There’s an undeniable honesty to what Andrew Richardson does. The stylist and creative director got his start assisting Brana Wolf, scoured New York’s sex shops while working under Paul Cavaco on Madonna’s Sex book, collaborated with Steven Meisel, Mario Sorrenti, and more, and went on to found his own subversive, intellectually forward, eponymous sex magazine in 1998. It was a place for the kinds of stories not so accepted in the world of Condé Nast and advertiser dollars, features that addressed the inelegance of sex and a variety of proposed taboos with wit and artful directness.
Today, Richardson is a brand that extends far beyond the periodical. There’s the streetwear line—see the “Richardson Hardware” t-shirts that are ubiquitous downtown—the store on the Lower East Side, and now, a store in Los Angeles, which, having opened just weeks ago, serves as a West Coast hub for the Richardson community.
We caught up with Richardson last week, asking him about the new shop, his recent collaboration with Grindr, and just how he plans to keep things provocative in an era when discussion of sexuality is perhaps increasingly stifled.
Ashley W. Simpson: To start, I wanted to talk to you about the new store and what you envisioned.
Andrew Richardson: I think I was spending a lot of time in Los Angeles over the last year, because 99 percent of what we make is made in L.A., and the other little bit is made in Japan. [L.A.] was our other significant source of interest outside of New York. So, I thought it would be good to open and store here, and we thought about a pop-up, but then we thought, if you go through all the energy of getting people to come to a pop-up, then you might as well have a permanent store. We spent a minute trying to find the space—about nine months. The spot had been in some disrepair for a while, so we did a gut renovation. There’s a continuation of the organic feeling we have in New York. We have people that actually are interested in the brand and understand the brand and they really contribute more than knowing how to work with a cash machine. That’s really what we’re all about—that family feeling.