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FOR HIM

PHOTOGRAPHY: EMILIO GOMEZ 
 MODEL: JONATAN GUTIERREZ

The rise of the men's lingerie look has been one of the most significant men's fashion stories of the last few years. DNA spoke to Thijs van Herten, Creative Director of ThePack Underwear, which has been leading the way.

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DNA: ThePack have made this look very popular. It combines masculine elements, like the harness and the bulging pouch, with feminine elements like the garter belt and the stocking. What does this reflect about our current cultural and aesthetic values?

Thijs: This is slowly becoming key to ThePack's aesthetic. We love the play on gender and the traditional constructs of "which clothing belongs to which gender". We're in an interesting time when it comes to exploring new expressions of sexuality and sensuality. Fashion is, as ever, evolving and reflecting the times and the overall sentiment of the society it serves.


DNA: Men's lingerie was once taboo and considered a fetish. Now it's out of the closet and onto the dancefloor! Are we being braver?

Thijs: As a bold example: Madonna's 1990 con bra [designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier] was a statement of female empowerment and an act of defiance against her conservative detractors. It helped propel a movement of women becoming more aware of their sexuality and owning it. I feel men's lingerie is doing exactly that: our community is
taking its power and running with it. It is amazing to see the courage and creativity our community has when styling these products in new ways that push us forward.

 

DNA: Chicken or egg? Are men experimenting with these looks because designers are making them, or are designers making them because it's where men are taking fashion?

Thijs: There is so much creativity out there and sharing it with the world is easier than ever. It would be quite bold to assume a top-down approach. l believe our community moves the needle first, claiming a space. Brands and designers answer this by translating these ideas into their vision.

 

DNA: Did you initially design your lingerie pieces as bedroom and play garments for private use and are now surprised to see them as partywear, or did you always think they'd end in public?

Thijs: In the creative process, I envision our designs worn by performers, voguers, pole dancers and used for editorials, not necessarily for the bedroom: Nothing wrong with that of course, but that’s just not my personal process. Our lingerie pieces can definitely be used in more private settings, but at the same time: Don’t you want to show them off?


DNA: What do your customers tell you about this sort of gear?

Thijs: We regularly get emails with people saying how amazing these products make them feel when they put them on. It’s that energizing effect when you put something on that makes you feel liberated and empowered. We love hearing it and we still celebrate every individual message like it, as it is the embodiment of our brand slogan “Live Louder”.

DNA: I think this sort of gear looks best on quite masculine, well-build men. Do you have any thoughts on who it suits best?

Thijs: Especially for bodices, lingerie & gear: these products can elevate either masculine or feminine energy and it’s really the image you’d like to exude, rather than your actual body type. Confidence and individuality are key!


DNA: Where to from here?

Thijs: There’s so much to explore still! We’ll keep pushing the edges of gender constructs, playing with codes of our community and broadening our points of view. In the words of another icon, the late Iris Apfel: “More is more and less is a bore”.

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