Using Spacesuit Tech in Subtle Smart Clothing

By Sophie Curtis on May 26, 2015

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Looking for a new smart, responsive wardrobe? Check out new smart fabrics and material from Ministry of Supply who will be demoing products at the upcoming Internet of Things Summit in Boston on 28-29 May.

Founded by MIT students in 2010, Boston-based Ministry of Supply have taken NASA-developed technology for regulating astronauts’ body temperature, and created adaptive everyday men's clothing. By using a multitude of clever technologies in their products, they've created a range of clothing that functions on a higher level, much like a smart-watch is an upgrade from simply telling the time, without making the garments bulky or uncomfortable. In fact, if you weren't told, you wouldn't know that it was smart clothing.

We spoke with Kit Hickey, co-Founder of Ministry of Supply (MoS), to hear more about the company and the technology behind their products.

What was the motivation behind founding MoS?
We're a group of athletes who have been wearing performance materials our whole lives - and, didn't understand why professional clothing didn't make you feel as comfortable and as prepared as performance clothing has. We're also engineers, which meant that once we identified that problem, we wanted to solve it! We got started around 3 years ago with the mission of inventing apparel. We subtly integrate technology into classic menswear pieces to solve the issue of discomfort that has been traditionally associated with work wear. Aman, Gihan and I met at MIT and are lucky that we didn't have only the same idea and motivation - but, also the same values in building the company. That's what's really held us together and enabled our success.

What do you feel has been essential to the success of MoS so far?
I think the fact that we're creating a product that people want and are excited for has been essential to our success so far. It's amazing the number of customers that tell us they've been waiting all their lives for products like this. If you create things that people are excited about and really want, then you can't lose.

Which areas do you feel could benefit from cross-industry collaboration?
I think every company in every industry can benefit from cross-industry collaboration and cross-industry inspiration. We take inspiration from all over the world: whether it's from jet engine construction, to Tesla, to space suit design. If we were only taking inspiration from fashion companies, we would be much more hindered when it comes to innovation and how we think about the world. Innovation can come from anywhere and everywhere - it's up to you to be open to new ideas and new inventions from all over and figure out how to apply that to your industry.

How can the technology and ethos behind MoS be applied in other areas?
We're engineers and we practice consumer-centric design, which isn't seen a lot in fashion. I think that every company can learn from consumer-centric design. The importance of knowing your customers, knowing what they want and knowing how to create products that they're obsessed with - that's something that can be applied to any company in any industry.

The Internet of Things Summit is taking place in Boston on 28-29 May. Places are now limited,
 register today to avoid disappointment. 

Ministry of Supply will be exhibiting their products and technology at the event, as well as providing give-aways for attendees and gifts for speakers.

Follow the event and community discussions on Twitter with the event hashtag 
#reworkIoT.

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