it was important to her and I wanted her attention. But I’m not really a “fashion” person, never have been really. I like style, creativity and costume.
Slick It Up’s collaboration with Tom of Finland just launched. Tell us about that.
The Tom of Finland Foundation asked us to collaborate with them. They’re so formative for me. It’s an honor to participate. All designed by my husband, Alvaro. There are four swim suits, ten shirts and a button down shirt. When I was in college, at 19, I was doing paintings w/ GI Joe, He-Man and Tom’s guys in a scenario before I knew who and what “Tom of Finland” was. Now at 43 we’re working with them for this collection. Incredible.
I always felt that I was a combination of masc/femme. I wanted a space for myself and I’ve always been vocal about that—and that made room for all of my friends. I was raised by a New Yorker, unapologetically bold.”
You participated in the Off-Sunset Festival this year. How was that for you?
I was very happy to be in a space where people where friendly, really open, having a great time. and what a good looking crowd. We’re excited to be there again.
“Big Leather” has been added to your brand. Tell us about that.
I’ve always loved leather. It’s a high price point and costly to make. Spandex was more affordable and accessible to our audience. We’re at place now where we can work with leather. I personally wear a lot of spandex. But as I mature, leather comes into play, it’s a lot more structured.
When were you drawn to the leather/BDSM community?
When I was 5 or 6. Seriously. Watching Billy Idol videos and seeing those women and him … thinking YES!!!
Was the community welcoming when you started your business 14 years ago?
In the beginning, no. Accepted by some, mocked by others. But now its different. Most shops have spandex and leather side by side. They’re staples.
You started Slick It Up with a thong, correct?
No, a hood. Our logo is the “Hood.” Hoods to bodysuits to thongs. Now there’s dozens of styles in various categories.
Who are your influences? From the personal to fashion and design.
My childhood… Nature! Fantasy, Disney, HE-Man, Comics. Creatures more “fiercer than you” from my blog, a deep sea creature, a praying mantis… Mugler, Walt Disney, Jean-Paul Goude, Bob Mackie. I’m very limited. My spectrum of influence is deep and tight. In life—I’m inspired by my friends and husband the most.
You have moved around a bit—Glens Falls, NY to Minneapolis MN, to CalArts in LA to NYC then back to LA. Why the move at this stage of your life and career?
New York was done for me. I lived a full and complete wonderful life in New York. I went there a kid and I walked out an adult. I was ready to live a whole new life here in LA—where the quality of life is better.
You merge the masculine and the feminine without apology and with complete abandon. I consider it brave. Where did that come from?
I always felt that I was a combination of masc/femme. I wanted a space for myself and I’ve always been vocal about that—and that made room for all of my friends. I was raised by a New Yorker, unapologetically bold.