It’s not unusual for Candice Levine to check her email only to find pictures of men wearing her underpants.
“I’ve had somebody, a groom, send me a picture of themselves in my underwear on their wedding night in Vegas — pants down on the Strip,” Levine says laughing.
In another photo, which even circulated in several newspapers, a patriotic man was shown wearing nothing but red body paint and one of her maple leaf adorned briefs during the Vancouver Olympics.
The reason behind all these seemingly inappropriate images — and why grown men are wearing her underwear in the first place — is that Levine’s business is designing “tighty-whities.”
For the past decade, The Candi Factory has been creating colourful, comfortable and funky briefs, panties and pajamas for men, women and children.
Levine says her company, which she runs out of her High Park studio, grew organically after she made her own underwear for the first time over 10 years ago.
“I had been making clothes for ages and then one day I made a pair of underwear that I loved because I couldn’t find ones that were great,” says Levine, who studied fashion design at Parsons School of Design in New York City and philosophy at Western. “Then it just sort of grew from there.”
She sold the first batch of her signature patterned and printed designs at the One of a Kind Show, where she had sold hemp clothing. From there several local stores started carrying her line and eventually distribution expanded from across the city to across North America, as well as online with the launch of her shop at www.thecandifactory.com.
As Levine’s company continued to grow, so did her family. With the birth of her second son just over a year ago, The Candi Factory officially became a family affair, as her husband Shreve made the decision not to go back to his job after paternity leave.
Although Levine’s business venture has taken off, she admits that people were apprehensive about it when she was starting out.
“People didn’t know what to make of it,” she says. “They didn’t get it. They were like why do you make underwear? Why would I buy them when I can go buy some at Wal-Mart?
“It was sort of a strange thing to have a business that made underwear. Now it seems much more accepted. It’s not such a crazy idea.”
In spite of her reputation for creating fun underwear, she draws the line when it comes to designing thongs.
“I don’t get why people wear them, personally,” Levine says. “I don’t get it. So no, not happening.”
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