Underwear That You Want Others to See
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because sometimes the occasion calls for something more dramatic than tighty-whities.
By Andreas Hale
Underwear: apparently it’s not about intimacy anymore. It’s a fashion statement. Today, the hot streetwear item of the moment is novelty socks designed to match your clothes. But we’ll see that and raise you this: PSD (Pant Saggin Dezign) — a brand of boxer briefs, $25 a pop, designed with colorful prints that pop out at anyone who happens to get a view. (Though it must be said: The important stuff doesn’t pop out.)
Founder/president Curt Flaitz came up with the idea because he owned a single piece of Calvin Klein underwear — which he wore every Friday night in case he “hung out with a girl … I would have my best foot forward.” He started the line in 2007 with his brother Ryan in an effort to bring together the world of graphic art with the relatively vanilla world of men’s underwear. Designs range from an All-American “Star Spangle” print for the patriotic to the “Freebird” design modeled after NBA player Chris “Birdman” Andersen’s mural of tattoos. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to have a premium pair of underwear to wear on special occasions?’ ”
Of course, not everyone will be into the idea of dropping 25 bucks for fancy-pants-underpants.
Stevie [Johnson] sent me a text … saying that he was going to bring the new year in for PSD with a bang. He paid a pretty big fine for that.
It started as brothers hustling underwear — designed by Ryan out of a Winnebago that traversed the country and made pit stops at special events — has turned into a profitable business (though they wont say how much) endorsed by the likes of Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star Kevin Durant and UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
He bought an old RV, painted it black, and began work wherever they could: “at a cornfield, NBA game, X-Game event or anything that would allow us to pull some bucks in,” Curt reflects. The traveling road show found a customer base at events such as MTV’s Spring Break — where underwear was expected to be seen.
And men’s underwear is real big biz, says Tom Julian, Men’s Fashion Director at The Doneger Group, which works on fashion analysis. “It’s not your father’s tighty-whities department.”
And of course, a little celebrity endorsement doesn’t hurt. For Flaitz’s brand, the breakthrough happened when Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson (now with the San Francisco 49ers), scored a touchdown against the New England Patriots during a 2011 New Year’s Eve game and decided to lift up his jersey to reveal the black- and neon-colored underwear with the words “Pant Saggin” across the waistband. “Stevie sent me a text message saying that he was going to bring the new year in for PSD with a bang,” Curt reflects. “He paid a pretty big fine for that, but we got a lot of exposure.”
Other celebs have helped the brand out, too: Former Miami Heat forward Mike Miller was spotted wearing the underwear by then-teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. James and Wade showed genuine interest in the brand, and soon enough, Miller went back to the Flaitz brothers with an offer to invest and partner up.
Today, the brand can be seen at UFC weigh-ins on a number of MMA fighters as well as on athletes like Durant, who just so happens to have a pair designed to match his Nike sneakers. But with enhanced visibility comes the almost certain train of companies — such as Frank Dandy and Happy Socks — looking to hitch their trailers to the novelty underwear bandwagon.