On the lookout for more sizzling gender commentary? I sat down with Masha and Will themselves to get to the heart of what Wicked Mmm is all about. Assume we were giggling or snickering through the parts of it that seem to require a giggle or a snicker.
M: We’ve come to realize that we have 2 different version of the origin story.
W: For me it started with rope (shibari). I was looking for panties to do performances in, about 2 years ago, and we went around looking. I had been doing performances for a year at the time, and was wearing shitty boxer briefs—which were not appealing to my sensibilities.
M: Form-fitting regular men’s underwear that were utterly unremarkable.
W: We went to sex shops and stuff, and it was really horrible. And Masha was like, I can make something better for you. So she made a bunch of prototypes, and actually surprised me with them a month later. She came with the first one, and was like, try this on. And I was like, ok. I ended up wearing them for performances and they were awesome and held perfectly, and people were like, “Where the hell did you get those? They’re awesome. Can we get some?” And I was like, “Um, maybe,” and that’s how Wicked was born. We started with Etsy, and went on to do our own website.
M: We met and started dating in October 2015, but the first item I ever made for Wicked was before all of that. It was actually a strap-on harness, because that was what I wanted. I was calling it Wicked Bliss at the time, on Etsy. But the panty stuff started even before that. I was dating a burlesquer, and he had asked me to make him a g-string. He brought me one he already had to make a pattern from. And I went shopping for supplies and bought some lace, and started to wonder, what would that be like on a guy? But, for whatever reason, he didn’t really inspire me, so I had the lace just sitting around, collecting dust. But when Will asked me to make him panties, it was a natural progression. It was like, oh yeah, you are totally the guy that I will use that lace for.
M: Yeah, it’s our love child.
M: Well, my background is in design for theatre, and the approach is all based on emotional response, which influences how I design. I talk with people. I want to know what excites them, what they think they look good in, what makes them feel pretty, and sexy. That really inspires me. So as a designer, I prefer to design for specific people. And when there’s one person liking a thing, there are always others who will like it too.
M: I’m still struggling with that part, because there are so many lingerie designers for women, so it’s just not as interesting. But I do want to make stuff that I want to wear, so pretty much everything that’s for women is there because I made it for me and I said, “Meh, let’s put it out there. Maybe someone will want it.”
W: And there are lots of people asking for it too. Our friends who wear the stuff are like, “Oh my god, I’m never wearing anything else, make me more. I need, like, 6.”
W: Well there’s the initials of our names, but that’s a lucky coincidence…
M: Among other reasons, the 3 Ms are meant to encompass “Mr.,” “Ms.,” and “Mx.”
W: We’re actually developing 3 sections on our site to explain what we’re doing for each of those specific segments of people.
M: Cis 40-50 year-old men are actually a big part of our demographic.
M: Yes, but not as much yet. But those are the customers we’re most concerned with, because even though we want to keep encouraging cis men to find new ways of defining what it is to be manly, we want to reach out to everyone, and we know it’s harder for some than others.
M: I do. It either takes the form of someone liking something already on our site and asking for it in a custom size, or else I make a true custom piece that ends up becoming a thing that other people can buy. One time I had a customer who asked for a humiliation item, for example—a crotchless pair of underwear.
M: Modern, edgy, sexy…
W: Basically, anything that makes you go “Mmm.”
M: Especially for the stuff I do for men, I see a lot of sissy stuff—feminizing men, and it’s all frills, and it seems like the inspiration, is, you know, 1800s petty coats. I’m more about clean lines. It’s just as much about the body as it is about the lace.
W: We’re kind of in the process of evolution now, as to defining exactly what Wicked is. A lot of what we make is inspired by what we want to see in the bedroom.
M: Not just in the bedroom.
W: In a setting where bedroom articles are accepted.
M: In a setting where good things happen….We’re definitely very sex-positive.
W: We do fetish events, and stuff like that.
M: We’re not following trends, but we’re going with, “this is what I want, this is what I’m finding pretty at the moment. Of course I’m inspired by other designers, but I’m also trying to cater to trans women who are pre-op and want sexy underwear that are not fetishized, that are just something that any cis woman would wear, but that would fit right. That’s important. Many of our most popular items are common sexy styles made to fit male parts.
M: Gender is a construct that society builds into separate binary ideas, and we’re saying, “fuck that.” Gender is not so black and white, and neither is fashion.
M: When we have repeat customers or anyone else who has contacted me or shown interest, I actually follow up with them to check in about the fit and comfort of a new item. That’s really fun.
W: Sometimes there’s a lot of interest. People want to tell us how amazing whatever they got was, and—
M: And sometimes it’s too much information, like they want to talk about their kinks and how our lingerie plays into it, and you’re like, “that’s cool, I’m glad you’re having fun!”
W: Speaking of coffee table book, yes.
M: Also worth mentioning that sometimes people ask me why handmade lingerie is so expensive, and I’m really trying to keep the prices reasonable, but these things take time.
W: Masha makes me feel more like me, is the best way that I can put it. I was unhappy before I was 30, really because I wasn’t me. Finding the kink community, that’s a whole aspect of it. But, accepting myself as a queer, non-binary person, is a whole other level that really was a process. And that acceptance, I’ve only ever come into fully with Masha. And it’s still a learning process, because I wasn’t exposed to that my entire life, and I didn’t have words for what I was feeling before. So, it’s a big topic. As soon as she gave me the first panties, I was like, “Oh my god.” And I haven’t worn any other underwear since I started wearing her stuff.
W: Not one pair, obviously.
M: It’s a monogamous relationship with the brand.
W: No, I’m a very internal person, but I’ve always enjoyed people seeing me, and challenging their ideas of what a male-bodied person should look like. And confusing someone to the point where they’re like, “Oh, look at that lady…Oh—my god.” It really makes me feel good. As introverted as I am, I’m an exhibitionist. That idea that I’m causing someone emotions…
M: I would say it was easier in the beginning. Now, our business roles are more defined. We still get along great and we’re always able to talk through our issues, but it’s not always smooth sailing.
W: I can.
M: Mmmm. Working from home is hard. There’s the bed, there’s the fridge, but somehow I manage to fill orders.
W: And right now we’ve got crunch time coming up. We’ve been invited to Fetish Weekend, and we have a fashion segment there—at Café Cleo on Friday the August 29th.
M: It’s going to be more like a play, or 4 very short plays. The motivation behind it is to explore who our ideal customers are, what they’re into, but done in a way where it’s entertaining for everyone.
W: I never want to drop the subversion.
M: Right now its subversive because what we do is still not widely accepted. There’s a long road ahead for trans people, for example, to be treated like people. And, I would like to keep the business smallish and handmade. I’d love to have people working for us, but getting rich and abandoning ship is not on my list.
W: So long as gender constructs are an issue, they’re one we’ll fight for.
Comments will be approved before showing up.