Jeff Denby is Chief Creative Officer and Co-founder of PACT.
Jeff starts by sharing his ethical values and then follows up with a slide of two crotches. A guy and a gal. Could this be overshare? It turns out Jeff has developed a new business designing the underwear that encompasses the 12 foot high crotches we're looking at. Now were looking at two generations for Calvin Kline undies ads. To date innovation in underwear has tended to focus on updating the advertising models who show off the items. In over 15 years we have only progress from Marky Mark to David Beckham it seems.
Jeff and his partner spent 18 months researching the market before stepping into it and is a firm believe that when you're looking to innovate you need to leave the building - 'the answer to your research is not on the Internet'. He also confesses he had to hang around in the underwear section of department stores to watch people buying and trying. Another nice gem shared was that being open about what you are interested in and researching, rather than keeping secrets, has a tendency to attract useful and generous people towards you and your business. (This is something I definitely recommend from personal experience.)
What Jeff's company PACT do is create premium, ethically produced cotton underwear that brings three stakeholders together. Each new design is developed as a partnership between one charity (who gain 10% of all sales), a designer (who creates the pattern for the briefs) and the manufacturer, PACT (who manage, produce, distribute and sell the underwear). The value in their product lies in the stories that can, and are told, through the creative process and the connections between the stakeholders.
Not content with just creating a demand for ethical undies Jeff and his gang have also focused on the packaging, designing cotton bags, created using the off-cut material from the underwear. Instead of throwing this packaging away many purchasers utilise the bags and even send photos of how they're using both the bags and the undies back to the company (see the wedding above).