When Brandfan and fan favorite Daniel Garofali breaks into 2(X)IST HQ for an interview with Creative Director Jason Scarlatti, a new plan hatches…
Words by Daniel Garofali
(I) never imagined that all those years ago, when my mom bought me my first pair of 2(X)IST Underwear, that I would one day end up on a writing assignment to visit their New York City headquarters and report on their new venture: 2(X)IST SWIMWEAR. With summer coming up, it's an obvious choice for a feature article. Plus, I get a sneak peek at what we (or more importantly, I) will be wearing on the beach this season (Wink! Wink!).
When I arrive, I find the security at 2(X)IST HQ is as tight (but less breathable) as a pair of "tighty whities." Upon announcing myself and proving my identity, I am given a barcoded name tag and escorted through the electronic gates and to the elevators. I've heard that more than often, ambitious fans try to crash 2(X)IST HQ for a look behind-the-scenes, hoping for, as in many a brandfan's mind, half-naked models testing out all the underwear. Though, by this experience, it is clear that their dreams are shattered well before they would have gotten anywhere near the eighth level offices.
As the elevator door opens, Jason Scarlatti, the Creative Director of 2(X)IST, greets me and gets to talking real business—namely, an exclusive on the future of the brand, his insight into one of the world's biggest Underwear (and now Swimwear) companies, and their current face and body, male model André Ziehe.
When first asked about 2(X)IST's translation from Underwear to Swimwear, Jason says: "I’ve always felt it was right, I’ve been begging my bosses to do it for years … It is a natural evolution of the 2(X)IST brand, and we bring something to the table and to the Swimwear industry that no one is addressing: Fit."
I subtly let Jason know that I "fit" into sample size (Wink! Wink!), and then he continues, assuring me that the features that make 2(X)IST Underwear so popular are present in the Swimwear line too.
"We took all the same elements you find in our signature Contoured Pouch Brief, and put that as the liner to the bathing suit for better movement and comfort," he says. Thumbing through the rack of vibrant samples, I can already tell that we will definitely be seeing the many styles and colors of 2(X)IST SWIMWEAR on the beach this year (and hopefully including me).
As my tour continues at 2(X)IST HQ, one can see it is a well-lubricated machine. There is a visible commitment to their products, customers and surprising to myself, a strong sense of team interaction and bonding. Jason values his "very talented team" and acknowledges the importance of each of his colleagues, including Editorial & Style Director Jay del Rosario, who was my portal to 2(X)IST.
[A sidenote: Upon launching their online magazine, Jay chose me as the first "(X)-Man," featuring an interview the story of the now-infamous photograph by Kevin McDermott. It's this image that really established my presence amongst the loyal 2(X)IST community, and as Jay notes "crashed the servers" many times.]
When I get back to chatting up team dynamic of the company, Jason becomes serious. "Nothing means more to me [and] I try and surround myself with people that I trust, and people that want to succeed and think and live positively."
He references a point in time when things weren't always so perfect: "We once worked with a photographer and an art director that were very demeaning, treating some people on set like minions … It was so ugly and heartbreaking to me and even André noticed and took it all with a grain of salt."
Today, Jason laughs it off: "We still joke about it to this day that now we have a 'no attitude' policy."
Like the other employees that spend every work day at the office, André has become part of that small inner circle.
"He delivers on EVERY shoot. He makes my job easier," says Jason.
I guess that it why 2(X)IST, for the last two years, has been faced by André. As a fellow model, it is rare to get feedback, so I used this time with Jason to find out the brand's perspective and experience of hiring models, from casting the 'right' man for the job to producing the photo shoot. Jason explains that 2(X)IST wanted to shift towards a more "health-conscious lifestyle" and "it was time to reflect that in our body image, packaging, and products." Seeking the best of the best, Jason had all the top male models come into the office, "but it was André who had the full package".
"As soon as I saw his thighs i was sold," Jason blushes, referring to the fact that many male models lack in the leg department. "These guys look fantastic in suits, [but] when you are looking for a good Underwear model, you need a guy who has both great legs and abs." He continues: "He has the right body type comparable to a stallion with long and lean muscles and a beautiful face, but as we have gotten to know him, everything about him resembles the 2(X)IST lifestyle. He plays soccer, is a family man, and is very caring, gracious and respectful. He is the definition of a gentleman, and happens to be very funny."
"Damn him!," Jason jokes. "I wish sometimes that he was an asshole. I think it would be easier. No one that handsome should be a good person too. He has it all."
