The Underwear Expert was on the scene at the most recent Ron Chereskin photo shoot for their Fall 2012 collections. It was a hot morning in Brooklyn and Ron’s crew had gathered in the charmingly disheveled studio of photographer Jason Rodgers. While Ron’s assistant ran out to get bottled water, Jason set up his equipment.
The model, nineteen year old Alex Santaniello, leaned on a stool in the corner fiddling with his phone. Alex was dressed in black pants, a black v-neck shirt, and attractively scuffed, black boots. He was discovered six months ago at a model casting in Virginia by Katia Sherman, the president and founder of Major.
“He didn’t shave this morning,” Ron said of the model, holding Alex’s chin and turning his head slightly to see the scruff in better lighting.
“I thought it might make me look older,” responded Alex.
“I like it!” Ron declared.
Ron wanted to draw as much attention as possible to the underwear itself rather than relying on elaborate sets. The concept was simple: white background, model, underwear. Alex changed behind a curtain into the first pair—grey boxer briefs with a black pouch and the RC logo in front.
Once Alex stepped out in front of the lights, Ron turned and exclaimed that he loved the shadows the model cast against the white backdrop. “More shadows!”
As the shoot continued, Ron worked on his phone, joyfully taking pictures of the model in between text messages. He was especially proud of his Optical Highlights collection, featuring prints resembling the sort of optical illusion drawings that might reveal an image if you squint just right.
“Look at that angle. I love that angle,” Ron commented to his Design Director, Ian Heath as the model twisted his torso to let the light define the contours of his form. The boxer brief had a bold black and white pattern according to Ron’s “optical” vision.
“We’re going for youth. Uniqueness. We want to keep away from the basics and focus on having a great fit and bold color. We aren’t grungy. We aren’t going after brands like C-IN2,” Ron soliloquized as he crossed the room, typing on his phone and double-checking that the legs on the briefs were falling evenly on the model’s legs.
Speaking on the positioning of the brand, Ron voiced the need for ambitious brands for a younger age bracket. “I feel like there’s a huge void in the 18-25 year old market. We’re going to fill that void.”
With his enthusiasm and bright-eyed confidence, it’s easy to wish Ron luck on his new collection. Here was a man who had been working in men’s underwear since the ‘70s and has been through hundreds of photo shoots, yet he was still the most excited person in the room. Pride in work is one thing, but joy in labor is another and Ron’s passion for his creation is enough to make us smile.