Matthew Camp, the former New York City go-go dancer who left the
bar stage more than a year ago to launch his own musky fragrance and focus on fashion design, has been discovered by HuffPo this week. Alert the media!
An interviewer who admittedly “prejudges” go-go dancers and incorrectly assumes “most people are surprised to find out about” Camp’s fragrance a year after its launch, sat down with the chiseled nightcrawler to chat about man scent and fashion, and just like every other Matthew Camp interview out there, it’ll make you want to take him home to mom.
Or just smell his armpits.
Camp describes his fragrance, 8.5, as “raw and sexual,” a mix of “cocoa butter, leather and cigarettes,” a scent reminiscent of “going and being out at a big gay bar.” “That’s why it resonates with gay men,” he says:
I take natural and synthetic oils and mix them together using different processes to cure them to create the particular scent I want. Not a lot of people do it; it’s kind of a lost art. When I create a scent, I don’t follow many of the rules that people use. There are lots of books about what you’re supposed to do and the scents you’re supposed to use; I don’t really follow that. For me, smell is connected to memory and emotion. If I smell something and it conjures some sort of memory for emotion, I’ll find another scent that brings up the same memory. After I play around with it, I end up with a fragrance that tells a story.
Unfortunately, 8.5 is not a nod to Camp’s endowment. “It is not referring to my genitalia,” he says. “I’m a happy 7.5.”
On his clothing designs, which are mostly leather, Camp says:
My designs are mine. I look at my leather pieces as one-of-a-kind pieces of art that I make for one person. My typical client is a collector and the type of person who wears a leather jacket all the time; it’s part of their lifestyle. We collaborate, and the end product is totally unique.
And his inspiration:
I realized gay people used to be total outlaws. They were outsiders and forced to create their own community that included really-fucking-cool cultural phenomena like drag queens. You don’t see that as much now. A lot of gay culture is becoming homogenized and acceptable, which isn’t a good or a bad thing. (I don’t believe in the ideas of “good” or “bad.”) I see both sides. We’re losing that outlaw thing, but it does make it easier for people to come out and also maybe makes [winning] equality easier. I guess I’m trying to say: Fuck it! Just be yourself. Who cares if you’re gay or straight? You don’t need someone else’s approval to do what you want. Do what makes you happy and healthy. It’s about self-improvement.
Below, Camp models his own designs in a series of portraits by Landis Smithers. Would you rather buy his, or Colby Melvin’s?