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By Amit Bapna | APAC editor-at-large

March 19, 2023 | 5 min read

The men’s underwear category has been guilty of lacking innovation for some time now. Beyond adding some colour and cuts, the category has not been able to push the innovation funnel on other aspects. However, the category has recently seen a surge in action off the back of growth within the D2C category and a rush of fresh, new online brands.

One such brand is XYXX, a men's lifestyle brand, launched by entrepreneur Yogesh Kabra. Founded in 2016, XYXX is a D2C brand which targets consumers with a young mindset. Initially founded as an online pureplay, the brand has also now launched physical stores to meet the growing demand.

The brand has attracted a rush of attention recently through the introduction of a unique offer within the category - risk-free returns on their first underwear order from the brand's website.

The unique move aims to recruit new customers who are reticent about ordering online in case of fit issues and the hassle of returning items. The offer is just one example of how the D2C brand is disrupting India's underwear market.

How it all started: the perils of unreturnable underwear

Petal Gangurde, chief of brand and culture at XYXX says, “It all started as a discussion on how we thought the underwear-buying experience was broken, especially how everything from jewellery to a phone is returnable.” However, the one garment closest to your skin and essential to your every day can’t be exchanged, she adds.

Consumers are always fearful when purchasing from a new brand, especially when buying online because they have no experience of the product or its features: and no store is going to allow a trial.

The launch of this feature is backed by the brand’s consumer research which showed that “a staggering number of people were sceptical of purchasing underwear online-mostly because there was no scope of returning it,” says Gangurde.

To address this need and instil confidence in new buyers, XYXX launched the risk-free returns policy with a clear consumer story: “You can buy a pair of underwear, wear them and send them back if you don’t like them.” Only for first-time buyers, of course.

What happens to the used garment

The brand has partnered with Clothes Box Foundation, a Gurugram-based NGO that repurposes waste and discarded clothing to upcycle fabric into useful everyday items. The idea is to ensure a seamless return and recycle process, she shares. The process of upcycling includes reutilizing the innerwear to design dog beds to support the furry friends so that the unwanted products do not end up in a wasteland, Gangurde adds.

XYXX’s quirky marketing playbook

Specializing in underwear, loungewear and athleisure, XYXX retails via its own website as well as leading e-commerce marketplaces such as Amazon, Myntra, Nykaa Fashion, Flipkart and Ajio.

To promote it's unique returns offer, the brand created a quirky campaign comprising three films, featuring famous stand-up comedian Aadar Malik. Malik is shown caught in funny situations on the back of concerns like shape, size, colour, fabric and comfort for his purchased underwear which could be resolved with the new return feature.

"As a brand, we have been extremely bold in our choices and done the most un-industry things in the innerwear and comfort wear category," says Gangurde. The brand playbook has also been a diverse and different one in all aspects, “from our design philosophy to building a differentiated brand narrative to strategically using humour in creating highly engaging content to redefining the customer innerwear experience journey.”

The policy also serves as a strong message to consumers endorsing the quality of the products, says Gangurde.

"We honestly believe we have a fantastic product which ticks all the boxes on fit, form and fashion so the fear of returns was nil," she says.

Gangurde adds that if the brand did a spike in returns it would suggest an issue with the product that needs to be fixed and therefore, "it would be very welcome because it would allow us to better the product experience."

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