& VINEGAR, CANADA
By Duane Wells
As the founder and former president of the hugely popular
Ginch Gonch label, Jason Sutherland is no stranger to
breaking new ground in the mens underwear category.
Quite the contrary, hes a bit of a legend in it,
but even Jason had no idea that he would make his mark
on the world with his undies.
In another life, Sutherland worked as
an executive in the film and television industry. He
got his start in the biz while studying cinematography
at the National Theatre School of Canada where he was
offered an extremely well-paying job working in the
film business long before he even graduated. Of course,
he left school and leapt at the opportunity. Twelve
years hence, however, on the heels of the 9/11 attacks,
the film and television industry became more volatile
in Canada, in part due to efforts in California and
New York to keep more film and production domestic,
and Jason began to consider other career paths.
While raising money for a film, Jason
first became attracted to the world of mens undergarments
when he went out one weekend and spent $60 on a single
pair of red underwear. He so fell in love with the vibrantly
colored undergear that he washed it out and wore it
every day for a week.
It didnt take long for Jason to
realize that there was nothing all that special about
his newly beloved pair of underwear beyond the fit and
the fact that they werent black, grey, or white
like everything else in the department stores. From
there, Jason went off and conceptualized the quirky,
whimsical Ginch Gonch line, and six months later he
had fallen very successfully into the underwear business
with a brand that caused an instant sensation.
Two years ago, Brian sold Ginch Gonch
and now hes back with the Canada-based Piss
& Vinegar (www.pissvinegar.com),
a brand he says has the potential to be even bigger
than anything hes done before.
We started Piss & Vinegar
with the intention of creating a grown up version of
fun-derwear that would allow for various product extensions
and categories, he tells me. [Our line]
has got a Pop Art feeling that is very modern, and Id
like to think that some of the designs were doing
are awesome pieces of art. Piss & Vinegar provides
you with comfort and it provides you with style and
confidence. I want to create something that people love
and enjoy and that gives them that pride and confidence
that they need, whether its on or off.
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So far, Piss & Vinegar is off to
a boffo start. The I Love
the first Piss & Vinegar collection with its I
Love Jesus briefs, featuring the image of Jesus
Christ on the front and the words Jesus Loves
Me on the rear, have already created quite a buzz.
As have the I Love Boys and I Love
Girls briefs, which are, in and of themselves,
conversation pieces. Next up, stay tuned for a Sex,
Drugs, and Rock n Roll line.
As for his penchant for pushing buttons,
first with racy designs at Ginch Gonch and now with
controversial, boundary-busting artwork seen in designs
from Piss & Vinegar, Sutherland brushes off the
suggestion and explains it away as being an outgrowth
of his Canadian heritage.
Canadians think really differently
when it comes to sex. Im not saying that were
different in how we operate during sex, but were
a liberal society, the underwear king explains.
Canadians have always been more liberal, and were
known as being a more liberal society that had gay rights
ratified much sooner than the US, and that has not had
racial issues exist as prominently as they have in America.
Its thinking differently that allows you to have
that spirit of being a Canadian. [And] thats the
meaning behind Piss & Vinegar.
Just as with his designs, Jason is placing
no boundary on what the future may hold for his new
line as he explores offers to go into many new categories
like shoes and jeans, which he sees as a natural extension.
Says the designer, One of my dreams and aspirations
is to make sure that Piss & Vinegar is not just
a household name, but something that people feel comfortable
something that they just want to cradle
because its so beautiful.