By almost all Twentieth Century sci-fi standards, we are now living in the future. We have cars that parallel park on their own, hand-held devices that have access to the entirety of human knowledge, and we’ve been in space for so long, most people don’t even know that we’re still there.
Considering this, it’s unbelievable that with all of our technological advances there’s one major sector that hasn’t progressed: Our everyday clothing. Isn’t it crazy to think that the 100% cotton dress shirt that guys wore in the 1960s as portrayed on Mad Men is still the same exact shirt you’re wearing to the office – fifty-five years later? Even as little as 25 years ago, Back to the Future 2 dreamed of clothing tech achievements like self-lacing shoes and auto-fitting jackets, and yet here we are still wearing the same old shirts, which are based on the best technology that was available 150 years ago. They harbor sweat and they stink. They don’t move with our body, and they don’t regulate body temperature.
Athletic apparel companies have been introducing new fabrics and manufacturing processes constantly, inventing garments that keep us warm when we’re cold, cool when we’re hot, and dry when we’re wet. But where do you really need that level of performance? In a casual pick-up game of basketball? Or in the boardroom? Or on a first date? Or after traveling for 16 hours on a work trip only to end up in a sales meeting. We see no problems with spending $50 on a performance t-shirt for recreational fitness but how have we not advanced to performance dress wear for the times that really count?
It’s time we demand more. It’s time our workwear works for us.
That’s exactly what three MIT students realized when they founded Ministry of Supply. During the course of your day, your body's temperature fluctuates, it perspires, and it pulls and pushes in four different directions. Hiking it to get to your train, the five block walk to your building, the sudden shift to arctic temperatures that your office manager keeps the place at. Your body is in a constant state of flux. Nothing is uniform, yet all of our daily workwear is designed to perform in a constant state.
Using research-based design, Ministry of Supply’s three founders analyzed how the body and skin stretches and moves at the Sports Technology Institute in the UK. Utilizing a process known as Photogrammatic Strain Analysis which is used by engineers to measure stress on things like aircraft and rockets, Ministry of Supply mapped muscles, joints, and skin, so their clothing could be designed to stretch and flex in the same places the body does.
From there the team used thermal imaging to pinpoint the body’s hotspots so seamless ventilation panels and ingenious ideas like mesh pockets, which increase airflow, could be added. In 2012 the brand’s first offering, the Apollo dress shirt, made with moisture-wicking and temperature adjusting materials, blew up on Kickstarter, setting the then record for the fashion-category with pledges of $429,276. This incredible support has allowed Ministry of Supply to expand into all areas of men’s business wear, including dress pants, chinos, sweaters, polos, undershirts, socks, and jackets, and shifting the standard for how our clothes should perform.
I’m very excited to announce that Ministry of Supply and Primer have teamed up to give THREE lucky winners an upgrade to their everyday business wear!
Prize #1: Aviator Chinos
First up for grabs are the Aviator Chinos. These are designed to be all-day pants, carrying you effortlessly from your long day at work, to whatever your evening holds. Made of 89% moisture-wicking Nylon, the Aviators offer temperature venting, 4-way stretch movement, and a durable water-resistant finish. They are designed to take anything your day can throw at them. The Aviators come in 6 classic chino colors and are available in both slim and standard fits.
Prize #2: Apollo Dress Shirt
Originally developed by NASA for space suits, Ministry of Supply brings Phase Change Material from the space station to the workstation. The Apollo shirt uses a knit fabric blend that quickly wicks away moisture from the body so that it evaporates at the shirt’s exterior. The Apollo line features an anti-microbial coating that kills odor-causing bacteria. “What’s that smell?” I dunno, but you can rest assured it’s not you.
Wrinkles are the bane of every man. The morning is rushed as it is, who has time to pull out the ironing board? While non-iron shirts have existed for decades, they come with a huge caveat: The coating process involves toxic formaldehyde, which has been classified as a cancer-causing substance. Because the Apollo is made of a proprietary high-grade synthetic blend it’s wrinkle-free by design.
Prize #3: Mercury Sweater
And finally, one lucky reader will take home Ministry of Supply’s Mercury sweater, available in both v neck and cardigan. Merino wool is one of nature’s highest performing materials – it wicks moisture and retains heat very well. But it’s kind of a blunt instrument; you run the risk of overheating. By blending Phase Change Material with Merino wool, the Mercury sweater pulls heat from your body when you’re too hot, and releases it once you’re cold. There are seamless ventilation panels located in places like the underarms, and it’s made with variable seamless knitting, a process that knits fabric for real-world three dimensional bodies. The result? A sweater that’s always comfortable.