Ministry of Supply produces smart, moisture-wicking workwear that also cools the body down to prevent perspiration.
Pit stains – the enemy of the white business shirt. Even Patrick Bateman had them…probably. Wearing business attire may look smart, but you don’t always feel smart sweating away on the subway on the commute to work or in your non-air conditioned office. Ministry of Supply wants to bring class back to workwear, by introducing innovative shirts and slacks that use infrared technology and a NASA-developed material to guarantee you are sweat-free.
Launched in 2011 by MIT students Gihan Amarasiriwardena and Kevin Rustagi (later joined by Kit Hickey and Aman Advani), the team took their inspiration from aerospace design to determine how to manufacture the shirts. Using thermal imaging, they could understand where the body heats up the most to determine where to place subtle vents in the dress shirts and pants. But the true magic of a Ministry of Supply shirt lies in the fabric.
There hasn’t really been much innovation in business wear these past 100 years—just the same cotton dress shirt. The biggest advancement was wrinkle-free coatings in the 70s. But we are changing that and are finally bringing technology to business apparel.
The fabric contains a proprietary NASA material used in astronaut suits to regulate their body heat during extreme temperature changes. The material, which Ministry of Supply has a license for, not only draws perspiration away from the body (like athletic apparel usually does) but also cools the body down, preventing sweat in the first place.
While the technology is innovative, it wouldn’t sell (and it has been selling) if the aesthetic wasn’t up to scuff. The company spent months receiving feedback on the apparel’s design before launching. Says Hickey:
We did more than 20 iterations of the dress shirt and we were progressively able to improve the aesthetic.
The product now looks like any other dress shirt – smart and crisp, but with a NASA-size secret in its threads.