Back in 2012 I used to work for a big consulting firm in London.
It was the first time I was involved in the classic 9-5 working paradigm and my excitement was immense.
Although I knew that it wasn’t something I would pursue for long, I am always excited when I decide to embark on new endeavors.
Part of this excitement was also due to the fact that I could satisfy my stylistic ambitions on a daily basis.
I really consider a suit one of the most elegant and powerful pieces of attire and being given the chance to wear it on a daily basis was a big deal for me.
Needless to say that the moment I got my job offer I took one of my best friends and we headed to Topman in Oxford Street to experiment with different suit styles and colors.
I remember I tried at least 20 different suits that day and eventually I managed to narrow down the selection to five.
All of them were slim fit with the right combination of fanciness and seriousness in order to give me the well-refined edge that is required in a highly competitive consulting environment.
Of course I also had to pick the right shirts to empower the whole outfit, so I spent a good deal of money in shirts that were a good fit but also endurable and resistant to wrinkles.
I like to commute with my bike, so I had to make sure that my shirts weren’t going to get wrinkled in my backpack or from the ride if I decided to have them on.
Also I have always had an issue handling my sweat, so I tried to pick bright colors in order to reduce the likelihood of sweat stains and also airy materials to help my skin breathe.
The problem was that none of these “solutions” really worked.
I had to constantly buy new shirts and sometimes change even three shirts during the day in order to look fresh and well groomed.
Apart from that I also had to spend ridiculous amounts of money on dry cleaners because I didn’t really have time to wash and iron my shirts every day.
This situation lasted for almost one year until I decided to take action.
I knew that I should try and look for something that could reinvent the way I was dressing for work and eventually save me some money and more importantly offer me a peace of mind.
That’s when I came across a company called Ministry of Supply (MoS).
I was eagerly looking for companies that offered pioneering materials that could essentially give a practical solution to my problems.
Ministry of Supply actually launched via Kickstaster in 2012 and their campaign was a big hit.
More than 2,798 backers pledged $429,276 to help bring this project to life, and that enthusiasm didn’t go unnoticed from my side.
I immediately ordered their first shirt, the Apollo, so I could check it out and see what it’s all about.
The Apollo Shirt
I can honestly say that this was one of the most pioneering moments in my life. It was exactly the way I wanted a shirt to be. Great fit, smooth feel, highly durable and extremely resistant to sweat.
Ministry of Supply changed the way I experienced my everyday life and also gave me the peace of mind I really wanted.
As an entrepreneur I feel really engaged by their approach to product design and branding and I realized that if people who have a great sense vision and passion come together they can really create incredible products and eventually impact lives.
In an effort to try and help you up your style game and also invest your money strategically in items that are extremely valuable, I decided to contact Gihan Amarasiriwardena, one of the founders of MoS, in order to interview him and get some personal insight on what MoS is all about.
His response was positive. My enthusiasm was immense.
My Interview with Gihan
Gihan lives in Boston – quite a journey from Vienna, where I live at the moment – so we scheduled our interview online.
Yeap, that’s Gihan.
At the age of 26, Gihan is a truly centered guy who seems to properly grasp the idea of style and what a man should look after when buying his clothes.
The idea behind MoS wasn’t a result of some in-the-moment epiphany. It was more like a gradually evolving concept that emerged from his love for sports clothing and the advanced technology behind it.
As he told me, “I grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts and was always a very active, athletic kid. One of my favorite things about athletics and outdoor sports was the gear we used — I was fascinated by the technology behind the advanced fabrics and design. In middle and high school, I would design and sew different performance clothing for monthly camping trips, trying to reverse-engineer and improve the gear.
When I went to MIT for college, that fascination translated into studying biological and chemical engineering, as well as holding multiple internships in product design and textile science. As I began to dress more professionally for work, I started to wonder why my dress shirts and slacks weren’t as comfortable as my athletic gear — why couldn’t we use advanced textiles and science to make them better?”
Truth be told, sports clothing has always been more advanced in terms of fabric technology. I can remember after being overly disappointed by my inability to control my sweat, I was sometimes wearing body temperature control t-shirts that could protect my shirt from getting wet. Gihad laughed but told me that he also faced the same problem.
