A GLAM SLAM TALKS TO KINGS AND JAXS ABOUT UNDERWEAR DESIGN & SIGNING RUSSELL WESTBROOK
With the NBA Playoffs in full swing, players like Russell Westbrook have been showcasing their creativity on the fashion front. The Oklahoma City Thunder guard has proven to be fearless with his off-court wardrobe. He makes strong sartorial statements from head-to-toe, and now down to his underwear choices. LA-based brand, Kings and Jaxs, tapped the NBA baller to model the company’s boxer briefs and provide input on designs. The underwear aligns with Westbrook’s personal style, as the Kings and Jaxs range features unique artwork and vibrant hues.
The relationship between athletes and underwear brands is a longstanding one. With his Kings and Jaxs fashion gig, Westbrook joins sports pros including David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Henrik Lundqvist and Michael Jordan, who have modeled in their briefs and developed signature styles.
A Glam Slam caught up with Frank Kashare, CEO of Kings and Jaxs, who spoke about developing the brand, athletes and underwear gigs, the decision to sign Russell Westbrook, and Westbrook’s involvement in the design process. Check it out:
The idea of Kings and Jaxs was born over a $2 taco plate. Can you expand on that story? What was your background prior to creating the company?
The story is true! Without getting into the nitty gritty details…..It was guy talk about an experience one of us had with a girl. Long story short, the pants were gonna come off. We both agreed ladies generally look so damn good in that lingerie and have so many options we just couldn’t believe what few options existed for men’s underwear that was built right and made a statement when your pants come off!
Eric (Rudy) Rudolph and I had been designing, developing, marketing and distributing technical apparel, protective equipment and accessories within the motorcycle and bicycle industry for a long long time. The products are painstaking to produce. Technical fabrics, kevlar, leather, PU coated materials, fiberglass shells and injection molded plastics. Many of the products we were producing had to withstand high speed impact crashes from some of the world’s fastest racers. We just knew we could build men’s underwear that was better, fit right, felt fantastic and let men be proud when their pants came off!
What are the qualities that set Kings and Jaxs apart from other brands?
The production quality is premium! Each set is produced in a laser cut pattern and hand sewn. Each piece is pre-shrunk allowing a great fit from the first time they are worn. The waist bands are produced using a full custom woven blend which is ultra soft on the inside and completely flexible throughout for premium comfort. Labels are made from hand woven silk so you don’t feel them at all, ever! The graphics are applied per piece per size. No all over prints that look right on one size but silly on other sizes. These are specific graphics that look the same on each pair whether you buy the XS or the XL. And finally the art itself. Kings and Jaxs is a fashion statement like no other! The graphics are bright, bold and make a statement! There are graphics to fit a man every day from the boardroom to a night out, we got you covered!
Russell Westbrook is well-known for his eccentric sense of style off-the-court. Your designs have a similar vibe, bringing that bold, “peacocking” approach to underwear. Is that among the reasons why you decided to partner with him?
We had a lot of athletes we had talked to but our partner Jordan Cohen immediately felt Russell was the perfect fit for the brand! Jordan was 100% correct! Russell has been labeled a fashion icon and there is no doubt that Russell has an eye for what’s happening in fashion.
Westbrook joins a long list of athletes who have endorsed underwear and/or developed their own signature lines. From David Beckham to Rafael Nadal to Henrik Lundqvist, and dating back to Jim Palmer and Michael Jordan. Why do you think this athlete/underwear relationship is so prominent?
Every kid wants to be a top athlete. We grow up playing sports. We hope to succeed in sport and in many ways, sports are a metaphor for life. Marketing with key iconic athletes is fantastic however, in many ways Russell is even more. I am blown away by how nice, grounded and truly kind Russell is. Not only is he an incredible athlete but he is a caring, giving individual. He is an animal on the court. He is passionate about his sport and he is determined to give back through his charity, the Why Not foundation.
Russell has designed a pair of Kings and Jaxs briefs set to drop on Father’s Day. Can you talk about this specific style? How hands-on was he in developing the underwear?
Russell of course has final say in the design. His Why Not Kings and Jaxs underwear will go on sale this Father’s Day and will remain available through 2014. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Why Not Kings and Jaxs go directly to the Why Not Foundation supporting the lives of children and teaching them to never give up!
The Fall line of Kings and Jaxs includes special custom poly blend materials with full sublimated graphics. Russell has chosen The Why Not design to be the first in the all new material to be released.
How much input will he have moving forward, as you design new styles?
We run all the graphics by Russell. He has design input. If he wants to see something specific, we design it. As the collection grows I am sure you will continue to see more and more of Russell’s influence in the graphics. I think he is having fun providing ideas for the line.
Several athletes have tweeted photos with your underwear. Would you consider adding other sports stars to your roster down the road?
We have been very fortunate to have many top celebrities and athletes ask for underwear and choose to use Kings and Jaxs! They love the fit and feel and wear them proudly. We thank all of them for choosing the brand and for taking pics and providing us some social media love! I am not sure about more athletes in the future but you never know!
Do you have plans to expand the company’s offerings beyond boxer briefs?
Yes. We plan to do trunks and briefs in 2015. Right now we are pressing hard to keep up with the demand for the boxer briefs. So far it has been amazing and we simply hope to continue to produce the world’s finest men’s underwear!