Mac Bishop has figured out how to cut down on laundry: His menswear line, Wool&Prince, makes stink-free, wash-less T-shirts. Bishop, 24, made headlines last year when he offered a wash-less, no-iron button-down shirt on Kickstarter. The goal was to raise $30,000, but the campaign brought in more than $300,000 in just 11 days. Now, he's trying to work the same magic on an odor-resistant, long-lasting T-shirt that barely needs to be washed. The campaign has already exceeded its goal of $35,000 and still has 13 days to go. The shirts will be ready to ship in May.
Bishop said he was working at Unilever when he first thought of making an iron-free, wash-less shirt that would fit in at an office with a more formal corporate culture. "It was frustrating having to dry clean my button-downs," Bishop told Metro. "With cotton shirts, I'd dry clean them each time I wore them because they'd get wrinkled, and no-iron shirts smell after two or three wears, so I thought, 'There has to be something better out there.'"
That something turned out to be wool. Wool runs in Bishop's blood: His family has owned Pendleton Woolen Mills, based in Portland, Ore., since the 19th century. "Wool shirts were very popular between the '20s and '50s, and my family's wool mill made wool shirts cool back then," explained Bishop. "I've been familiar with the properties of wool for a long time, so I wanted to make wool shirts cool again."
These properties are odor resistance, climate control and durability, according to Bishop. Less washing means the shirt will last longer, and its high moisture uptake means it absorbs sweat instead of keeping it on your skin. When the shirts do eventually get smelly or stained, you can just wash them in cold water.
Wool&Prince uses superfine fibers. Metro got its hands on sample products and found that the shirts are soft and silky — not itchy and thick like conventional wool sweaters. Bishop said creating a wool product soft enough to convince customers to choose the material over cotton was one of his greatest challenges.
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Bishop himself wears the T-shirts four days in a row without washing them, and wore a prototype on a hiking trip through Alaska and a trip to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. In the video below, he wore one of the shirts and asked people in Washington Square Park if they detected any body odor: Watch and see if Bishop passes the smell test with New Yorkers.
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