Tired of rocker-inspired spike collars and studded leashes, singularly named Lascar of Dirtty Bones dog-wear has created a new line of accessories for urban pooches. Although his controversial grills, muzzles and leashes can make vilified bull breeds appear ferocious, Lascar stresses that his products are strictly about a new form of Hilton-free doggystyle, and are meant to have a sense of humor.
With an increase in media attention focusing on pitbull-related injuries and a recent celebrity animal-abuse case rooted in dogfight gambling, Lascarâ€™s items have also brought attention to an important animal rights issue. Format got down and Dirtty with Lascar, and asked his opinion on dogfights, puppy fashion and recent Pitbull bans in a variety of cities including his current hometown, Montreal.
“Once your dog has Dirtty Bones on it and youâ€™re walking down the street, people are going to break their necks to look at you.”
Format: Introduce yourself and your company Dirtty Bones.
Lascar: My name is Lascar, and I am the owner of Dirtty Bones, the first company doing hip-hop dog accessories in the world.
Format: Describe some of your products for our readers.
Lascar: We are really proud of introducing the first grills for dogs. Our 2007 collection features what we think are the three main styles in the hip-hop community: The camo style, the bandana style and the bling-bling style.
Format: And Dirtty Bones is a division of Lascar Inc., what does Lascar Inc. do?
Lascar: Right now we are focusing on Dirtty Bones, but Lascar has many other aspirations. We are going to focus in creative design, we want to have a major company that not only deals with dog accessories, but, also, clothing. We want to do lingerie for women and then we really want to expand, with a recording studio, perhaps a label, go into the movies, we want to be involved with everything that is hip-hop.
Format: What inspired you? Other than an interest in hip-hop, what drove you to create products for dogs?
Lascar: I own two dogs and one day I was looking for something that would fit my own personal style and my dog. All I found were accessories with studs, you know, silver studs. When I saw that, I was like, thatâ€˜s not for me, thatâ€™s for someone whoâ€™s into heavy metal or punk rock music. Not for someone who is living the hip-hop lifestyle.
Format: How do you select your materials?
Lascar: We only work with the finest materials. Our grills are metal and plated with 18k gold, and the rhinestones in the grills are Swarovski â€“ the finest rhinestones in the world.
Format: Thereâ€™s no denying your products give dogs a tough exterior â€“ and you use a majority of bull breeds in your advertisements and product photos. Who are you marketing your product to with these images?
Lascar: We are trying to connect with the hip-hop community, to people who live a hip-hop lifestyle.
Format: Are you familiar with Falconâ€™s quarterback Michael Vickâ€™s recent dog-fighting charges?
Lascar: Oh yes, yes.
Format: Vick was indicted on charges of dogfight gambling and animal rights violations including hanging, shooting, drowning, beating and even electrocuting losing fight-dogs to death. These are the dogs that you are creating products for â€“ what is the Dirtty Bones stance on this kind of abuse?
Lascar: These fights and the reputation these dogs get, this is why they are banned in some places. Both of my dogs â€“ Rose and Sugar â€“ are bull terriers, and they are rescues. My youngest is a rescue straight out of dogfights. When I got her, her skin was disgusting, she was 39 pounds when she used to be 60 pounds â€“ she was in really bad shape. I had someone tell me she needed to be rescued, so I took her. My other dog is from a rescue shelter.
As you know we are a starting company, we are trying to establish ourselves, and for now weâ€™re not as big as some companies, but as soon as we get bigger we want to donate to dog shelters, animal rescues and go even further by putting together a show with hip-hop artists in cities where people are thinking of banning the pitbull breed. Right now, in Chi-Town, they want to ban Pitbulls. Do you know this? People put together a show, have fun, but talk about this issue. Thatâ€™s what we want, with hip-hop artists, you know, when we get bigger.
Format: Have you ever been to a dog fight?
Lascar: This is something â€“ I cannot comment.
Format: Are your products meant to appeal to people who participate in dogfight gambling?
Lascar: No. People who are into urban culture and people who want to have style with their dogs are who weâ€™re marketing to. My products are targeted to the hip-hop community, but by asking if we are targeting the dog fighting people and at the same time talking about the hip-hop community, thatâ€™s not good, because that stereotypes this community, you know what I mean? Also, how can we be marketing to people who are interested in dogfights, when the dogs in the pictures are wearing muzzles â€“ how can two dogs fight in muzzles? It makes no sense.
Format: So the products are more of a novelty item?
Lascar: Yes, exactly. Whether you have a dog that fights, or a friendly dog, the person who owns the dog â€“ if heâ€™s into hip-hop culture, by the way he dresses or else his lifestyle â€“ now we can really put some kind of relationship between that guy and his dog. Once your dog has Dirtty Bones on it and youâ€™re walking down the street, people are going to break their necks to look at you, but they wonâ€™t see you and your pitbull, theyâ€™ll see one element, and this element is from the street.
Also, there are some areas of Montreal that ban pitbulls, in Ontario itâ€™s even worse. Where I grew up, there are places you need your dog to be on the leash and with a muzzle every time you go out, so it works for that, but with a street style. People want to approach your dog more with the grills and the muzzles on. It helps people learn about the dogs that in some places are banned.
Format: The grills, especially, they make a kind of joke out of banning dogs with these reputations, maybe poke a little fun at people who may think your dog is dangerous.
Lascar: Yes. People approach my dogs more when she has her muzzle, because she is safer that way and the grills, people break their necks to look.
Format: Where did you grow up?
Lascar: Iâ€™m straight from the gutter.
Format: What gutter, exactly?
Lascar: Itâ€™s all the same. Whether itâ€™s Brazil or New York, itâ€™s the same. When you are in the hip-hop lifestyle, whether you are in the ghetto of New York or the ghetto of Brazil, youâ€™re in the same life, thereâ€™s no difference. When you travel, when you get in the ghetto, itâ€™s the same sight. Things are different, sure, but itâ€™s still the same feeling.
Format: On a lighter note, itâ€™s refreshing to see a company take a step in the opposite direction of Hilton-inspired doggy wear. Your designs are edgy, and geared toward large dogs. Do you plan to design for smaller animals?
Lascar: We are working on this now, but it is a process because production for animals in very different from production for humans. To make things safe â€“ thereâ€™s a more technical aspect. The person who does the patterns, she has more than 25 years of experience, but itâ€™s like really a challenge for her to do it, just to cut the pieces.
Format: Do you have any high profile clientele?
Lascar: We are in the works with some pretty high profile people you may know, but we canâ€™t name drop just yet.
Format: One more thing, Lascar, tell us the truth â€“ what are dog fights like?
Lascar: Theyâ€™re, theyâ€™re â€“ thereâ€™s a lot of blood.