There’s a place for the avant garde in every city. From New York to LA, Chicago to Detroit, there’s a lust for the underground’s disregard for the mainstream. In Las Vegas, the underground dance scene exists out of sheer necessity, a response to the tourist-populated Strip. Known for its kinky leatherette wearing attendees and brooding dance music, Soft Leather is a taste of anti-establishment few cities are blessed with anymore, but something all of them need.
Founder Johnny Love (the Chicago-based DJ, king of the “health goth” movement and ringleader of the electro-hardcore group Deathface) saw Downtown Las Vegas as the next frontier for his provocative monthly LGBT-inclusive dance party. To help us understand his ethos, he refers to the 2006 movie, The Devil Wears Prada. “Miranda Priestly, Meryl Streep’s character, tells Anne Hathaway that the cerulean blue shirt she’s wearing doesn’t exist because of TJ Max,” says Love. “The reality is, a designer made it popular two years ago, but that’s how long it took for the mundane people to adapt to what the creators create. It takes that long for something to get regurgitated to the masses.” Mainstream culture’s recycling of underground culture is Love’s version of that cerulean blue shirt… and thus, the birth of Soft Leather.
Word of the shin-dig, held at video dance bar Oddfellows, spread quickly. Self-labeled a “Pansexual dress-to-sweat” event, the event has helped foster some of the most impactful figures at the helm of culture today. The inspiration comes from the New York club kids of the ’90s. The music, however—disco, acid house, juke and more—is sexual, energetic and always changing. From full body paint and fishnets to leather harnesses and chokers, anything goes! This is definitely a party you don’t want to miss!