If there are two things Style Life is based on, it would be newness and diversity. I’m always looking for new designers, products and points of view that add something different to a sea of same-same. And as the fashion/clothing industry becomes more democratic with the rise of online shopping, it’s becoming easier to shop any trend, at any price point and now in almost any size.
I recently discovered the Toronto-based Parker & Pine, a new line of boxer briefs for plus-sized men. (If you don’t fit standard S/M/L sizing, your options in clothing can be a bit limited, and that can be said for the smaller boys, too.) Co-founded by Leo Park and Irfan Hajee, Parker & Pine was inspired by their obsession with menswear and a passing suggestion by a friend to design a product for bigger guys. Through Ryerson University’s Fashion Zone, a startup incubator for fashion-related businesses, they were connected with mentors, one being Daniel Drak, who could help advise their company through its newborn stage.
Crowd sourcing — via social media, questionnaires and one-on-one chats with customers — is a key part of Park and Hajee’s strategy; they find it’s the best way to improve their product. Parker & Pine boxer briefs (sizes XL through 4XL) are detailed for comfort and available in multiple colours. An angled waistband, the use of Tencel (a super comfy, breathable and durable fabric) and a clean design distinguish P&P from brands that offer only smaller sizes.
Park and Hajee admit it was difficult to find models for their campaign, since men in their target market don’t usually work as models — or have even thought they could. Once again, they hit the streets and scouted, stuffed flyers on people’s windshields and reached out through social media and on Craigslist. Eventually, they found what they were looking for on the University of Toronto rugby team and the Model Mayhem website. We were lucky enough to find the adorable Ron to bare it all(most) for our shoot. (On a side note: Ron found the briefs awfully comfortable, so he was more than happy to keep them — in cobalt blue, ninja black, and white — after we wrapped.)
The key to great underwear — and style in general — is the fit. If something fits you well, you’ll feel and look great in it, no matter what size you are.
I think Park and Hajee are smart to be putting all their energy into one product at this point, but as they evolve, they promise to stay true to their values and let customer feedback influence what they design and produce. I can’t wait to see what they develop next!
Check out this XXL slideshow of Parker & Pine’s undies, worn by Ron and shot by David Pike.