Formerly a latex-wearing, fire-breathing club kid--he quit after burning half his face--27-year-old clothing designer Geoffrey Mac moved four years ago at the suggestion of a squeamish landlord. "We have a line of latex, so I have a lot of fetish clients, and a lot of freaks were coming in at two in the morning wanting an outfit," he says. The landlord offered him a Pilsen loft that had once housed a garment manufacturer, and 2,500 square feet of raw space was hard to turn down. Mac built a small bedroom and a large studio for gluing latex, and placed racks of clothes for sale by the front door. Business was booming, but then a California boutique canceled a large order. Shortly afterward Mac had a near-death experience while surfing in Costa Rica. "I'd sacrificed my life and my happiness for this monster I'd created that never gave me what I was searching for," he says he realized. He moved his bedroom into the studio space and moved away from fetish gear, experimenting with making shoes instead. And while he still custom designs latex outfits for certain customers, he no longer wears the stuff himself. "It's like wrapping yourself in cellophane," he says. "You shouldn't have to sacrifice that much for fashion."
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Lloyd DeGrane.