As I wrap up the interview, I've had more than enough time to eye the pair of 2(X)IST SWIMWEAR that I covet most: the NEON Rio Swim Suit in Mediterranean Blue. Before I can confess my want for them, security enters the room. Jason thanks me for my time, while security quickly ushers me out of the showroom. The door closes, shutting out the view on my favored aqua pair of swimmers. In the elevator on the way down, I text my editor, "Now it's personal…"
What happens to Daniel Garofali next? Watch the video to find out…
Go behind the seams at The Spring 2012 2(X)IST Fashion Show with this exclusive look at all the action that you didn't see on the runway.
(I)n September, 2(X)IST kicked off New York Fashion Week with The 2(X)IST Fashion Show Spring/Summer 2012 benefitting Zero: The Project to End Prostate Cancer. Held at Hiro Ballroom at The Maritime in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, the show treated lucky attendees to a cabaret-inflected party featuring Broadway dancers and a cast of top models sporting the next great 2(X)IST ranges. But backstage was a show unto itself too, with groomers, photographers, and crew adding to the pandemonium. Below, a field guide to navigating the backstage arena.
1. GROOMING STATION
An initial stop for our cast of Ford Models is the make-up chair. The team, helmed by Lead Stylist Charles Edward with product by Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, tended to all the guys.
Thanks to strong lighting and cameras, all models wear make-up for an even-toned, natural appearance.
1A: The Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Team lays out the tools of their trade.
1B: Model Dan receives a touch-up.
1C: The Grooming Station was a busy scene with four chairs in constant rotation.
2. HAIR STATION
Our cast found themselves with nary a hair out of place, thanks to Lead Stylist Devin Toth of Ted Gibson.
Though all the guys had short-to-medium hair, nonetheless attention-to-detail is key.
2A: Television personality and model Rodiney gets primped by Devin.
2B: A moment with model Bart in the hair chair, pre-blow-out.
3. LOOKS STATION
With 67 total looks parading down the runway, organization is a must. Each model was assigned a rack with their hanging swap-outs, plus a dedicated dresser to help manage the order.
After each runway pass, models scurried back to their designated area to receive the next look.
3A: Model Eduardo preps at his area, marked by a card with his name and digital shots of his six total looks.
3B: The cast dresses for their first turn on the runway.
4. HANGOUT AREAS
A large chunk of runway shows is simply waiting around and filling empty time. Our guys clustered around two areas backstage: close to the main ballroom door (where the air conditioning offered a welcomed breeze) and the back staircase, incidentally near the craft service table.
Top time killers include futzing on smartphones or bonding over Fashion Week adventures.
4A: Rodiney multitasks by checking his Facebook and Twitter.
4B: Model friends Felipe and Eduardo take a seat to chat en español.
4C: The watering hole, offering (the requisite) fruit bowl and (the more popular) pizza.
4D: Anderson and Dan take a respite on the illuminated steps.
4E: Brandon, Chris, and Bart await instruction during rehearsals.
5. CHANGING STATION
The crew created 2(X)IST screened areas for the models' modesty whilst changing between looks.
With the chaos backstage and necessity for speed, some models skipped the screens altogether and quick-changed out in the open.
5A: Model Brandon beside the privacy screens.
5B: Clothes get strewn over the top amidst the hurried pace of the show.
Our makeshift Breezeway (concealed from the crowd by well-placed drapery) connected the main Backstage with the Holding Room. Here, the guys were called to line up in runway order and also posed for press photographers and bloggers.
Luckily (at least for the cast and crew), security stood watch at the Breezeway entrance to backstage.
6A: A peek at Dennis through the dividing drapery panel during rehearsals.
6B: Chris, Felipe, Brandon, and Bart line up pre-runway walk.
6C: Every spot is an opportunity for a snapshot. Here, Clint wears 2(X)IST SWIM.
7. HOLDING ROOM
The Holding Room served double duty as both changing station for the four female Broadway dancers (who added a cabaret vibe to the show) and a last looks area before the models (finally) hit the runway.
Two-way traffic in the Holding Room could've spelled disaster. Instead, it was frenetic but controlled.
7A: 2(X)IST Creative Director Jason Scarlatti and Style Director Jay del Rosario receive last minute info just minutes before showtime.
7B: Dancer Sarah limbers up before the opening number.
7C: Jason makes final adjustments to the dancers' costumes. He's also the last person to see and check the models before they walk out to the runway.
7D: A dancer switches costumes during the finale.
8. PHOTO SET
At the end of the show, the crew posed for a congratulatory snapshot at our backstage set, manned by Robert Cadena.
2(X)IST Creative Director Jason Scarlatti is surrounded by the show's full cast of models.
8A: The Cast, with Jason in the center: (Top Row) Eduardo, Jeremy, Brandon, Clint, Chris, Felipe, Anderson, Dan, Rodiney, (Second Row) Ryan, Bart, Dennis. (X)
[PHOTO CREDITS: Robert Cadena for 2(X)IST; Christopher Villafuerte for 2(X)IST; (Dashboard Image) Lauren Gonzalez]
A little bit goes a long way. Find out how the smallest details tell a big story in the latest 2(X)IST MILITARY video.
