LOS ANGELES — Greatwood Underwear founder and designer Jermelle F. Pitts has been passionate about quality men’s underwear for as long as he can remember. When starting his own underwear line in 2018, the goal was to create a product that is sustainable.
Pitts set out to create a brand that is based locally in downtown Los Angeles. According to Shon Simon, owner of the clothing manufacturer Pitts works with, all of the manufacturing, textiles, waistbands, and fabric are created in Los Angeles. She said, “He’s the perfect candidate for doing it locally.”
One of the highlights to Pitts’ underwear design is a special lining of a fabric called modal. Simon said, “It is a eco-friendly fabric. It’s antimicrobial, antibacterial, and it holds odor in a way that keeps you fresh.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic originally threatened his business, Pitts ultimately saw an increase in sales in 2020 after the Black Lives Matter movement prompted people to support Black-owned businesses. “However,” Pitts said, “now that it’s not at the forefront of the news anymore, sales have declined.”
Another challenge Pitts faces is being a Black gay designer in an industry that is still not very inclusive. Pitts said, “But everyday you just have to wake up, stay focused, and just go for the plan, and just follow your dream.”