MIT grads show off sweat-free 'space tech' shirts

This company has used science to prevent the appearance of sweat stains

The start-up has found a genius solution for sweat stains using the same materials that Nasa uses in spacesuits.

A Massachusetts-based start-up has harnessed spacesuit technology to create sweat-proof dress shirts.

Using the same materials that Nasa uses in US spacesuits, Ministry of Supply (MoS) has created clothing that’s free of wrinkles, water and sweat.

While studying spacesuit design for travel to Mars at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the founders learned about phase-change materials (PCMs), which absorb and release heat depending on the temperature.

Although this method has been used in sportswear, the founders saw a gap in the market for work and dress apparel.

They contacted Outlast Technologies, which holds the patent on the PCM technology developed for Nasa, and are now one of about 100 companies licensed to use it.

Using thermal imaging, the team found where men generate the most heat on their bodies to see where to put the most ventilation.

MoS then incorporated PCMs, wick away moisture and control for odours in its design.

“It’s sort of like Under Armour for dress shirts,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, a retail analyst with Forrester Research.

“There’s not a lot of innovation in a mature category like dress shirts.”

Two years ago MoS launched a Kickstarter campaign, raising over $400,000 when it only asked for $30,000.

Last fall it recruited Jarlath Mellett, the former lead designer at Brooks Brothers and Theory.

The company has raised almost $4 million, and now has a collection of menswear, including dress shirts, t-shirts and pants.

Unlike other clothing brands that release collections seasonally, MoS has a more scientific approach.

Once they release a product, they collect customer feedback and try to improve it before offering something new.

Last year MoS had 20,000 customers, 75% of whom are in the US, and they expect to see more growth in 2014.

Although it had intended to manufacture its products in the US, MoS has moved most of its supply chain to factories in Taiwan, Vietnam and China because they produce high-tech clothing better.

It’s also starting to do some development and production in New York City.

Cofounders Gihan Amarasiriwardena, Kit Hickey, and Aman Advani met at MIT in 2010.

Four years later, they are already making their mark in the fashion industry.

By Alexondra Assemi