In a world full of shiny surfaces, fingerprints are a small but persistent nuisance. They get stamped on our smartphones, our tablets, and most frustratingly on the spectacles we wear in front of our eyeballs all day. No matter how beautiful the device, or how expensive the eyewear, fingerprints will prevail--unless you happen to have a microfiber cloth handy. And with this shirt, you always will.
Everyone has collected a microfiber square or two at some point--as part of a computer cleaning kit, maybe, or with a new pair of glasses--but they have a remarkable way of finding themselves stuffed in the bottom of briefcase pockets and wadded-up in the backs of kitchen drawers. So Nat Disston, designer for the New York-based clothing line VoyVoy, decided to put a patch of microfiber where it would always be handy: right on the tail of a shirt.
The company’s Summer Oxford is a classic white button-down augmented with a single high-tech touch: a microsuede patch stitched to the back of the front right shirttail, suitable for cleaning glasses, phones, and camera lenses.
Disston arrived at the concept a few months back, when he was returning home from Florida and caught himself enacting a common post-vacation ritual. "I pulled my sunglasses out of my bag and began wiping some salt from the beach off the lenses with my shirt tail. That triggered the idea," he recalls. "A friend was traveling with me and I immediately asked him what he thought. He paused and looked at his shirt tail--I think he was the one who said 'Aha!' for me."
What the friend confirmed was that Disston had stumbled upon one of those unoptomized universal behaviors--a workflow shared by many that was fundamentally flawed nonetheless. In this case, Disston knew the solution came in the shape of a single square of material. The challenge was figuring out just the right one to make it work.
"I spent that week figuring out the logistics of the addition," he explains. "I made a prototype myself that night to see how the patch looked, where it would go, and how big it would be. I sourced a fabric that was machine washable, affordable, and a dense microfiber--perfect for cleaning glasses. The main issue was attaching the fabric. Fusing or bonding the fabric entirely would cause some issues--a strong bond may create a little stain on the front side of the shirt. It would also make this corner of the shirt tail very stiff. A lighter bond would compromise durability, as it could lose its bond with wear and tear."
Disston and his colleagues ultimately decided to go with a light bond microfiber, with hand-stitching to ensure it stayed in place. "It’s invisible, lightweight, and secure," Disston says--perfect for buffing iPhones and Raybans alike. Unless, that, is, you have your shirt tucked in.
The shirt’s going for $98. The first run is sold out, but you can hop on a waitlist over at the company’s site.