In late July, Ministry of Supply, a young startup company out of MIT, broke a record for the amount of capital it raised on crowd-funding site Kickstarter. Since then, Ministry of Supply has gained national attention from media, investors and customers. Like most MIT startups, the company stands upon innovative technology. But unlike most MIT startups, the company is, in fact, a clothing line.
Ministry of Supply is a collection of mens’ shirts with an ingenious, decidedly smart-kid twist: The clothing is sweat free, and made from fabric that’s based on NASA space suit technology.
According to a recent MoS press release, the shirts should be thought of as “an advanced version of Under Armour meets Hugo Boss.” They’re meant for “young professionals who have to wear collared shirts to the office and/or maybe bike to work. The shirts work especially well when you go from hot to cold (summer or winter), but they are stylish enough to be worn year-round.”
Basically, Ministry of Supply is the answer to the prayers of sweaty guys in suits everywhere. Because there’s just nothing cool about sweating through your shirt.
The Style Gateway: How did two MIT students come up with the idea for a clothing line?
Ministry of Supply: One of our founders, Gihan Amarasiriwardena, has always been involved with clothing and design, specializing in performance-based athletic wear. He and cofounder Kevin Rustagi teamed up, and turned their focus on performance-based businesswear, when a mutual friend complained about the clothes he had to wear to his summer internship, specifically asking for a better dress shirt. Through MIT, they met up with Sloan Business School students Kit Hickey and Aman Advani, who had also started working on a similar concept. Though the concept of an MIT-based fashion company may seem a tad oxymoronic, our early successes can absolutely be contributed to the design experience and combined insights of our founders.
The company recently raised the most money ever for a fashion line on Kickstarter. Why do you think that is? What is it about this product and idea that people are responding to?
We feel incredibly lucky to have gotten such an amazing response from the Kickstarter community. Within it, we found amazing advocates who not only root for us, but keep us informed about what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. The success we found is, of course, built off of a great product, but the interaction and feedback we received from Kickstarter has been so important to our process, and we feel that our advocates acknowledge and appreciate our efforts to constantly be improving.
Now that the company is well-funded, what’s next?
We are always talking with our customers to hear what they want from MoS and what we’ve determined is that MoS is not just a shirt company. We are excited to see some new things coming out of the MoS labs toward the end of this year and next spring!
Where do you plan to sell the line? Where can people buy it now?
We are accepting orders and preorders online at ministryofsupply.com
Additionally, our showroom at 105 South Street is now open to the public, which is really exciting. We’re taking appointments for fittings at firstname.lastname@example.org. So far, it has been a great way for us to hear what our customers think about what we are doing, and learn more about how MoS fits into their lifestyle.
Who designs the clothing?
Our current line of shirts are designed in-house by our own MoS team.
Where is it made?
In the US of A! The shirts are designed in Boston and manufactured in Los Angeles.
Boston is a stylish city, but New York is the real business hub for fashion in the U.S. Any pans to decamp for more fashion-friendly pastures?
Although as a fashion company we are often traveling between Boston, New York and Los Angeles, as a startup we have loved being Boston-based. The startup culture here is incredible, and we feel very supported by the Boston community.