Being the Underwear Expert, we have our finger on the pulse of everything that is men’s underwear. Given that information, we are one of the firsts to know about the newest and hottest brands on the undie market, and we closely follow them from the time they are on Kickstarter to their first major underwear sale. Just think of us as your underwear mentors — if you don’t already.
As 2013 was coming to a close, we had our eyes on a few brands that were just getting into the industry, and we’ve made a few predictions about how some of them will do. We’ve rounded up 6 brands that we believe YOU should be watching all year long. They range from rebellious and fun to high end luxury and anything you think that can fall in between. So welcome to 2014, and the future of men’s underwear.
Canadian brand Garçon Model has been getting a ton of love recently. In 2012 they launched and released their very first line of men’s underwear which got the attention of underwear enthusiasts. They began with the mission to create premium styles to bring sharpness and style to men’s underwear. The brand strives to freshen up the old classics and bring luxury, masculinity and versatility at the same time. Garçon Model is a strong believer in the saying that a man should dress for success, or as they like to call it, “Undress for Success.”
Their underwear is made with classical designs in mind so men can feel as sharp as ever, no matter what type of clothing they put on top of it. They have succeeded in combining this type of design with style, to help maintain relevancy in today’s underwear age and market. To continue their quickly gained reputation, Garçon Model turned to Kickstarter when they were coming up with their second collection. Not only did they double their pledge amount in a matter of days, but they kicked Kickstarter’s butt by offering some of the coolest rewards we’ve ever seen. Pledgers were able to cast a vote on their favorite color schemes and cuts, and the brand will use the votes to help create their second, highly anticipated collection. Not only did fans get to be a part of the underwear making process, but depending on how much money was donated, they received underwear — some of it customized. The ultimate reward was having the rare opportunity to be the next GM underwear model by taking a trip to their home base in Vancouver. Now that is something we can behind, and we forecast that once Garçon Model launches their second collection, the name won’t be far off from a household underwear brand name like Calvin Klein.
Although they began in 2011, Ken Wroy has built up a ton of steam and attention during the second half of 2013. Creator behind the brand, Vasumathi S first started designing underwear as a response to her displeasure of her husband’s boxy and predictable underwear. Her husband has great style and taste when it comes to his clothes, and she was growing very tired of his underwear, which simply did not match the rest of his personality.
Vasumathi is an alumni of FIT so she is no stranger to fashion or New York City. Her brand is based in Manhattan and the name is actually an anagram of NYC. Ken Wory is designed around the boldness and energy of its hometown. Due to its growing popularity and wonderful business practices, Vasumathi won the Bloomberg Design Entrepreneurs award during the fall of 2013. This prestigious honor awarded her $10,000 to expand on her brand, which we found out directly from Vasumathi S, she plans to use the money to play around with more amazing prints and designs and is looking into different fabrics. We are very enthusiastic about this underwear brand, and we can’t wait to see how Vasumathi will capitalize on her award and grow her business even more.
Another NYC based brand who have just planted their roots as of last year is Tani USA. This brand is more than 10 years old and a division from the parent brand of the original Tani based in Hong Kong. We are super excited to see where the American branch will go because this company prides itself in bringing the most luxurious and exotic fabrics to your waist.
From Japanese Polyester to Spanish Modal, Tani scours the world for the finest fabrics they can find, which they’ve made five collections from now, that incorporate the best of the best. There’s the Everyday Silk Touch collection which has the smoothest and softest pairs of underwear we’ve personally touched. The Luxuriance collection is created using complex knitting technology to knit texture into the fabric, making a super fine gauge thin knit. The rarest collection on the current market is Tani’s Swiss Cotton collection, which is made with the longest pieces of cotton, and makes every piece stand out from anything else. The Fresh Cooling Performance collection combines Japanese Polyester with cupro, and they even have an internal moisture management system. The last collection is the Air Fitness collection made from 95% tencel and 5% elastane and designed with a three-dimensional pique knit which naturally helps with air flow and maintains a level body temperature. After first launching in the USA, Tani’s products have been rapidly selling out on their website, and orders and demand have consistently been through the roof.
