SMART SUIT: Boston performance workwear brand Ministry of Supply has gone back to Kickstarter for the launch of an intelligent jacket.
It’s a return to its roots given the company launched in 2012 its first-ever product on the funding platform, which Ministry of Supply cofounder and chief executive officer Aman Advani said has “an audience that appreciates paving a new way or path.”
“For us, it’s an opportunity to elevate a particular launch. Initially, it was our dress shirt and now it’s our jacket,” Advani said of the decision to go through Kickstarter. “When you take a product to it [Kickstarter], there’s an assumption that you’re not just making something 10 percent better. It’s 10 times better. You capture the attention of people. Crowdfunding is such a public acknowledgement of whether something actually matters.”
It’s also just plain practical from an obsolescence standpoint, he said. Companies are producing exactly what was ordered so there’s no supply chain waste.
The jacket itself is a test for the company as it looks to push the boundaries of what defines performancewear.
“Wearable tech is such a buzz word,” Advani said. “How can we actually integrate technology really seamlessly? We’d never done it before. It’s all been at the fiber level.”
Ministry of Supply’s jacket, for men and women, uses machine-learning so that the garment automatically turns on at the first sense of motion and can be voice-controlled using Amazon Alexa or other personal assistant devices. A thermometer within the jacket responds to the environment’s temperature and then adjusts accordingly. Deliveries on the jacket are expected in November.
The company is consistently tweaking and toying with different applications of tech. Last March, Ministry of Supply rolled out a 3-D knitting machine within its Boston store so that customers could actually view the process of their garment being made. In November, the company tested a thermal mirror at a temporary shop at Santa Monica Place. The mirror created heat maps of a person’s body with the information then used to create a sweater tailor-made with ventilation based on where a person produces more heat.