The Backstreet Boys are used to fans throwing their underwear, bras and other unmentionables on stage during performances.
“We get hit with brassieres and undies all the time,” Brian Littrell, a member of the music group, told WWD. “It used to be stuffed animals. And then, when we got a little older, it became underwear.”
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And it’s not just women, but men, too, added Nick Carter, another member of the Backstreet Boys.
“We’re basically dodging it [on stage],” Carter said. “It’s just a thing.”
“We actually have a bit in our show, where we, Kevin [Richardson] and AJ [McLean], are actually changing onstage in these boxes where they actually throw [MeUndies] underwear that they sign out into the audience,” Carter explained. “And it’s a really cool collaboration. We love underwear.”
The duo, just two members of the Backstreet Boys — which includes Howie Dorough, in addition to McLean and Richardson — are chatting animatedly over Zoom, often finishing each other’s sentences. They’re there to talk about the limited-edition Backstreet Boys x MeUndies collection, which drops on Thursday, just in time for the holidays and less than a month after the band released a holiday album called “A Very Backstreet Christmas.” The group helped produce the collection’s holiday campaign while also posing in the product.
“I’m a onesies guy,” Littrell said, referring to the black-and-red plaid one-piece he’s sporting in campaign shots. “It was, like, super comfortable. I mean, I was, like, having to fight the other guys to have to wear that one, ‘cuz I think we were all battling for it.
“This is, like, undercover wear,” he added. “And it’s just the perfect fit.”
Carter opted for the holiday pizza-pattern-printed sleepwear. There are six designs, ranging from holiday alien themes to dinosaurs to Christmas lights, across sleepwear, loungewear, leggings, bras, underwear and accessories, including socks, for men and women. There’s even some pet accessories in there, too.
The MeUndies collection isn’t the first time the quintet has dipped their toes into the fashion industry.
They’ve previously partnered with Tommy Hilfiger and “did a little collab with Versace, back in the day, during the ‘[Into the] Millennium’ tour,” Littrell said, referring to the 1999 to 2000 performances. “She actually did all of our white leather outfits, to outfit the tour.”
It’s not the first time the band has been photographed in their underwear, either. The group posed with their pants down on the cover of Rolling Stone in January 2000. (Rolling Stone is now a sister publication to WWD, but at the time, was under a different parent company.)
“We’re kind of playing homage to what we had done [in Rolling Stone],” Carter said. “[But] that was 20 years ago. A lot of weight has been put on, you know. A lot of things have changed. It’s always a little bit uncomfortable, you know? I’m not the guy who likes to take my shirt off anyways. Some of the other guys are OK with that. I was OK with being in some nice, really long boxers and onesies that are just super comfortable. I mean, at the end of the day, that’s what really matters.”
Littrell added that the outfits the Backstreet Boys wear on stage are quite literally for show.
“It’s always for visibility. It’s not really for comfort,” he explained. “So, it’s nice to have some MeUndies underneath it so that you know that you’re comfortable.”
The Backstreet Boys x MeUndies collection can be found on meundies.com, while supplies last. Prices range from $14 to $20 and products come in sizes XS (or small for traditional men’s pieces) to 4XL.
Carter added that he’s excited to wear the assortment during the holidays while at home with his family.
“It’s matchy-matchy all day long,” he said. “And actually, it really works, too, because I remember the last couple of years for my family — I’ve got three kids — and we all basically used to do. [Brian] used to do this, too. We all dress in exactly the same onesies.”
The MeUndies launch also follows the passing of Carter’s younger brother Aaron Carter, who was unexpectedly found dead at age 34 in his Southern California home on Nov. 5. (WWD spoke with members of the Backstreet Boys before the younger Carter’s death.) The older Carter wrote a tribute on Instagram a few days later saying, “My heart is broken.…I will miss my brother more than anyone will ever know.”
The Backstreet Boys performed on Sunday, as previously scheduled, in London. A representative for the band confirmed that there have been no changes to the Backstreet Boys’ “DNA” world tour, which lasts — with the exception of a brief break during the holidays — through March 2023.
MeUndies, meanwhile, continues to gain traction. The Los Angeles-based brand, which was founded by Jonathan Shokrian in 2011, secured $40 million in investment in 2020. The following year, the firm expanded its assortment with swimwear.
Carter said there’s more stuff coming that ties in with MeUndies and the band’s Christmas album.
“We’re actually really excited, because actually the next couple of weeks we have a lot of really special surprises for our fans,” he said. “So we just want to get back home, see the family, see the kids, and then, just take a little time, and then just, boom. There’s gonna be a huge announcement coming really soon about all the stuff that we’re doing. So it’s going to be a lot of fun.”