KLUTZES WELCOME: Dropel Labs, the in-house innovation hub of Dropel Fabrics, is trying to upgrade the basic cashmere T-shirt with a waterproof, stain-proof version.
Using hydrophobic technology and Grade A Mongolian cashmere, the company has created a $150 machine-washable version that is being sold directly to consumers online.
Having consulted with Dropel Fabrics’ founder Sim Gulati for the last year, Jordan French recruited Timo Weiland to help out with design and implementation. The men met as undergrads at Vanderbilt University more than 10 years ago. Before starting his own consultancy business Notability Partners, French put his engineering skills to work for a variety of companies and organizations, including NASA.
In a joint interview, French and Weiland mentioned how Miroslava Duma, founder of the New York Fashion Tech Lab, is an investor in Dropel. And after a meeting in Moscow, Duma suggested to French that the stain-proof garment launch in Russia where consumers appreciate such advanced capabilities. Dropel Labs is selling women’s and men’s cashmere T-shirts in white, black and gray through its e-commerce site.
Finding new solutions in a priority for Weiland, who is part of the CFDA’s new 11-person innovation and technology committee. The group will be meeting quarterly to help use advancements to offset retail disruption. He and French expect Dropel to use its proprietary products for other apparel, adding that home products are another possibility. Dropel poached Kwaku Temeng, a former director of Under Armour’s Open Innovation Lab, to become its chief technology officer.
A number of large brands are looking into using Dropel for their products with some already at the pilot stage, they said. European ones like Mister French, Area and Ceam are already using it.
French also pointed to the work of Isaiah Kacyvenski, a former Seattle Seahawks player who is founder of the Sports Innovation Lab, who is focused on “how do you get that incremental gain by making something better.” With performance-enhancing technology such as wearables being adopted for more sports clothing, French noted how, “A game of inches is what football is called.”