Tribe Underwear Interview
How did you get started in the Men’s Underwear business?
12 years ago while on holiday we read an article in a tabloid magazine which mentioned that David Beckham liked to wear Victoria’s underwear around the house sometimes because the fabric felt so nice, we laughed at the time but then both thought ‘why isn’t there anything available for men like that’. So we started to do some investigations and realised that men’s underwear was really quite boring and functional, & that no one had really done anything to cover the fashion, or sexy side for men’s underwear.
We spent quite a long time doing research and speaking to lots of guys as to what they were after in fit and comfort and 3 years before we launched we started doing testing with lots of different fabrics and styles.
You have some interesting styles, what is your inspiration for designing?
The inspiration behind our designs comes from wanting to use really beautiful, soft, tactile fabrics and make them into men’s underwear which is masculine & sexy.
When we launched the range in 2008 we tried to get just the right mix of sexiness and comfort, we tried all the fabrics in the 6 different styles (from slim side brief to Long Boxer Short), to see what fabric worked best in the different styles and changed the fit according to what ooked good on the body. All our styles are wear tested because it is not just about what looks good, but also about standing the test of time.
The underwear you make is very sexy, what has been the feed back from your customers on the lines?
Guys are absolutely loving the fabrics and styling we are offering because it is so different from what is presently available & with 6 different styles to choose from our range covers the needs of every guy.
Our soft covered waistband has proved to be a real winner, with the feedback we are getting that it is unbelievably comfortable, especially compared to the high branded waistbands that tend to dig into you especially if you have put on a few pounds.
Tell us about your your new swimwear line, when did the line come out?
When we first launched a lot of guys thought that some of our underwear looked like swimwear because of the refined styling & funky prints and after customers were constantly asking us if we were going to do swimwear we decided to do a range which we launched in September 2009 and the response so far has been fantastic, guys seem to really be loving our vibrant funky prints and comfortable supportive fit.
The theme this year with our swimwear is ‘Hawaiian Holiday’, so we had prints done that reflected that summer feel. All our prints have been done by a heat transfer printing process (in Australia) for an incredibly vibrant & soft finish & to make our swimwear a bit more unique a lot of the styles have been hand cut for the perfect placement of the prints.
What are your favorite pairs you sell currently?
Bettina : My favourite pair of underwear is the Black Devore Short Boxer, because the fabric looks amazing on and is beautiful to touch as the pattern is in velvet (very lush).
My favourite pair of swimwear is the Hibiscus Swim Short, with a White background & vibrant Orange, Red & Yellow Hibiscus it just looks amazing and remind me of summer & the little short style just looks fantastic on (if you have got it why not flaunt it).
Tony : My favourite pair of underwear would have to be the Devore Short Boxer, the fabric feels incredibly soft on the skin and I love the styling of the short boxer with the shaped leg as I find it very comfortable.
The NEW Palm and the Modal / Spandex are also a winner with me as they are incredibly soft fabrics and feel great to wear.
We said Australian companies are starting to make a big influence on the men’s underwear market around the world, why do you think that is?
Australian companies in general are renowned for their quality and ingenuity and this is very evident in the men’s underwear market. TRIBE is 100% Australian designed & made and that gives us an advantage in quality control and being able to act quickly to the needs of our customers. Australia is regarded as a very masculine country with our outdoor lifestyle with Surf Lifesavers, Football player’s and The Outback and as such breeds a ‘can do’ attitude, this is entrenched in our business ethics and a belief that we can compete with anyone on the world stage, also our distance from the rest of the world, means we are less influenced by European and American trends and as such tend to set our own trends which the rest of the world have started to follow.
Any plans for the future you can share with us?
We are currently working on a new range of underwear and swimwear with exciting new fabrics and colours which will be released in mid 2010 so keep your eyes peeled for that !!
We are getting a lot of sales and enquiries Internationally, so in 2010 we will be looking for Retail opportunities in America & Europe.