I’m talking underpants this week with Drew Weymont, CEO of Undercrackers, the company that claim to make the most comfortable underpants on the market. Constructed from UK made premium cotton jersey fabrics, the underpants are made to fit not just the average Joe but to all men of all shapes, sizes and requirements. I caught up with Drew recently to find out more….
Hi! My name is Drew Weymont & I am the creator & CEO of Undercrackers men’s underwear. My background as a computer scientist revolved around technological development & in particular the IT processes & logistics required to design, develop & distribute products & applications for an array of sectors & markets.
What was the inspiration behind Undercrackers?
I had several unconnected conversations with male friends who moaned about the lack of comfortable underwear on the market. Knowing that I had recently developed a small range of sportswear, these conversations became more involved & I decided to take a long hard look at the underwear products currently available on the UK market. I quickly realised that there was a real gulf between high street, low cost underwear & high end designer products with very little in the middle. I spent the next 6 months working alongside the same designers whom I had previously worked with and began to develop a small range of high quality yet affordable underwear. After spending months testing various fabrics we finally found a perfect match in a beautiful, high quality cotton jersey fabric that is manufactured & dyed in Nottingham. The name Undercrackers came to me as a bolt out of the blue, however it is a traditionally humorous term that always made me smile & it seemed to be a great fit for something that I truly hope will become a truly British icon.
As you are based in the UK, are your underpants available to purchase overseas?
Yes, we sell to men across the globe, particularly the US & Asia. We have many repeat clients who love the product which is a great feeling. I personally find it tragic that much of our manufacturing heritage has disappeared from the UK & whilst I understand the economic benefits of overseas production, it gives me great pleasure to see our small Manchester factory employing local talent & bucking the trend by exporting to the Far East & around the world!
Growing up, was your career aspirations fashion orientated or did you have another career in mind? When did you start to cultivate an interest in fashion?
I was always interested in fashion however, I joined the Army aged 15, left at 22 & took a computer science degree that helped me to design, develop & distribute products & applications for an array of sectors & markets. Whilst I did not knowingly seek out fashion as a specific career path it became apparent that my logical, process based approach was highly appropriate to fashion design & product development.
Packed in iconic gold boxed packaging, every garment in the 2016 range is made by hand at the Undercrackers Manchester factory, constructed from UK made premium cotton jersey fabrics. Your company claim that it makes the most comfortable underpants on the market. So what makes them the most comfortable – is it the fabric, sizing, style etc?
Undercrackers are comfortable because we designed them for real men. That may sound a little clichéd however we recruited a team of male guinea pigs to test our prototype designs & then listened carefully to their feedback. This was a critical stage of the brand’s development as we had selected a real cross section of men that comprised of every possible body shape & size. I was very keen to create a comfortable brief that provided comfort to men of all sizes rather than just a 32” waist ‘average man’. I also do not believe in selling any style that I myself do not personally wear & love. I try every new variant & even wash it to check how well it wears over time. The comfort comes from a combination of supportive design & high quality, breathable fabric. We have even conducted ‘blind’ comparison tests with other products on the market & ours (thankfully) have always come out on top. Of course everyone has a personal preference when it comes to style & this is why we have stuck with 3 base options, a brief, short trunk & boxer trunk. Hopefully there is something for every man out there!
For 2016, you plan to add to the collection of underpants – swimwear, base layers and functional undergarments. What do you look for when deciding what to add to your brand – popular styles, old favourites, customer suggestions, your own tastes or bits of all those?
We do listen to our customer feedback & in fact our new traditional cotton long johns are the result of a customer request. The majority of our new lines are based on our initial game plan which was always to launch the underwear & then add staple products such as undershirts & base layers around them. As I mentioned earlier, we only develop something that we would like to wear ourselves & this keeps myself & my team grounded as our goal is to maintain & build an iconic undergarment brand. We are not about to launch shirts or knitwear! We have tons of swimwear ideas as, similar to underwear, men’s swimwear is a little underrepresented in the middle ground & we hope to have our first range ready for this summer.
From your current collection, what has been your most popular design to date? Have you got a personal favourite?
The boxer trunk is far & away the most popular in terms of sales however my favourite remains the solid brief simply because this to me is what a perfect pair of underpants should look like!
When not selling underpants, what sports or activities do you enjoy pursuing?
I love the Lake District, walking & open natural spaces as it gives me true ‘me time’ however I also run & exercise daily & still get regularly beaten at squash!
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
My favourite menswear designer is Orlebar Brown, his shirts just work with anything & his style is unique yet definitive if that makes sense. Shoes must be Campanile or Mr Hare. The first are seriously comfortable & the latter just beautifully made & iconic however my Gucci boots are also an absolute wardrobe essential for me. I have so many fashion faves that I could list them all day but I do have a soft spot for Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label as he uses the finest Italian threads & fabrics that make you feel truly special!
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)
I love Mr Porter, Matches Fashion, Woodhouse Clothing & Ralph Lauren. If I can’t find what I like on one of these then I give up as they all offer a great selection of styles for both formal & casualwear!
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I only wear suits occasionally but I am in the market for a new one & Kilgour or Richard James is in my sights however my bank manager may try & talk me out of it!
Boots or Shoes?
Boots because they are just so much more versatile. One great pair of boots is worth 8 pairs of shoes in my reckoning because I can wear them with loads of different outfits including, off duty, semi-formal & workwear.
Which famous gent (dead or alive) would you love to see as the “body” of Undercrackers?
It would have to be Mr Roger Moore. I may be showing my age here, but he was the best Bond & a real cool Brit icon.
Website/social media details…..
Thanks for chatting to us on the blog, Drew! I definitely agree with you about Roger Moore – he was my favourite Bond too! Comfortable underwear is a must whatever your sex – I go for thongs or lace shorties…. What underwear do you consider comfortable? Do tell…..
All photographs have been published with kind permission from Undercrackers.