INTO: Locker Room Flexing With Eli Russell Linnetz’s Bedazzled Jockstrap

“Into” is a series dedicated to objects, artworks, garments, exhibitions, and all orders of things that we are into — and there really isn’t a lot more to it than that. Today: Writer Madeleine Holth explores her rising interest in jockstraps, thanks to the 35k beaded jockstrap from ERL. 

As a non-athletic human, the broad spectrum of athleticism has always excited me and filled me with curiosity. From the Netflix documentaries on intense cheerleading to murderous tight ends, as a perplexed outsider looking in, I find sports interesting. Bike riders and delivery men began wearing the jockstrap nearly 150 years ago, and little has changed from the original design created for bike riders and athletes seeking some down-there support. Today, the jockstrap has metamorphosed into much more: a sex toy, a fetish, a fashion staple. It was during an endless scroll down the Instagram rabbit hole that I came across Eli Russell Linnetz’s own take on the jockstrap. The image that graced my screen was a close-up of Rick Owens receiving a jockstrap facial, only this jockstrap was encrusted with pearls, shells, crystals, seaweed and glass beads—the latest invention from Linnetz’s eponymous label ERL. The 35k Liberace-style jockstrap made me check my bank account for sufficient funds. It’s the wildest locker room flex, a piece of undergarment history which has remained untouched by time, but has undergone a complete bedazzlement. It has become a piece de resistance that merges its on-field purpose with its fetishistic zeitgeist, making it wearable on the field and in the bedroom alike. Though I’m not the target audience for a jockstrap, if I do decide to get into sports that require genital protectors, I know exactly where to shop.