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Men on a Mission

At Ministry of Supply, comfort, sophistication and a bit of daring collide perfectly.

 

Ministry of Supply Chicago

Ministry of Supply in the 900 North Michigan Shops offers a wide selection of designed-for-moving clothing.

 

Six years ago, a professor at MIT connected three of his students: Aman Advani, an MBA-seeking management consultant; Gihan Amarasiriwardena, a chemical engineer; and Kit Hickey, an MBA-seeking investment banker. The three were on a mission to create sleek, professional-looking clothes that, like athleticwear, would also allow movement and prevent moisture. In other words: The sort of clothes that could get a guy like James Bond through the most harrowing situation in style.

In fact, Bond inspired the name the partners chose for their store, Ministry of Supply, which recently opened in the 900 North Michigan Shops, the fifth outlet for the Boston-based company. Q, the inventor of Bond’s life-saving gadgets, was based on a real person, Charles Fraser-Smith, who fabricated “Q-devices” for the British Ministry of Supply during World War II.

Whether you’re a secret agent or just a regular man about Chicago, Ministry’s clothes take you from 6am to 10pm. “From commuting to work to grabbing drinks with friends, our clothes get you through it all,” says Amarasiriwardena, who serves as chief design officer.

“Our dress shirts [various styles, all $95], for example, are born from space suits,” he says. Using a similar technology and material that NASA uses, the shirts absorb body heat when you need to cool off only to release it back when you need a warmup. “It’s basically a personal thermostat built into your shirt,” Amarasiriwardena explains.

Launched as a small test run, the Seamless jacket ($250) sold out within 48 hours. The jacket is robotically knit by a 3-D machine that creates a one-piece garment free of stitch panels. Subtle vents under the arms add extra durability. “It’s like wearing a hug,” says Amarasiriwardena. The Going Places jacket and pants (jacket $350, pants $140) look like a structured suit but feel like a sweatsuit. “I wanted to make sure that details like the knees and elbows didn’t look stretched out after a lot of movement, so I actually ran a marathon wearing the jacket and pants,” he says. “They still looked great after all of those miles.” And when the day is done? Simply throw everything in the wash. Ministry discourages ironing and dry cleaning.

Reflecting Ministry’s concept that the line between work and life is blurry, the founders refer to their stores as workshops, complete with tables, Wi-Fi and various books to peruse as you accept the mission to shop, focus and simply live. 900 N. Michigan Ave., 3rd Floor, 312. 374.1919