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Andrew Christian is a 'Pride virgin' 

Underwear designer visits Charlotte

Close your eyes and imagine a man with the chiseled body of a Greek god. His facial expression offers a mix of boyish charm and suggestive sexy swagger. His colorful, stylish drawers distract from the goods they cover. But these are no ordinary undies. They are open in the back, revealing a firm tush. The design, titled "Why, the Show-It Bubble Butt Jock," is one of the many sexy concoctions by the renowned California designer Andrew Christian, aka "Panty Christ."

Christian comes to Charlotte during the annual Pride Festival on Aug. 24 and 25. Silverfly, a men's clothing boutique located in Midtown's Metropolitan, is organizing his appearance. He'll be stationed at the store's booth during the festival, available for signings and photos. He is also a guest at an after-party at Bar 316 on Saturday.

"I'm a Charlotte Pride virgin," says Christian.

Having appeared on Bravo's The Fashion Show in 2009, Christian is slated to return to the network where he'll star on an unannounced show, airing in the near future. "[The Fashion Show] was fun. I got to show talents in a different realm because it was centered around women's fashion. I got to show that I can design in any genre. It's all about knowing your customer and who you're designing for, but the design process is the same."

Christian's underwear line features a variety of styles, colors and fabrics, some targeting specific areas on the body that need an extra boost, tuck and/or enhancement. For example, the "Show-It Technology," contains a frontal pouch that makes any package appear considerably bulkier. The Andrew Christian website describes other functions of the pouch, boasting "elimination of sticking, squashing, re-adjusting, sweating and chafing."

"I would go to the gym and see how hard people worked trying to do squats or lunges and whatnot, and I thought to myself: 'Wouldn't it be great if I could come up with something that did that automatically without all the hard work?'" says Christian. "It took a lot of trial and error and engineering and fittings before I finally got the final designs. It was a challenge because not only do they have to be functional, but they have to look cool, too."

While reflecting on his use of colors and design, Christian reveals what he thinks is one of the most appealing aspects of his line, setting it apart from others in the industry. "There are a lot of things you don't normally see on underwear — the kind of detailing that you would normally see on sportswear or maybe even swimwear. I'm kind of bringing a lot of those elements into underwear," says Christian. "So it's really kind of treating underwear as outerwear."

Christian has been interested in fashion since he was a child. In high school, he spent his free time creating clothes for him and his friends to wear to underground clubs. When he turned 18, he moved to L.A. for fashion school and sold his threads on consignment and at local boutiques.

Hustling on the clothing front since 1997, Christian didn't find his niche in underwear/swimwear until 2007. As the brand grew in popularity, so did his collections, including exotic twists on briefs, boxers, jocks and thongs. For many, he has revolutionized the undergarments, while also gaining a reputation for lascivious advertisements (see below) and a rabid fan base among the gay community.

When asked what he looks for in a model, Christian explains, "A lot of people think, 'Oh they have to have killer abs and they have to have these biceps and all the physical traits,' which, yes, I do look for those physical traits." But that's not all. Christian also stresses the importance of his models' personality and their ability to appear coy and playful. "They also have to be fun and outgoing to really portray the image for the brand, so that's my number one."

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