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With a unique take on underwear branding, Fu of FU e=fu8 underwear aims to infuse the men’s underwear industry with his brand of luck mixed with the pleasure principle, which is what the formula on the waistbands of his NYC made underwear represents.
“Fu, my name, actually means ‘luck’ in Chinese,” Fu told The Underwear Expert. “And eight is also considered a very lucky number in that culture. I wanted to take the concept of the pleasure principle, which I’d remembered from a Janet Jackson song but which actually goes all the way back to Freud, and combine it with my name in a fun way.”
As he sees it, there are two camps in men’s underwear: the namesake brands — Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors — and then there are the ones with “some cute logo or formula,” says Fu — think 2(x)ist, C-in2 or 2wink. But, Fu explains proudly, “My underwear line is the only one on the market that actually has my real name and an actual formula.”
Another thing which, perhaps more importantly, sets FU e=fu8 apart from other brands is the fact that it’s actually produced in New York City’s Garment District. While many underwear companies may be headquartered in NYC, very few actually produce their actual underwear in Manhattan itself. FU really does. Why? “Partly for logistical reasons, and partly because of my love for New York City,” Fu explained. “I looked into doing it overseas, but it just wasn’t feasible because they want thousands of orders made. Well, what if their product sucks? The thing is unless you have a friend or an employee over there micromanaging things, there’s no way to know whether or not the foreign manufacturers are going to be doing it the way that you want it, so you might end up doing the same work twice.”
For Fu, getting the look right is not something to compromise. “I find the brand’s image to be very, very important. Underwear is all about aesthetics. For a guy, the beauty of it all starts with putting on a great pair of underwear. If it fits right, it will just give them that confidence,” Fu observed. “The whole thing with the image is that even if it’s well made, well cut, people will rarely see your underwear 24-7, so we have to put a lot into the waistband just in case someone sees that.”
As for his promotional images, Fu has been very careful to get models who can wear FU e=fu8 well. He believes strongly that when considering which underwear to purchase you have to think “I would want to look like that [if I put them on.]”
Looking ahead, Fu wants his underwear to be “available in some of the major department stores and specialty boutiques. I have some friends who are out in the major cities like Dallas who want to carry it. I’m hoping that its going to be a universal thing, at the level of Calvin Klein and 2(x)ist.”
“Right now I have [almost ten] different cuts, styles and colors available,” Fu said. Eventually I’m going to be doing jockstraps, too, of the more innovative kind, like what Timoteo is doing.”
Fu has an unnerving confidence in his product, and it could be his biggest asset. Confidence, after all, is key in any business. “What I do is classic, well-made underwear, with the fly and the pouch. They’re classic and they stand the test of time, because it’s comfortable and it looks good on everyone. And, it’s utilitarian.”
Fu’s design sensibility it seems is as simple and equally complex as the pleasure principle from which Fu derives his brand’s name. And, if with his underwear, Fu really could inspire men to take heed of his creed to “carpe diem, and make the most out of their precious time; to spend it pursuing things that bring and enhance their life’s pleasurable experiences,” as he says on his website, then Fu should count himself a lucky man. We’ll be watching Fu and FU e=fu8 to see how his brand evolves.