On National Underwear Day, I had the pleasure of speaking with the President of Freshpair.com and Founder of National Underwear Day, Michael Kleinmann about the event and about the newly launched Freshpair, Freshstart program.
How did National Underwear Day begin?
National Underwear Day started 5 years ago as a way to bring more attention to the intimate apparel industry. It started out as a guerilla marketing event in which we had 20 models promoting Freshpair.com around New York City. Last year, we decided to make the focus the fashion show and closed off Military Island in Times Square. Now we have 55 models here on our elevated runway.
Why Times Square?
We chose Times Square because of the history of underwear inTimes Square from the Calvin Klein ads of the 80s to the Naked Cowboy. It was a natural fit.
What kind of trends are you seeing on the runway?
For men, a lot of color and prints are being used. Men are no longer satisfied with being restricted to just black, white, and gray.
With women, I am noticing a lot of seamless, invisible, and low rise items including some that dip lower in the back because women donâ€™t want their bra or underwear to show under their clothing. Boyshorts are a popular item for women who donâ€™t like wearing thongs, but still donâ€™t want their underwear to show.
What are you doing to gain a stronger male interest in intimates?
For starters, we have an equal representation of men and women as models. On our site, menâ€™s items are also well represented.
At Freshpair.com, what do you pride yourself in the most?
We pride ourselves in our customer service. Customer service is the most important thing. We have free shipping!
How do you see National Underwear Day growing in the future?
The goal is for National Underwear Day to continue to expand and be in multiple cities.
How can people celebrate National Underwear Day if they are not in the New York City area?
People can celebrate National Underwear Day by buying a new pair of underwear or donating a pair to charity.
Could you tell me more about your charitable initiative, Freshpair, Freshstart?
The Freshpair, Freshstart intiative began because we wanted a way to give back to the community. We chose to partner with Safe Horizon because they are a national leader in victim assistance reaching over 350,000 people a year. In addition to donating money, we will be donating thousands of pairs of underwear to people in need.
Please go to Freshpair.com for more information on anything Michael mentioned. I am particularly excited to see how the menâ€™s intimate apparel market develops. Even more so, I am eager to see the great impact that Freshpair, Freshstart will have on the lives of those who need it most.
I also had the honor of meeting with Scott Millstein, Chief Operating Officer of Safe Horizon, an organization dedicated to providing support for victims of abuse and violence as well as raising awareness about these issues.
Could you tell me about the mission of Safe Horizon?
Safe Horizon is based in New York City. We do a lot of public awareness campaigns to highlight the issues of violence and abuse. Itâ€™s an important part of our mission to raise awareness of these issues because they are national issues and societal issues. Our mission is to also provide practical assistance and help our clients stay safe. One of the ways in which we raise awareness is through our national partnerships.
Who are the people you serve and what can they do in a crisis?
The people we serve are victims of domestic violence, child abuse, violent crimes. The statistics show that there is a need. One in three women report being victims of domestic violence. In New York City, there are 50,000 reported cases of abuse each year. In a recent poll, 21% of working adults cited being victims of domestic violence. We have a hotline that people in need can call. In New York City, we take over 400 calls daily and provide necessary support such as shelter, clothing, and food.
How did the partnership develop between Safe Horizon and Freshpair?
The partnership began after some Freshpair executives attended a Safe Horizon event a few months ago and were impressed with the organization’s service and expertise. Freshpair believes in giving back to the community and wanted to develop a long-term partnership with an organization that could really impact the lives of those in need.
Our clients come to us in crisis, many fleeing an abusive situation in the middle of the night with only the clothes on their backs. They cannot begin to start the healing process through our services, such as counseling, if they are worried about necessities such as clothes, food, child care, and shelter. Some of our sponsors provide the used clothes, used toys, and so on that our clients can use. The only thing you canâ€™t donate used is underwear. Those need to be new. The partnership with Freshpair just makes sense. In addition to their financial contribution, they are also donating 6,000 pairs of underwear to be given to those we serve, including homeless and at-risk youth.
Why are these issues important to our readers and what can they do to contribute?
These issues impact all of us. We see this as a call to action. Everyone can be a part of the solution. The more people that learn and educate themselves the more people that will realize they can make a difference. They can make a meaningful contribution on their own. There are other ways they can get involved as well by helping those in their community and their friends. Based on the statistics, it is likely that someone in their life has been affected by violence. It could be at home or the workplace. The more we address the issues, the more able we will be to solve them.
To find out more about Safe Horizon and how they move victims of violence from crisis to confidence, please check out their website at http://www.safehorizon.org/.
Check out the following video for more information on the Freshpair, Freshstart initiative.