BEND THE RULES
IT’S ALL ABOUT WHAT’S UNDERNEATH 

by Gary Jordan 
photography courtesy of Markus Bender 

Working as a personal fitness trainer for many years, Markus Bender understands the importance of proper fitting performance underwear and active wear. Out of personal necessity in 2002, Bender created the ultimate fit boxer-brief. 
Overnight, Bender’s new underwear line Bend the Rules captured the attention of Hollywood's top elite men and became the most favorite underwear of bad boys Bruce Willis, Charlie Sheen, Burt Reynolds and Boris Kodjoe. "The elements of fierce dragons, skulls, and Gothic emblems are the motif I use while designing my collection, and they are the perfect representation of the bad boy inside me," said Bender. 

The luxurious fabric, trendy look, and the fabulous fit are some of the signature elements Bender uses for his collection. His devotion to creating an eco-friendly products set him apart from his competition, and has earned him a spot at the prestigious Neiman Marcus stores, as well as at the incredible ‘Under U4 Men’ stores located in Seattle and Portland. 
Made in the USA, Bender uses a fabric called Tencel, which is made from Eucalyptus trees. The fabric's ability to be more absorbing, breathable and durable put the Bend the Rules collection above any cotton underwear. These unique factors also place this new collection of underwearas the superior brand in the performance category. 

Growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Bender knows what it takes to be successful. His dedication and commitment to the work required to design and produce the Bend the Rules label is the reason why the brand has become so successful. In a recent interview with PINK, designer Marcus Bender shared some inside information about his company.

PINK: Was the packaging of Bend The Rules intented to look like a Bible?
Markus: Yes, it was intentional. I designed it to look like srcipture––except it's the 'Bend the Rules' Scripture. The underlying message is that we all Bend the Rules and perhaps scripture also needs to bend the rules at times as well. Perhaps it’s gay marriage or allowing priests to marry.

PINK: Where does the inspiration for your designs come from?
Markus:My inspiration comes from people. I'm a people watcher and I am also into fitness. I love to travel and look at what people are wearing. I get inspired by knowing how I can make someone look better when wearing my designs.

PINK: Describe the typical Bend the Rules customer.
Markus: A guy who is active, knows true quality, and appreciates the finer things in life. He's Intelligent and sophisticated, but also a rebel at heart. As far as age, I really can't say if we have a typical customer. I have had young men tell me they love BtR, but I have also had older men tell me it makes them look and feel great to wear BtR. I even had a well-known actor switch from the famous brand he had been wearing for 8 years and is now exclusively a BtR customer. 

PINK: How did you discover the fabric Tencel? 
Markus: Personally, I felt most underwear fabric just did not cut it for a guy who leads an active lifestyle like me. I methodically searched for a fabric that would give me superior performance with extreme comfort. I discovered that Tencel, which is derived entirely from eucalyptus, is extremely breathable, absorbing, and naturally anti-bacterial––all features that make for a fabulous garment for the active guy. I spent over a year perfecting it. I wanted it to last, feel luxurious, and give great comfort and support. I kept testing until I got it right.
PINK: Was it easy to get your line into Neiman Marcus? Was the line an over-night sucsess?
Markus:
 Neiman Marcus now carriers my label, although I don't think anything happens over night when dealing with a national chain. However, they were quick to recognize the quality and comfort which Bend the Rules is all about. 
PINK: What do you anticipate this will mean for the label's future?
Markus: Being recognized by an upscale high-end national retailer such as Neiman Marcus definitely helps put Bend the Rules on the map as a serious brand in the apparel industry. Continued growth in the direction of select upscale stores in key cities domestically and abroad are already taking place.

PINK: What’s your opinion on fashion reality TV, and would you consider being on one?
Markus: I can not tell a lie––I never watch any of those shows! I do, however, have lots of friends who are avid fans. And even though I don't watch them, I would consider taking part. After all, life is an adventure, and delving into the unknown can be rewarding.

PINK: Do you think men use their underwear to their advantage?
Markus: I would love it if more men were as meticulous in looking as great in underwear as women.
Women use underwear to enhance their sexuality, while men just wear it to cover up. However, more and more men are waking up to the fact that when you take your clothes off, you want what is underneath those expensive designer jeans to look just as good. Men also need to use their sex appeal.

PINK: What's the ideal male body to design for?
Markus: Personally, I enjoy designing for guys who are active and who are in decent to great shape. PINK: Any final thoughts you'd like to share with our readers before saying goodbye?
Markus: Yes! Wearing Bend the Rules is an experience unlike any other and they will literally last years. The more you wear them, the better they feel.
The Bend the Rules active wear collection includes the BtR Ultra comfortable track suit, BtR boxer briefs, and various t-shirts, and isavailable in black, red, white, navy, and blue slate. Prices range from $22-$66. 

Designer Markus Bender and PINK are offering you a special gift.
With a purchase of $50 you will recieve a FREE hand lotion.
With a purchase of $75 you will recieve a FREE hand lotion and FREE shipping.
With a purchase of $100 you will are eligble for FREE shipping and FREE CD. The Give-A-Way Cds will include CDs from Kylie Minouge, K.D Lang and others. 

This offer is available only at PINKStore/Underwear on www.PINKmag.com  and on www.bendtherules.com. Use code VIP PINKCLUB at check out. Free shipping available only in the USA.