UnderFit Shirts was created by Ben Brockland & David Palmer because they saw a problem with the fitting of undershirts.
Men’s Fashion by Francesco has had the privilege of an exclusive interview with Ben.
Thank you, Ben, for your time. Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself:
I grew up in St. Louis. Growing up I always felt privileged for the position I was in. Really good family, no big adversity, schooling paid for, etc… I wasn’t spoiled by any means (that’s not the ship my parents ran) but it made me feel that with all the privilege I had growing up as a male in America, there was a certain onus on me to really push myself and try to work harder than everyone else. I think this shaped a lot of how I look at business and my propensity to take risk.
Where do you currently reside?
San Francisco, finally!
Why do you say that?
Over the past five years I have lived in Boulder, New York, Denver, Chicago, and now San Francisco. After seeing so much of great towns, I decided to finally land in the place that brought together the best aspects of them all. Big city, really driven young working population, and access to the outdoors. What more could you want?
When did you enter the world of menswear?
As soon as I found functional issues with my every day wear. I have always thought, if you have a problem the only option is to change it, or certainly don’t complain about it (no one likes a complainer, so don’t do it). This really struck me with the undershirt market so I set out to relentlessly discover top notch fabrics and pair them with a “fit” that everyone knew they needed but didn’t have.
What factors led to this realization?
Need. Necessity is the best action driver there is. And sincerely dealing with a problem every day is the best way to try and find a solution. I’m sitting at work in the office 80+ hours a week and the thing that bothers me most was my undershirt fit TERRIBLY. Something seemed wrong here…. Working 80+ hours/week and my biggest annoyance was an undershirt. So, I took it upon myself to fix the problem and UnderFit was born.
What drives your design and sets you apart?
Physical form influences our products most heavily. Really understanding how the human body is shaped and how it moves is the core driver. Once you have a handle on this, it becomes easier to create products that work with the body.
How would you sum it up in one word?
Understated excellence. We want our customers to think about our product once per day, when they put the shirt on. After that we’re doing our job if they don’t think about us once again. Sounds simple but you have to create a perfect design to pull this off.
Define perfect in terms of your shirts…
Clean with fine lines.
How do you find the fashion scene in San Francisco?
San Francisco is such a mixed bag. During my time in Manhattan it was easy to tell who was “killing it”. Beautiful tailored suits and shoes that stood out from across the room. But out here, success takes so many forms that it’s a totally different scene. Men still really care about how they look but there is so much more variety. Refreshing I’d say.
Who would you say typically wears UnderFit?
We’re a big seller into Wall Street; our client list spans every big bank. This definitely carries over into San Francisco where we sell into men working at top tech companies; really Silicon Valley is San Francisco’s Wall Street. And we’re well represented in both.
Do you emphasize sustainability in your production?
Yes, there’s so much changing with fabrics. Cotton used to be such a key driver but now we’re using ProModal which is one of the most sustainable fibers produced. It’s grown on land that can’t be used for agriculture and takes about a tenth of the water to produce that cotton does. It’s also a much better fabric so we couldn’t be any happier.
Well thank you, Ben, for your time and I wish you all the success as you continue to grow your business.
Learn more about UnderFit shirst at http://www.underfitshirts.com/
Photos Copyright UnderFit.