The suit is the uniform of the working professional. Suits are worn every day in a variety of business settings, causing them to become dirty, wrinkled, and occasionally even coffee-stained. Who has not wished their suit could be easily washed without having to take it to the dry cleaner's? Now a new suit has hit the market that takes care of just this problem. The Shower Clean Suit can be washed in warm water from the shower, does not require ironing, and maintains a sharp crease in the trousers.
A Shower Clean Suit. ©KONAKA CO., LTD.
Wash as You Shower
The Shower Clean Suit is produced by menswear maker Konaka Co. The company uses a special blend of wool and high technology to create what it is touting as a world first in business attire. Konaka developers first hit upon the idea when they were trying to come up with a way to keep suits perpetually clean and fresh. "Wouldn't it be nice if you could just wash the suit when you take a shower," they thought. This was easier said than done, however. They first had to come up with a material that would allow dirt to be rinsed off. The design team focused on using wool, since dirt does not easily penetrate wool fibers. In addition, they managed to blend the wool with water-soluble fibers. After being sewn together, the suit is soaked with water, causing the water-soluble fibers to dissolve. This creates a material made up of wool fibers and tiny hollow cavities. Thus water is able to pass easily between the fibers, taking any dirt along with it. What is more, the material is very breathable and exceptionally lightweight.
Preventing Wrinkles with a Natural Amino Acid
Even if a suit is clean, it cannot be worn in business situations if it is covered in wrinkles. To keep the suits looking stylish without the need for ironing, Konaka applies an anti-wrinkle process using the natural amino acid L-cysteine, a substance found in hair, skin, and fingernails. The suits do not shrink after washing and are said to last approximately as long as ordinary suits, even if subjected to daily washings. And not only are the suits functional, Konaka has also made them fashionable by employing well known designers. Prices for men's and women's Shower Clean Suits start at ¥51,450 (about $468 at ¥110 to the dollar) and ¥29,400 (about $267), respectively. Although they have only just gone on sale, potential customers overseas, as well as in Japan, are already expressing interest.
Washing one of the suits. ©KONAKA CO., LTD.
Ready in the Morning After a Quick Shower
Sweat stains and odors, dust, pollen, food stains, and wrinkles can all be washed away in the shower, although grease stains may prove more resistant. Washing one of the suits is a snap: simply turn the jacket and pants inside out and place them on a hanger. Shower them thoroughly with warm water (about 40 degrees Celsius) for two to three minutes, turn them right side out and repeat the process. If the suit is still dirty, rub some bath soap on and rinse once again. That is all there is to it!
There is no need for chemical-based cleansers, so the suit is environmentally friendly. To dry, simply wait one to two hours for excess water to drip away, then hang the suit in a shady, well-ventilated spot. After about six hours, the suit should be completely dry and ready to wear.
Perhaps Konaka's new suit will usher in a new lifestyle, one in which businesspeople wash their suits in their evening shower and wear them clean again the next morning. (July, 2008)