(C)hances are, you watched the latest video for 2(X)IST MILITARY and didn't think, "Wow, those are some amazing bed linens." Hopefully, you did notice the MILITARY Square-Neck Tank and No-Show Briefs on the super André Ziehe as he works out, jumps rope, and seduces his co-star at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills, where the 2(X)IST crew shot and filmed the campaign last spring.
Still, the devil is in the details. Like every commercial or film, each frame is meticulously art directed and the same goes for the props. And for this MILITARY spot, the props provide tiny moments you may have glazed over that actually help create the mood, according to 2(X)IST Style Director Jay V. del Rosario. "The trick with props is to always enhance and not distract," says Jay. Here, he shares the backstory.
Over his years as a stylist, Jay amassed an archive of sunglasses, including these: "Despite aviators' MVP status, oddly these Gucci frames hardly look good on anyone. Except André. Go figure."
"We had some 2(X)IST dog tags from a previous sales promotion but in the end, these vintage-inspired ones made the grade. The silencers (the rubber around the tags) are interchangeable, and we had all the options on set." The two tags that made the shot were sourced from New York's Uncle Sam's and a random shop on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.
The crew debated over all sorts of water containers, from a canteen (the strap proved troublesome) to a metal canister (too shiny), but eventually decided upon the Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle. "It's iconic and has instant recognition."
Vintage jump ropes proved too shabby and fragile. The leather one used here is store-bought and new, and required plenty of wetting, steaming, and even dipping into the pool to make it pliable and well-worn.
"We would joke on set, "What's exactly written in that notebook? Cartoons? Ladies' phone numbers?" In the end, it wasn't that deep. The pages inside this Muji notebook were often randomly scribbled or blank.
"My cousin served in the Navy, and this was his standard issue blanket. I like to think it gives some real service cred to our MILITARY campaign, right?"
Combat Boots/Bikini Top
"In the video, the female model Tamara shadows all of Andre's actions. So when Andre is lacing his boots, we juxtaposed it with Tamara undoing her top. This women's twisted swim top from designer Charlie by Matthew Zink was perfect."
[PHOTO CREDITS: 2(X)IST]
No matter who, what, where or when, 2(X)ISTENCE is constantly snapping the wares. Now, take a look back at The Year in Pictures 2011. We doubt you'll even ask why.
(W)hen it comes to working at 2(X)IST, it's best to always have a camera on hand, whether it's an SLR, Polaroid, point-and-shoot, or even just an iPhone. As you can see in the shots below, you never can tell when a photo op will arise…
WHO: André / WHAT: Fitting for F/W2011 Campaign Shoot / WHERE: 2(X)IST HQ: New York / WHEN: 2/17/2011 / WITH: Sony DSLR-A330 / WEARING: André wears the MILITARY Square-Neck Tank in Lead.
WHO: Joey and André / WHAT: Shoot for F/W 2011 Campaign / WHERE: The SLS Hotel: Los Angeles / WHEN: 3/14/2011 / WITH: Casio EX-S10 / WEARING: André wears the MILITARY No-Show Brief in Army Green.
WHO: André / WHAT: Video Shoot for MILITARY Campaign / WHERE: The SLS Hotel: Los Angeles / WHEN: 3/15/2011 / WITH: Sony DSLR-A330 / WEARING: André wears the MILITARY No-Show Brief in Black.
WHO: André / WHAT: 2(X)IST Billboard Sighting / WHERE: Santa Monica Boulevard: West Hollywood/
WHEN: 3/15/2011 / WITH: Sony DSLR-A330 / WEARING: André's 2(X)IST billboard features the NEON Collection.
WHO: Stu Stone & crew with Director Brooke Lee / WHAT: Shoot for "Shape Shake (All The Single Undies)" / WHERE: Soundstage: Burbank / WHEN: 3/15/2011 / WITH: Kodak PlaySport /
WEARING: Stu Stone and Crew wear SHAPE:FORM Slimming Trunks in White.
WHO: Daniel / WHAT: Model Go-See / WHERE: 2(X)IST HQ: New York / WHEN: 5/12/2011 / WITH: Sony DSLR-A330 / WEARING: Daniel wears the RESORT Contour Pouch Brief in Black.
WHO: Will / WHAT: Bloomingdale's Windows Event / WHERE: Bloomingdale's Soho: New York /
WHEN: 6/24/2011 / WITH: Sony DSLR-A330 / WEARING: Will wears the RESORT No-Show Trunk in Light Blue.
