- Bonobos recently launched a new line of sophisticated garments made with a proprietary high-tech fabric.
- “Menswear moves quickly these days, faster than ever before, and technically capable clothing is one of the places it’s headed,” Dwight Fenton, head of design at Bonobos, told Business Insider.
Bonobos is getting technical.
The menswear-focused clothing company, now a subsidiary of Walmart, has released a new line of clothes made with highly technical fabrics. The cotton, polyamide and elastane blend fabric is stretchy and moisture resistant. The company says it can resist stains from spills and wicks away moisture all while looking like a normal pair of pants.
Bonobos has increased its line, which started with pants, by 400% with its latest release. It now includes jackets, blazers, and button-down shirts.
In a word, the inspiration for the new collection was “evolution,” Dwight Fenton, head of design at Bonobos, said.
“Menswear moves quickly these days, faster than ever before, and technically capable clothing is one of the places it’s headed,” Fenton told Business Insider.”I’m not talking about shirts that can also control your phone or open your garage door, rather clothes that look and feel like what you’re used to, but that can resist stains or odor, provide water repellent, wick moisture, etc.”
Fenton said the Tech Chino was so successful, it inspired the company to create an entire line. He says the collection is made for “anybody who demands clothing that suits their active lives without sacrificing performance or style.”
Bonobos’ tackling of the tech-inspired clothing is different from other companies, Fenton said, as the competition tends to enter the space with more obvious design touches.
“A lot of what we saw in the market went out of its way to make sure the world knew you were wearing “technical” sportswear, lots of extra zippers, seams, bells and whistles,” Fenton said. “We wanted the opposite effect, functionality without making ‘the future’ a lifestyle choice.”
In some ways, the new collection mirrors technological improvements in other areas of customer’s lives.
“This isn’t a fad,” Fenton said. “If you have an iPhone 8, you’re not going to want the 6 again.”
Customers demand more from their clothing, he said, pointing to the rise of athleisure and streetwear which has blurred the lines between formality in clothing. That’s allowed people to take more risks and welcome technology into their clothing, especially as they start to expect additional functionality.
Of course, increased technology comes with a cost. Bonobos tech-infused garments are more expensive than its regular lines. As an example, Bonobos’ tech chinos run $168 a pair, while the normal cotton chinos are only $98.
“It’s just a symptom of a lot of this being new technology and not at scale yet, but as more and more of this infiltrates the market, costs will come down, and in turn, retail prices,” Fenton said.