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Mac Bishop, 24, got tired of wearing the same button-down shirts to his job in marketing every day.
“They were Brooks Brother cotton, button-downs,” he told FOX 411. “They wrinkled or smelled after a couple wears and needed cleaning.”
He thought: There had to be a better way to meet his office’s dress code without having to take his shirts to the dry cleaner after one use. So, he decided to experiment.
“I had some vintage wool button downs in my closet, and I started wearing those to work. They were more of a flannel, heavier [material]. They got by on the…business casual meter. I started wearing those, and they didn’t wrinkle. They didn’t smell,” he said. “[I thought] ‘This is really cool. I hate doing my dry cleaning, and now I don’t really do any dry cleaning because I am wearing these shirts.’”
So Bishop quit his job and decided to focus on creating a “better-button down.” The idea, he explained, was a shirt made entirely of wool, which was formal enough to wear to work but wouldn’t wrinkle or smell like cotton shirts. Something, he said, the wool shirt market was missing.
“I ended up wearing one of these shirts for 100 days,” he said, explaining the shirt he experimented with came from his family's woolen mill, in Oregon.
“It performed well. I threw a lot at it,” he said.
After the 100 days, Bishop challenged people to feel and smell the shirt and recorded their reactions. He posted a video of the results on the project-funding website Kickstarter, in the hopes of raising $30,000 to create a business casual shirt out of the same material.
Now, his Wool&Prince fashion label has raised more than $300,000, and he has presold thousands of shirts, priced at $98 each. The label’s website has a waiting list for those hoping to get their hands on one of the low-maintenance shirts.
“It’s an overwhelming amount of hype for not having a completely finished product,” he said, adding the first batch of shirts are being produced in Asia and will ship to buyers in December.
Bishop said those looking for an easier business casual shirt will likely be please with his product, but he still advises wearers wash it… at least every once in a while.
“I don’t recommend that guys wear this shirt for 100 days. I’m not really a smelly guy but I’m pretty active,” he said.
“I think guys can expect to get more wears out of this shirt than their cotton shirts. We’re going to learn a lot about what guys think about the shirt when it ships.”
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