Scotsmen may be renowned for wearing nothing under their kilts, but an Edinburgh entrepreneur is hoping to make the country a world leader in male underwear thanks to his revolutionary new design.
Simon Phillips is aiming to do for men what award-winning Scottish bra-designer Michelle Mone did for women by creating supportive undergarments that are designed to adapt to different body shapes.
The designer said he was inspired to come up with his Cahoonas brand after realising that the basic patterns of male underwear had not changed since the early 20th century when first boxer shorts and then the Y-front became the most popular designs.
“I felt men were being bypassed by all the design changes that had benefitted women’s underwear in terms of fabrics, curve stitching and so on,” he said. “Then when I found out that 75 per cent of men dress to the left and 25 per cent to the right and I realised no underwear designers were taking that into consideration I knew something had to be done.”
After spending a year and a half working with experts from the textile department of Heriot-Watt University, Mr Phillips came up with the design he hopes will launch a new era of male underwear comfort by offering customers the chance to buy left or right fitting pants.
The Cahoonas’ style incorporates a supportive “S pocket” which the makers say adapts to physical differences for a more “ergonomic, comfortable fit”.
Mr Phillips and his wife, Georgia Goodall, used crowd-sourcing – where people can make online financial pledges to support fledgling projects – to raise more than £5000-worth of pre-orders.
Ms Goodall, who has a background in marketing, said research showed that most male underwear is actually purchased by women on men’s behalf. The company hopes to teach women about the importance to men of the right fit.
Mr Phillips revealed the company is also working on a range of seam-free, supportive sports underwear. He said one design is currently being trialled by a Hibs player, but refused to divulge who.
The first batch of Cahoonas arrived in their office this week and will be shipped out to pre-ordering customers immediately. New customers will be able to buy the £27 pants online once those initial orders have been fulfilled.
Ms Goodall said: “There’s already a lot of great textile and fashion design in Scotland. We want to open a factory in the area. It’s important to us that our products are made in Britain.”
The couple have 11-year-old twins who are a bit embarrassed their dad makes pants. But they hope Cahoonas will become a design classic that the youngsters will grow up to be proud of.
‘I THINK IT’S A GENIUS IDEA’
Evening News fashion writer Lynne McCrossan said she believed there could be a major market for a new style of men’s underwear, and that left and right style pants could prove popular.
She said: “I am shocked such things don’t exist already, but I think it’s genius. Apart from the comfort issues for men, from a fashion aspect it could also help smooth out unsightly underwear bulges beneath the trousers.
“Previously the only real fashion trend in men’s underwear was the high-end brands designed for the label to be seen over the trousers, but that was very much about the 1990s designer label trend. If they market it to men in terms of sports and practicality first I think it could really fly.”