107 – Gihan Amarasiriwardena of Ministry of Supply – A Lasting Aesthetic

High performance menswear apparel…

Ministry of Supply 2Gihan Amarasiriwardena, Co Founder and Executive Chairman of Ministry of Supply (a performance professional menswear brand creating wear to work essentials) joins Pavan Bahl, Rob Sanchez, and guest host Louis DeJianne, Director, of Marketing and Consumer Goods, Apparel and Retail for UPS (the world’s largest package delivery company and provider of supply chain management solutions) on location at the 2016 SHOPTALK retail and ecommerce event in Las Vegas.

NASA, heat and crowdfunding

Amarasiriwardena discusses the genesis of the brand from the onset at MIT, its wild Kickstarter success, starting with a marquee product dress shirt, using the same material used in NASA space suits, the absorption and return of heat in fabric, the importance of a live prototype, cracking a code that worked and discovering what people wanted. Simplifying tech, building a tight narrative on the problem people had and understanding the stories needed, changing a crowd-funding video mid-campaign, remaining authentic while tuning a video based on comments, how socks with coffee grounds to absorb odors were created, using tech to advance the brand, developing garments in 3D around the body, a stitch for each pixel, programming details in digital manufacturing, how customization is the vision, the tension of shrinkage, and the accomplishable challenge of creating great fit for anyone.

Sustainability, fibers, and The Four P’s

Supply chain challenges, athletic use vs. everyday use, tuning manufacturing, the focus on developing one’s own brand instead of licensing one’s technology, addressing decomposition, trying to embed technology into fibers instead of treating them, and creating proprietary fibers. The “Four P’s”, and how innovation occurs at the intersection of design, tech and business.

Invention, Shoptalk and store experience

Creating a new market balance of invention and convention, what is to gain from Shoptalk, the goal of learning how create great direct-response marketing, supplementing ecommerce with physical experiences such as pop ups, knowing it’s not just the aesthetic but its functionality, and expanding store experiences. Plus Off the Grid Questions explore tinkering, camping, the origins of the brand’s moniker, and lapping one’s own name.

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