Texas based hip brand, Marek + Richard has been marketing itself as the bad boys and rebels of the underwear game. Started in 2011 by two University of North Texas fashion grads, Neil Marek and Robbie Richard, this brand has gained our attention by setting itself apart from everyone else. Seeing their ad campaigns and website alone, you can automatically tell that their underwear is injected with the youth in mind. Every underwear collection has an apparent style trending and fashion forward theme – such as XTASY, Cabin Fever and Detention – and every pair of underwear in said collection appropriately matches it. The brand incorporates vibrant colors and color combinations with sleek designs and cuts and experimental fabrications to give you some of the most fun and playful pairs of underwear out there.
Other than the underwear itself, their bold use of graphics in every marketing campaign has really caught our eye. These boys know what their younger consumers want and exactly what market they are talking to. There is already so much going for this brand, and they continue to grow through word of mouth and exceptional products. Everything is made in America and in their design studio, but not until you actually order it. Once the order is placed, they make the proper cuts and sew it all together and then they personally pack it and ship it so it arrives at your front door. We are continually impressed by the creative force behind this brand and can’t even imagine what they’ll come up with next — but we can guarantee they will be smash hits.
Another brand that has dominated Kickstarter is Pennsylvania based brand, Helux Gear. A man on a mission to find comfortable and functional underwear, Greg Donmoyer was left unimpressed with everything he found. An Economics and Finance professional, Donmoyer knew nothing about what it would take to make underwear, so he had to start at the basics and work his way up. He taught himself how to sew along with everything else there is to know about fabrics, digital pattern making, and pretty much anything else that goes into creating underwear.
After numerous trials, errors, prototypes and samples, Greg finally found the exact design he envisioned, a pair of underwear that gives you both superior comfort as well as an ergonomic pouch with an opening. The pouch is made with two separate pieces of fabric in an arrow shape, with a larger top than the bottom, that are joined at the bottom to form the base. The upper parts crisscross over each other so they are pulled in opposite directions, the top and bottom parts are sewn together, and the upper most part of the material is also attached to form the pouch. When you need access, just pull each side of the pouch and you’re in! Once he created the perfect pair of underwear, Donmoyer took his product to Kickstarter where his entire project reached its pledge amount and kept growing. With their fully backed Kickstarter plan, Helux Gear plans to grow by using newer and even more comfortable fabrics and will experiment with colors.
It’s almost crazy to think that three of our six picks are New York City based, but it is well known that NYC hails as one of the fashion capitals of the world; and no wonder that many underwear brands are born and breed here. Another successful brand from the fashion mecca is Justin Case Underwear, started by Mr. Case. Case is dedicated to “revolutionizing the way men wear brand name underwear. We believe that oversize text, garish images, and outlandish logos ruin an attractive undergarment. Instead, we focus on selecting top quality fabrics and attractive, flattering, cutting edge designs.”
In September 2013, Justin Case officially launched, and it was a huge production. The launch party was held at NYC’s XL nightclub, where music was bumping and the buff models were rocking various pairs of Justin Case Underwear. After a few hours of schmoozing with the guests, the Justin Case show went on where models took over the stage and stripped off pair after pair of underwear. We’ve never seen an underwear launch party quite like this one. To keep their steam going, Justin Case also held a flash mob in Time Square last year, where major media outlets picked it up, and the brand plans to surprise NYC with a few more strategically planned mobs. With amazing products and a fresh approach to marketing and promoting their brand, we believe that Justin Case Underwear will begin to take over many men’s underwear drawers this year.
We want to know your experiences with any of the six brands mentioned by commenting below or tweeting @underwearexpert.
Photo Credit: Tani, Garcon Model, Ken Wroy, Marek + Richard, Justin Case and Helux Gear.