We love an independent trader at SevenStreets. And we love a snuggly fitting sports brief too, if you really must know. So imagine our delight when we came upon a new Liverpool underwear label. And, for once, it’s not the latest brand extension of a desperate Scousewife, but one aimed squarely at the lads.
Urban Active is the name emblazoned on that oh-so-on trend broad waistband, and its getting quite a bit of exposure in all the right places. But can it compete with the big boys, we wondered?
The brand – Liverpool owned, Liverpool designed and Liverpool modelled – is the latest below the belt adventure by Liverpool’s underwear king, Brian Gould. He’s been in underwear for 25 years. But this time, he means business.
“It’s a very hard market, but we have a good finished product and the prices are good. We’ve sourced a great factory, one of the best in the world, so we’re feeling very positive,” he tells SevenStreets.
“In Liverpool, we have some of the best designers in the UK. That’s something the Far East lacks. And graphic designers too. Our boxes really have to stand out.”
To that end, he’s enlisted a couple of off duty squaddies and personal fitness instructors to display his goods in all their glory, and will be enlisting students from Liverpool Community College for a future fashion show, with a view to supporting the work of CALM.
Current poster boy, Paul Gordon is taking his pants down manoeuvres in his stride (or, technically, out of them). A personal training instructor in an infantry regiment, he’s gearing up for a tour of duty with some hitherto unmet challenges. Patrolling Helmand is one thing. Dropping yer kecks in Liverpool ONE is quite another.
“Almost in one breath I went from the scorching heat of the desert to Seel Street where I found myself in my underwear, surrounded by photographers, soft boxes and flashlights,” he says. Like, who hasn’t?
“It’s really nice to be a part of something positive taking place in Liverpool, as all the people involved were local businesses working together with a zest for success and clear and high ambitions. The success so far rests at the door of local workshops and entrepreneurs in Liverpool who’ve made use of local talent to create something special.”
“We aim to have our range available in John Lewis and Selfridges, because people really need to see and feel the quality of our products, alongside brands retailing at three times the price,” says Gould, convinced that, once felt, his product will stand up next to the competition.
“Our products will be of similar quality to the high-end retailers, but our Pro Stretch Trunks will be priced at £7.99, compared to the £20-plus of other high-end manufacturers.”
With the UK Men’s underwear market currently worth an eye-popping £850m per year, underwear is (like it or not) much more of a visible fashion statement these days (honestly, there was a lad in Camp and Furnace last night whose jeans were precariously slung completely beneath his butt cheeks. Almost put me off my chorizo burger.)
Maybe, once again, Liverpool will be praised for its superior ball control. It’s been a while.