Male B Wear, the Main Street men’s foundation-garment shop, has turned its local-model pop-up into a full-time offering. The store opened this summer and in August partnered with Carlos Ibarra of Ci3 Photography to put San Antonio bums in their bottoms for a series of refreshingly real-feel ads. The store’s growing Facebook fan base has been enthusiastic.
“I admire those models who do it, because they get exposed,” says co-owner Jose Garcia. “They are running a risk, and taking risks is when you get the best out of you.”
Garcia founded the store with his best friend and travel partner Esteban Guardado. It’s their first venture–inspired by a similar store they spotted on a trip to Seattle. Guardado, a native of Jalisco, worked retail at JC Penney in Arizona before moving to SA to open Male B Wear. Garcia is from Zacatecas; the two met in college in California. Months of market research and working with suppliers preceded the opening.
“The gay community especially was very welcoming of the idea,” Garcia says.
Ibarra approached the store about using local models who were looking for experience. It works out for everyone involved in the shoots, Garcia says: the photographer gets exposure, too, and the store needs models to show off their wares. The models also get a percentage of any sales of their images.
Male B Wear carries ubiquitous mainstream brands such as Calvin Klein, and they’ve introduced rarer birds, like aussieBum–new to the shop this fall–and Obviously, the “anatomical underwear concept,” also appropriately from Down Under. Papi is popular with SA shoppers, but the belle of the balls is LA’s Andrew Christian.
The fun colors make the brand a winner, Garcia says. “It’s very tailored to the young gay community, and very playful.”
The modeling gig does require you to bare almost all, but the perks include a professional photo shoot worth about a grand, and the admiration and envy of your peers, virtual and otherwise. Garcia’s advice to would-be models: Be yourself.