In the summer of 2015, I joined the rest of the world watching the “Site Under Construction” page replace the vibrant content of the Undergear website, I felt a sense of loss. International Male and Undergear, were an important part of my youth. They were a little voice during the Reagan years whispering “there are more of us than you think” and “maybe a neon crop-top will go with those preppy pants.” Even if that little voice was wildly wrong about the neon – and an entire collection of swimwear, it was right about the growing sense of community that it helped to foster.
Looking for an update on the closing of the company a month or so later, I googled the names of some of the more recent models and a few other terms that would normally produce several pages of accurate results and – what the –! The search terms were already disintegrating after a few weeks!
I began to gather data and images as best I could while they were still available. SEO is particularly unkind to 15-year old fan sites created during the dial-up era. In the back of my head, I felt that there was a story in here somewhere. What I quickly discovered is there are hundreds of interesting stories and that I knew people who knew people. So I started compiling bios, stories, photos and they started to shape a larger collective narrative spanning 40 years. Who were these guys? What became of them? How did a men’s underwear retailer become a subsidiary of a coffee company?
The more I learned, the more interesting it became. And each story and photo gallery seemed to make a nice 24-100 page digital magazine issue. Of more than 100 scheduled, the first 18 issues are finished and on line. Every couple of days, a new one should emerge. So keep in touch. And welcome!