What it means to be an ‘original gangster,’ with Paper’s Kim Hastreiter

Kim Hastreiter is all about originality.

As Paper magazine’s co-editor and publisher, she has had her pulse on New York City culture for three decades and has a knack for discovering new talent. So when it came time to put together the publication’s 30th anniversary issue, out now, it was only natural to celebrate the “original gangsters” — artists and designers like Azzedine Alaia, Rick Owens, Patti Smith and Cindy Sherman who are established or rising trailblazers in their respective fields.

Between Spring 2015 fashion shows, Hastreiter remarks on 30 years of Paper magazine and what it takes to be an original gangster.


How did you get in the magazine business?

I fell in love with art and spent a lot of nights at the Mudd Club. It was a time of music, fashion, film and everything was fusing together. Hip-hop was starting and coming downtown to see what punk was doing and how they were dressing. Stephen Sprouse was making clothes for Debbie Harry. Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat were there. I dove head first into this world. It was more style than just the art world. I’m a culture girl.


How did you start Paper magazine?

I started it in 1984. My partner David Hershkovits and I worked at Soho News and we tried for two years to start a magazine. We didn’t want to work for anyone and we knew what downtown needed. We pooled our money together with two art directors and created it out of my house. We could only afford 16 pages, so we decided to make it into a poster.


Why do you call Paper ’30 years young’?

Just because I feel like the world is upside down and we used to use typewriters and everything was analog. We are always looking for what’s coming and what’s new. We had one of the first websites. In 1992 our website was up. As digital grew, it changed everything in the 21st century, and no business is the same. It’s all been reinvented. I love change. We are always looking for the opportunity to change and shift. I feel 30 years young.


Why two covers for the 30th issue?

The issue celebrates the original gangsters. The covers are Courtney Love and Brooke Candy. Paper is like an original gangster that radically changes whatever medium they are in. We like to predict who are future original gangsters. These personalities are typically mercurial, stubborn and control freaks who garner a lot of respect in their lives.


What’s your involvement with Target?

Thirteen years ago, I did an article for Paper where I invited designers to design something for Target for under $10. Target hired us to connect them with people and talent. Now we work with them in a lot of ways. We also have an events and branding company called ExtraExtra, where we work with brands like Levi’s and American Express.


What do you think about artists collaborating with designers?

It’s nothing new. Schiaparelli collaborated with Salvador Dali. Artists and fashion have always crisscrossed. This year Louis Vuitton did a collaboration with Cindy Sherman, Comme des Garçons with Frank Gehry.


What’s your favorite show of this season?

I liked Jeremy Scott, and for fall I love all the monsters on sweater and creatures from Fendi.


What did you think of Miley Cyrus at the Jeremy Scott show?

She was sitting for the show and made really cute rave jewelry for the show. My next issue is about jewelry and how accessories are affected by nightlife scene. Marc Jacobs created grunge out of the Seattle scene. Fashion is a mirror of what’s going on.


What’s your favorite trend for fall?

I love fabulous faux fur. Lanvin made a cute faux fur, and Shrimps out of London. I also like the whole vegan scene.


What’s favorite restaurant in New York?

I’m a foodie. I love Blue Ribbon Sushi, Mission Chinese Food and Mission Cantina. I love Estela, too.


Where do you go to buy accessories?

Ted Muehling for fine jewelry, and Rene Holguin [of RTH].


What’s your favorite nail place?

It’s called Vogue. It’s Korean on Sixth Avenue. My mother and I have gone there for years. I wear Bubble Bath on my hands, and Day Glow on my toes in orange or pink. I don’t like a statement on my fingers.


Any career advice?

I just work my ass off. You have to look at yourself and what you are great at. Where does your talent lie? There is always something someone is good at.