DRIVE is an exciting new brand innovating on men's underwear. With multiple film directors on the founding team, they are producing the best visual content I've seen from any brand. Here's my interview with the founder, Yusuke Sato.
Tell us about yourself
I'm a red-bearded cinematographer and Airbnb Superhost.
Tell us about DRIVE
DRIVE is redefining premium men's activewear, starting with underwear.
Our products are designed to deliver the maximum blend of performance, mobility, and comfort. Weaving together innovative materials and fabrics using techniques inspired by traditional Japanese craftsmanship and a sense of style inspired by sleek modern car designs.
Your background is in the TV & Film industry. What made you want to start a brand?
For the longest time, I've had the vision of bridging my background in entertainment with my brother's background in (car) design. DRIVE is the result of this vision. If you look closely, you will see hints of these two worlds in everything we do, from the logo to the packaging to the products themselves.
Being in the entertainment industry, our team has unique access to resources and relationships. We have diverse experiences in movies, tv, music and creating content for some of the top brands.
All of the pieces to create the next great brand were right in front of me so I had to jump at the opportunity.
Why did you decide to start with men's underwear?
Men's underwear is an afterthought for most brands - just take a stroll down Soho in New York. It's pretty sad. Men need options too, just ask 50 Cent.
If you think about it, your underwear sees more wear than anything else in your wardrobe. There's definitely an opportunity in the market for better underwear with a fresh brand our customers relate to, and want to be a part of.
We spent over a year working with our manufacturing partners to perfect every single detail on our first line of underwear. Drawing from the sneaker culture, we dedicated just as much energy and resources on the packaging as well. It’s hands down the dopest men’s underwear on the market.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Work work work work work. There is no such thing as a typical day. Except a lot of music and healthy intake of cookies after yoga.
What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
There is a lot of responsibility and at the end of the day, it's on you. Whether it's the team of people that have contributed their time and energy or your earliest supporters, you never want to let anyone down.
What do you love most about it?
I love being able to collaborate with the people I feel a connection with. Everything we put in directly goes into building something we are proud of.
How did you find/pick your founding team?
I’m blessed to have such a talented and diverse team that believes in my vision. They are all friends that I met through college or work during my time in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.
What can we expect from Drive in the next 2 years? A women's line? More men's products?
We've already started developing additional lines, pulling inspiration from our brand's lifestyle and focusing on high-performance fabrics. After that, we will transition into shorts for yoga, running, etc.
Also, keep an eye out for exciting new content and exclusive products from Drive Int’l, our creative agency behind DRIVE.
What was the biggest mistake you made and what did you learn from it?
When we started, I only cared about building the best brand and creating the best products. However, there is a lot more to running a business -- namely, finances. Every dollar counts for a small business and you need to meticulously track where everything goes.
Any tips or advice for people looking to start their own brand?
Just dive into it. If starting a brand is truly something you want to do, you will regret not having started earlier.
Is there anyone or any brand you look up to in fashion?
Paul de Lumen, our creative director. He’s a versatile artist and athlete with an impeccable aesthetic and taste for style. We’re very lucky to have him on our team.
What are your passions outside of fashion?
Traveling and art (especially ceramics and photography). Whether through work or for fun, I try to take every opportunity I can to see the world. I've probably been to over 300 museums in different countries.
Any final parting words?
DRIVE. Get Yours. It’s better than what you're wearing under there.
Also, special thanks to our co-founder Kelly Southerland for always being there with me, Yasu, Paul, Pat, Sat, Chad, Kevin, Kent, Kyle, my family and all the early supporters for making DRIVE a reality.
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