January 11, 2019

Inside Ministry of Supply’s storefront location on Boston’s Newbury Street. (Innovation Hub photo/ Elizabeth Ross)

Right now, there’s a wearable device for pretty much everything. Fitbits track your footsteps. Virtual reality headsets can transport you anywhere in the world. There’s even jewelry that lets others know when you’re in danger. But there isn’t much tech in the things we’re already wearing: clothes. We visit the Ministry of Supply, a company that’s trying to mix high-tech and apparel, and talk with the company’s founders, Gihan Amarasiriwardena and Aman Advani.

Three Takeaways:

  • Ministry of Supply started with a bunch of little hacks. Clothing hacks, that is. Growing up, Amarasiriwardena used to run space blankets through his parents’ paper shredder to make sleeping bags. Advani would take the soles out of dry fit running socks and merge them with dress socks. Now, they specialize in creating performance dress apparel. 
  • A big step in the Ministry of Supply’s journey was adopting a phase change material, which was developed by NASA. The material absorbs astronauts’ heat and releases it back to them when they are colder. Ministry of Supply has incorporated NASA’s idea into its clothing. 
  • As Advani points out, clothing hasn’t changed much since your grandparents’ youth. He says that aside from new designs and patterns, much has remained constant over the last several decades.

More Reading:

  • Want to know more about how your clothing is made? Take a listen to Planet Money’s famous journey that follows the global T-shirt manufacturing process. 
  • Why is kids fashion so colorful? What’s the deal with Hawaiian shirts? 99 Percent Invisible investigates these questions and more in its “Articles of Interest” series
  • Are you going to be in Boston soon? Check our Museum of Science exhibit that takes a closer look at Ministry of Supply, and the marriage of tech and fashion.

Aman Advani, Gihan Amarasiriwardena, Ministry of Supply, Clothes, Business, fashion

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