Jac5 is a premium men’s underwear brand based in Hong Kong. Its founder, Jim Christopher, is an Australian American who launched his underwear company in November of 2011. Jim has tried to instill his brand with a sense of humor (remember the Jac5 underwear amnesty event?), filling a much needed gap between “in your face” underwear and bland garments. Olympic silver medalist James Magnussen has been the face of the brand since its launch, giving the Jac5’s campaigns an athletic edge as well.
We talked with Jim about the inspiration for his “fun, stylish and comfortable” brand, the company’s growth and his vision for Jac5’s future. Check out our exclusive Jac5 interview below, and let us know if you’ll be adding the brand’s underwear to your drawer anytime soon!
The Underwear Expert: What was the impetus for starting your underwear brand?
Jim Christopher: The inspiration behind Jac5 has always been my Jack Russell’s.
From my early days as a student in Paris, I was influenced by fashion–I have always enjoyed wearing nice “designer” clothes—but underwear was a second thought as there wasn’t much choice. In the 1980’s Calvin Klein put men’s underwear on the map. Finally, we had choice. However, with many brands coming to the market, more competition and brands were forced to cut costs and cut corners. This ultimately led to a decline in quality and comfort.
I felt that this was an opportunity to enter the men’s underwear market. Time will tell whether or not I made the right decision!
UE: What problems plague the men’s underwear industry, in your opinion?
JC: Men’s underwear has become a popular and booming market. There is an oversupply of brands–some good, and some not so good and there are still some issues with quality and comfort. Also: fun. Men’s underwear was either “in your face” or boring! Men’s underwear should be fun and colorful, as well as sexy. The key to making good underwear is not that difficult: use good, quality fabrics, and above all make comfortable waistbands.
UE: How do you address those things with your underwear?
JC: At Jac5 we use only good quality fabrics. But first and foremost it’s our laser cut “super” soft waistbands that people really notice. This is probably the big difference between Jac5 and some of our competitors.
UE: What’s your favorite pair of underwear from your current collection?
JC: I am a trunks man. So my favorite pair would have to be the Barking Mad Jimmy Trunk.
UE: In a word, how would you describe Jac5 underwear, James?
JC: I need more than one word to describe Jac5 underwear! Three to be exact. It’s comfortable, stylish and a bit quirky. Jac5 is a “feel-good” brand.
UE: Is it me or does the Jack Russell in your logo have five legs? Do you have a five-legged dog?
Check out these photos of the Jac5 dogs to see if you can spot a five-legged dog, and read more about Jac5 and their cute and cuddly mascots below!
JC: The Jac5 logo wasn’t easy to come by. As the inspiration behind the brand was my five Jack Russell’s, I wanted to incorporate all of them into the logo, which was obviously not possible. The various designs that were presented to me by various graphic designers went from very childish to ultra “designed” and just didn’t catch or express the essence of my dogs, nor the quirkiness of the brand, until one designer reluctantly showed me the five legged dog. As soon as I saw it, without hesitation, I knew that it was Jac5. The actual image is a cut out of one of my dogs, four-legged obviously, right down to the markings on the forehead. Not, I might add, a dog with an axe through its head as a few people have asked. I had a strange phone call at midnight one night from someone who had found my business card and had obviously had a few drinks, but asked why my dog had an axe through its head! I proceeded to explain to him that it was just the markings. So no, I do not have a five-legged dog!
UE: Let’s discuss your dogs for a second. You have five! What is that like?
JC: I do have five Jack Russell’s. What it’s like? Well, Barking Mad is the only way to describe it. There’s never a dull moment and it’s utter chaos at times. Jack Russell’s are such amazing dogs, though. They think that they are human.. maybe they are. And they love a photo opportunity. Taking five dogs for a walk, we always get noticed. I can’t tell you how many times we get stopped to have their pictures taken!
UE: Do they ever come to the office with you?
JC: The dogs often come to the shop and the office. They are very sociable and love a day out and about. Plus it attracts customers into the shop.
UE: Do they ever inspire new underwear styles or designs?
JC: They are the inspiration for the various sub-brands that we have.
Click here to check out the newest Jac5 underwear releases and more.
UE: Tell us about your brand ambassador, James Magnussen. First, how did that relationship come about?
JC: As Jac5 is an Australian brand we wanted an Australian for our first brand ambassador. We also wanted someone, like us, who was fresh, new, and up and coming. James came to my attention following his 100-meter freestyle win at The World Championships in Shanghai in 2011. There was a lot of buzz around James as an up and coming swimming “star.” We had several meetings with James’ management team before actually meeting him. James was also very keen to test out the underwear to make sure that he was happy with the product. The rest is history. James has been with us since our launch on 11/11/11. James is actually the first person to get Jac5s from actual production. Even I only had test samples!
UE: What will we see from your relationship in 2013?
JC: James had an interesting 2012. He is the current world 100-meter champion and had great expectations in the London Olympics. He won a silver and bronze medal which is an unbelievable achievement to most! But he was hard on himself and copped a lot of criticism from the media alongside the Australian swim team. He has learned a lot; a learning curve that Jac5 can share in experiencing too with a new underwear product.
James has another big year and will defend his world championship events this July. Jac5 will continue to support him–win or not. He still looks amazing in our underwear so we can’t complain either way.
UE: And what can we expect from Jac5 in 2013?
JC: We are expanding our relationship with David Jones – Australia’s Premier Department Store. This was a big coup for Jac5 – that a major department store was keen to take a gamble on an unknown brand. We hope to announce another major group outside of Australia in the second half of 2013. We will launch a new range in May 2013 that we are very excited about. We’ll be introducing something completely new to the men’s underwear market. Watch this space!
For more information about this brand: Jac5
Photo Credit: Jac5