Self-labeled a “Pansexual dress-to-sweat” event, Soft Leather has helped foster some of the most impactful figures at the helm of culture today, from breakout model Jazzeppi Zanaughtti to Chemise Cagoule’s Jack Collier, underground DJ Claudia de Chalon to performance artist Cae Monae. Now, the midwestern nightlife pillar is taking over America, using local promoters to recreate the Soft Leather experience for a national audience.
“In the past, I’ve taken Soft Leather on the road, but some cities that wanted to have a Soft Leather-type party didn’t have big enough scenes to be able to afford to bring a group of people in, partially due to EDM culture coming in and completely wrecking most cities’ underground party scenes,” Love said. “Even the cities that didn’t have their scenes wrecked didn’t have anything for younger people who would be involved in dance music.”
This gave Love the idea to find local promoters who could organize parties under the Soft Leather name, giving them the advantage of drawing a larger audience because of the event’s big city origins. Most kids won’t support a local party as much as they’d be drawn to a party from NYC, LA or in this case, Chicago, Love said. His only rules for promoters is that their Soft Leather iteration must be LGBTQ friendly, actively include women and play anything but EDM or Top 40.
“This ensures that every Soft Leather party actually gets the same feel as the original and stops it from falling into the same pitfalls that parties fell into before it,” he said. “This network also makes it easier to negotiate with agents to bring acts that might not go into smaller markets because they can’t afford it.”