405 Calle Amancer, Suite 306
Underwear has always been the staple of Ethika, a business born and raised in San Clemente. The company began as a men’s underwear company and launched a women’s line in October 2015. The brand started with a few solid colors of men’s long-cut underwear, but now has multiple products featuring prints with various designs and emblazoned with photographs.
No matter the design, all Ethika underwear is available in one elastic fit that molds to the individual’s body. The company started in 2002 out of the garage of founder Malcolm McCassy, moving to the business district on the east side of I-5 in 2012. To date, Ethika has grown to own its own fully functional office with staff members.
“(McCassy) had this vision of having a new product of underwear,” Danny Evans, Ethika’s marketing director, said. “We knew this style was going to change the game, and the women’s stuff we had and sold online, but it was never a focus. Toward the end of 2014, we were seeing the want and demand on social media from women, and so many of our clients had as big a female audience (as male).”
At the time, McCassy was working to promote his product through up-and-coming skateboarders and extreme athletes with worldwide recognition. Many of the current employees are from San Clemente, including Ryan Sheckler, who is also a partner in the business, Evans said.
“Malcolm really saw the potential of making it cool and a product that was better than anything,” Evans said. “I grew up buying packs of (underwear) for $15, and the quality wasn’t the same.”
The company launched a website in 2009 and has continued to expand. Today, Ethika has multiple partnerships with more professional athletes who wear the sport line and has expanded to the music industry as well. Justin Bieber, before his Calvin Klein contract, was seen sporting the local undergarments. The company also provided pairs to the San Clemente High School football team.
“Around 2012, we saw there were a lot of eyeballs on the music industry, and that became a big part of our marketing,” Evans said.
Ethika is approaching its fourth anniversary as an established business in San Clemente
and has no plans to expand its product line, instead focusing on cornering the underwear market.
“It’s an incredibly brand-loyal product,” Evans said. “This is more of a lifestyle piece. It’s something you can put on when you’re just watching TV or if you’re playing basketball.”
Currently, the underwear can be found in Zumiez and Tillys retail stores, located in the Outlets at San Clemente, and has grown to national distribution.