Indian-American Aman Advani’s fashion start-up Ministry of Supply revolutionising business wear, inspired by NASA spacesuits
India At Large staff
This isn’t your average performance gear—it’s polished menswear that incorporates advanced technology to make your life that much easier. We’re talking about products — ranging from socks and pants to dress shirts and jackets — that use fabrics and manufacturing techniques designed to make professional clothes cooler, drier, and more stretchy, without looking like the wearer just stepped off the golf course.
A suit you can run a half-marathon in. A sweater that uses carbonised coffee to absorb odours. These are the sorts of things that Massachusetts-based fashion brand Ministry of Supply is bringing to the world of fashion. Some of the technology, such as special heat-regulating substances embedded in the fabrics, were developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to help keep astronauts comfortable in orbit.
While graduating at the Sloan School of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010 – which he joined after consulting with Deloitte – Aman Advani co-founded Ministry of Supply, a clothing brand which seeks to reinvent business wear to include the benefits of athletic gear, said Span Magazine in a feature.
He used “phase change materials” engineered by the space agency that regulate body temperatures.
“As an engineer, you’re taught to tinker, which has always been natural to me. With dress socks, in particular, the solution was simple,” he said in the interview. He said he took his favourite Nike socks, sewed them inside the dress he wore to work. “With my mom’s help on the sewing machine, I had an easy route to testing and proving that a simple mash-up was better than the incumbent,” he added.
Advani, who is the chief executive of the brand, met the co-founders of the company at MIT.
“We were introduced to each other since we stood out from the rest of the start-up crowd. There aren’t too many fashion entrepreneurs at MIT. We all saw a near identical picture of a brand that stood for so much more than a mixture of technology and style,” he was quoted as saying.
Elaborating about the history behind the name of the company, which would remind people of James Bond movies, Advani said: “We love our name’s story. It represents the ’empathetic inventor’; where Q, from the James Bond films, gets Bond ready for anything while always looking sharp.
“Much like Q – whose character is actually based on a real person in the early 1900s’ British government, operating under the cover, Ministry of Supply – we’re in the labs making sure that our customer looks sharp and feels ready for anything.”
“As the lines between work, play, and downtime continue to blur, we need essential garments that keep up with our entire day. We’ve set out to achieve that versatility through capable garments that actually fit the human body and are easy to care for and wear, no matter what you choose to do in them,” the company website says.
This year, the company plans to expand its reach through products, channels and even some in-house manufacturing, reports say.