Influencer Garrett Swann and seasoned fashion executive Tom Speight noticed a gap in the world of men’s underwear, and so they joined forces to launch ALPHX: undies for every guy. The duo tells The Daily how they’re giving men more options when it comes to sizing and why they’re setting out to be the first men’s underwear line to focus on body positivity.
Tell us a little bit about your professional backgrounds!
Tom: I’ve held senior positions at several global lifestyle brands over my 30+ year career, including president of Calvin Klein Underwear and Jeans, North America, 2(X)IST, Kate Spade, and Ralph Lauren Intimates, to name a few.
Garrett: I keep on reinventing myself! One of the things that I always wanted to do was a clothing line and here I am launching ALPHX. My dreams were to be a TV and film star, but I only got 14.5 minutes of fame. I was ripped off thirty seconds. I spent years in Hollywood decorating sets as a set decorator and art director, but after my short lived TV [acting] career on Fashion House with Bo Derek, I realized I wanted more. I began producing and directing short films and that content creation turned into a career as an influencer and model in NYC [gaining] over 360K followers on social media.
What made you feel there was a need in the market for another underwear brand?
Tom: We spoke to a lot of guys before starting, and they told us that unless you are size medium, it’s hard to find good-looking, well-fitting underwear in the market. The average male in the U.S. has a 40-inch waist, but you would never know it by looking at the underwear available for sale. Today’s consumers want relatable brands. Women’s brands like Third Love and Knix have built large businesses celebrating body positivity, and no one is really doing that for men. And we have just as many issues as women when it comes to feeling good about ourselves.
Garrett: As an underwear enthusiast and aligning with Tom vision, underwear is just the beginning and just the first layer, per se. Just like life, we work from the inside out and that allows us to do the storytelling of the ALPHX lifestyle. There is no body positivity in the marketplace for men and it’s time to open up the conversation of promoting all body types. It’s so much more relatable.
How did you begin the process?
Tom: Garrett and I were friends before we started ALPHX. We actually met at a 2(X)IST PR event and hit it off. We have very complementary skill sets, which have worked well to get ALPHX off of the ground. I understand the supply chain, operations, finance, and general management, and Garrett understands digital marketing, especially social media, and building successful brand ambassador campaigns. He is also incredibly connected, which has helped us tremendously with content for the site.
How many types of underwear are you launching and what makes them different than other brands?
Tom: We’re different from other brands in the marketplace because our goal is to fit more men better. That means we offer 130 styles, color, and size options for men to find their best fit. From XS (size 26″) to XXL (46″) including an industry first leg-fit option. We created the slimmer contemporary MDRN and the roomier ATHLTC fit. Think of jeans: a man who has a medium-sized waist and larger thighs has had trouble in the past. He had to size up to fit his legs and his waistband was loose or if they fit his waist, he wore a tourniquet around his legs all day! The same concept worked in reverse too. Now he can match his waist size with his ideal leg size for a better fit. This feature is available in our trunks and boxer brief styles. We also built a personalized, easy to use fit recommender to sort through the options and guide him to his best size.
Garrett: We are launching with three silhouettes (Briefs, Trunks & Boxer Briefs) and five colors. All men are created equal but our thighs aren’t! We’re also incorporating body positivity that has rarely been served in the mens apparel space.
Where can customers find the products?
Tom: We want to shape our own narrative, so we are launching exclusively at ALPHX.com. We can also offer our customers the highest quality at a competitive retail price by cutting out the middleman.
You can take the labels off but we hear they come with something a little extra. Tell us about that!
Tom: We hate labels, both metaphorically and physically, so we like the idea of tearing them off. Some brands print on the fabric to avoid tags, but we think that looks messy. The print flakes off over time and can leave irritating residual particles. We include an inspirational quote along with all of the required information. We selected five from various sources, each one inspiring us to become better versions of ourselves. Kind of like a fortune cookie!
Tell us about the charity/mental health component.
Tom: Garrett and I believe strongly in giving back. Long before COVID, we identified men’s mental health as the area we wanted to support. As men, we carry around so much baggage, and more often than not, we do nothing about it because we are afraid to appear weak. Statistically, men are more likely than women to suffer from addiction, commit suicide etc. COVID has only exacerbated this problem. In fact, this area is so underserved that it’s hard to find organizations in this area to support. That’s why we are collecting a percentage of sales, putting it aside, and asking our customers to contact us with suggested organizations.
What’s been the most surprising aspect of creating an underwear line?
Tom: Everything! We are essentially a two man team juggling many moving parts, but it has been a fantastic journey. Doing a socially-distanced fitting last winter was hysterical. I can only imagine what my neighbors thought having a man in his underwear out on my deck in January. Not something you see every day in Connecticut.
Garrett: Patience has the been the biggest learning lesson here. And here we are creating a brand during a pandemic. Are we nuts? In a good way, yes. It gave us the opportunity to deepen the message and story of building a great brand from the inside out. By the way, we nailed the virtual fittings.