WHO: Atmosphere / WHAT: Notes passed to models during Bloomingdale's Windows Event / WHERE: Bloomingdale's Soho: New York / WHEN: 6/24/2011 / WITH: Sony DSLR-A330.
WHO: Model / WHAT: 2XIST.COM Product Shoot / WHERE: Zoom Studios: New York /
WHEN: 8/10/2011 / WITH: Apple iPhone 4.
WHO: Clint / WHAT: Casting for The 2(X)IST Fashion Show / WHERE: 2(X)IST HQ: New York / WHEN: 9/06/2011 / WITH: Sony DSLR-A330 / WEARING: Clint wears the MILITARY No-Show Brief in Black.
WHO: Dancers / WHAT: Choreography Rehearsals for The 2(X)IST Fashion Show / WHERE: Ripley-Grier Studios: New York / WHEN: 9/06/2011 / WITH: Apple iPhone 4.
WHO: Bart and Brandon / WHAT: Final Rehearsals for The 2(X)IST Fashion Show /
WHERE: Hiro Ballroom: New York / WHEN: 9/07/2011-New York Fashion Week / WITH: Apple iPhone 4 / WEARING: Bart and Brandon wear COLOUR Contour Pouch Briefs.
WHO: Jeremy / WHAT: Backstage at The 2(X)IST Fashion Show / WHERE: Hiro Ballroom: New York / WHEN: 9/07/2011- New York Fashion Week / WITH: Canon EOS 5D Mark II /
WEARING: Jeremy wears COLOUR Contour Pouch Briefs in Blue.
WHO: Brandon and Ben Aaron (NBC New York Live) / WHAT: Backstage Press at The 2(X)IST Fashion Show / WHERE: Hiro Ballroom: New York / WHEN: 9/07/2011 - New York Fashion Week /
WITH: Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
WHO: Countess LuAnn deLesseps / WHAT: Backstage at The 2(X)IST Fashion Show / WHERE: Hiro Ballroom: New York / WHEN: 9/07/2011 - New York Fashion Week / WITH: Apple iPhone 4.
WHO: Clint, Jeremy, Brandon, Ryan, Dan, and Dennis / WHAT: Backstage at The 2(X)IST Fashion Show / WHERE: Hiro Ballroom: New York / WHEN: 9/07/2011- New York Fashion Week / WITH: Nikon D 700 / WEARING: Brandon, Ryan, and Dennis wear SPORT. Dan wears MILITARY.
WHO: Felipe and Eduardo / WHAT: Backstage at The 2(X)IST Fashion Show / WHERE: Hiro Ballroom: New York / WHEN: 9/07/2011- New York Fashion Week / WITH: Nikon D 700 /
WEARING: Felipe and Eduardo wear SPORT.
WHO: Rodiney / WHAT: Backstage at The 2(X)IST Fashion Show / WHERE: Hiro Ballroom: New York / WHEN: 9/07/2011 - New York Fashion Week / WITH: Canon EOS 5D / WEARING: Rodiney wears the 2(X)IST SWIM NEON Rio Suit in Yellow Zest (Coming Soon).
WHO: Jason and Models / WHAT: Final Cast Shot Backstage at The 2(X)IST Fashion Show / WHERE: Hiro Ballroom: New York / WHEN: 9/07/2011 - New York Fashion Week / WITH: Apple iPhone 4.
(LEFT) WHO: Gavin / (RIGHT) WHO: Jason and Philip Bloch. WHAT: 2(X)IST Editors' Event /
WHERE: The Dream Hotel: New York / WHEN: 10/25/2011 / WITH: Apple iPhone 4 / WEARING: Gavin wears TARTAN Long Johns in Scotts Red.
WHO: Joey and André / WHAT: Shoot for S/S 2012 Campaign / WHERE: Room 173, Hotel on Rivington: New York / WHEN: 11/17/2011 / WITH: Apple iPhone 4.
See you in 2012 … (X)
[PHOTO CREDITS: 2(X)IST / Robert Cadena / Christopher Villafuerte]
Be our guest as 2(X)IST checks into New York's Hotel on Rivington for the Spring/Summer 2012 Campaign shoot
(W)elcome to New York's chic Hotel on Rivington, home of the 2(X)IST Spring/Summer 2012 Campaign. Shot once again by favorite photographer Roger Moenks, this ad cycle stars leading man André Ziehe as he cavorts through the luxurious Owner's Suite in this swanky hotspot hotel, located in Manhattan's Lower East Side. Now, 2(X)ISTENCE has your reservation booked for an all-access look behind-the-scenes at 2(X)IST's latest ad shoot. Enjoy your stay…
[PHOTO CREDIT: 2(X)IST]
For Bloggers: We encourage linking to this story, but if you wish to share photographs, kindly restrict to two images and credit 2(X)IST and 2XIST.COM as the original source along with a link to this story.