A lot of clothing companies talk about being stylish and having the best fit. Maison Impeccable, a high-tech apparel startup, wants you to have both of those things, along with futuristic fabrics that make your clothes supremely comfortable.
“Our company is all about creating clothes with powerful technology behind it,” says 24-year-old Gabriela de Araujo, one of the company’s three co-founders. “We want to create an entire wardrobe of high-tech clothes.”
Take the company’s first offering, called Stealth Socks. It combines the technology of bacteriostatic silver and activated carbon-infused fibers to maximize flexibility and eliminate foot odor.
This is a game changer, says 24-year-old co-founder Ben Yelian.
“We’re the first in the U.S. to combine both silver and carbon and operate that synergistically,” says Yelian.
It’s an idea that has clearly caught on with consumers. A recently completed Kickstarter campaign raised more than $150,000—more than 15 times the company’s original goal. Now they’ve launched an Indiegogo campaign.
The idea for the product originated with Yelian, a former management consultant based in Chicago. Traveling from city to city, he spent the majority of his time living out of a suitcase and camping out at airports. He’d then come home from his work trips, take off his shoes, and get a whiff of a hard day’s work.
“As a consultant, you wear leather dress shoes and are on your feet a lot,” Yelian says. “That’s not a good situation for preventing things like foot odor.”
After doing some research, Yelian discovered that socks would be a great item to start with when designing a cutting-edge clothing line.
“From the development perspective, it’s faster to go to market with socks than doing multiple product samples with jackets and suits, which is expensive,” Yelian says.
Armed with a degree in business administration, he got to work. But he knew he couldn’t do it alone. He enlisted the help of de Araujo and another high school friend, 25-year-old Kevin Shih.
“Kevin’s background was in medicine,” Yelian says. “He did research on new technology. During clinics and classes, he came to the realization that both of us were interested in using smart technology to improve the style and fashion of street wear.”
De Araujo, a WeWork Soho West member, brought with her a background as a consultant and an assistant buyer in retail. Her role is in public relations and marketing.
“I never knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but once I became one, I never wanted to go back,” de Araujo says. “It’s so empowering to create something on your own. It’s so gratifying. It’s worth more than any paycheck you will ever receive. And as a woman, it’s great to encourage other females to follow their dreams and build their own company.”
The trio’s next idea is dress pants that are comfortable, stylish, and a perfect fit. After that, they plan to also roll out shirts, blazers, and suits.
“It’s exciting to see that we are pushing the boundary of standard work clothes,” de Araujo says. “Just like high-tech athletic gear, we are trying to create work clothes engineered for performance.”
De Araujo says Maison Impeccable is breaking down the boundaries between work and casual clothing.
“Even though you are not running a marathon during work, you still sweat and move,” she says. “Your work clothes need to be engineered for everyday wear.”
Photos: Lauren Kallen