“I met my two co-founders, Kit Hickey and Aman Advani, on campus at MIT — they were working on their MBAs and I was finishing up undergrad. Once we met, we realized that we’d all been hacking our clothes for years, one way or another,” says Gihan. “For me, it was trying to bring the performance of my hiking gear into my city clothes, while Aman and Kit had been secretly hacking their own wardrobes to make it through long days in the consulting and banking industries, respectively.
When the three of us finally connected, we realized that we were onto something — people live such busy, crazy lives today and are on the go way beyond your typical 9-to-5 job, but traditional clothing hasn’t evolved to keep up with these active lifestyles. So we joined together to create a solution.”
Gladly for me and for thousands of men around the world, they managed to materialize their idea and create and incredible product. What I also like about Gihad and MoS as a whole is that they consider evolution and progressive thinking a very important factor for MoS’s operation.
“At Ministry of Supply, we’re developing clothing in a way not typically seen in the mainstream fashion/design world. We’ve taken the spirit of invention and engineering and made it an integral part of how we think about our clothing and our company as a whole. We’re always working to improve the way clothing fits, the quality of the production and the ease of care.
That may mean using the latest in 3D robotic knitting technology to create garments, or using our material science background to develop custom performance fibers. We don’t release product in a ‘top down’ process, but rather use the engineering principles to emphasize design, testing, and iteration. A great example of this is our Labs process, in which we release a limited amount of a certain product, receive feedback from our customers, and make changes for the next version.”
I strongly believe that clothing should be an extension of your body and I think that MoS have properly grasped this idea to its core. When I asked Gihan about his vision for the future, his answer excited me:
“We’re out to invent the future of apparel. By and large, the staples of menswear haven’t evolved significantly, but lifestyles have. Guys today don’t separate the different aspects of their lives the same way they did in the past. It’s no longer about work/life balance, but rather work/life integration. Our goal is to evolve our clothing by combining sharp, sleek design, advanced manufacturing, and research, creating clothes that bring performance to everyday life and really solve the pain-points of modern clothing by applying research and technology to fit, quality, and design.”
My opinion is kind of biased because I have been wearing MoS shirts for quite some time now, so I asked them to send some samples to Quan to try them and give you his personal take on the products.
“I am going to send you some samples of my favorite shirt company to try. They are called Ministry of Supply and they make high technology shirts that are going to redefine the way you think about clothing. Let me know how you like them.”
“Sweet! Can’t wait.”
He tried the clothes in many situations.
He wore the Gemini shirt during work for some days and during his commute with the bike.
The Gemini Shirt
He also had a white Archive shirt on the night that inspired him to write the “IT” article and he told me that it was awesome to be able to dance and not really feel the sweat on the shirt.
The Archive Shirt
After a few days, I got this message on my phone:
“Andrian, the stuff you send me from Ministry of Supply was pretty solid. I will order some myself!”
I suppose he liked them a lot.
The way I would describe MoS in a sentence is “Great quality and fashionable shirts with high performance in mind.”
I also consider the MoS line to be utilitarian. Their items could perfectly fit to the idea of the “Lean Wardrobe Model” and their high quality will certainly help them last for years.
The brand accommodates for slim and standard fits, which means that there is a huge variety of sizes you can choose from based on your size and body type.
I also asked Gihan to inform me on what other items they consider their bestsellers apart from the shirts: “Beyond the shirts, our jackets have been very successful, specifically the Aviator Bomber jacket and the Aviator blazer – both of which flew off the shelves. We’ve seen a lot of interest from our customers in jackets that perform at the same level of our dress shirts — this interest serves as confirmation that guys want performance throughout their wardrobe.”
Bottom line, if you’re an active person and want to reengineer the way your clothing feels and performs, Ministry of Supply’s goods are worth your perusal. The clothing’s technology and design coupled with contemporary fits make this a great consideration.
Ministry of Supply was kind enough to offer The Quintessential Man a 10% discount with any purchase. Just add your products to your cart and use code QUINTESSENTIAL at checkout. Click on the icon below to check out their products.
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