Inspired by a leaf, this wrinkle-free, stain-repellant and quick-drying ‘nanotech’ shirt impresses on a business trip, but needs regular washing
Have you ever dressed-up smart for a work trip before spilling coffee or your lunch down a crisp, white shirt during a flight? TravGear has, and with a few business travel trips on the horizon, we couldn’t wait to try-out Lotushirt. It’s now on Kickstarter.
Trio of tech
The makers of Lotus shirt claim its white smart shirt is three things; impossible to wrinkle or stain, and breathable. Let’s take those three claims and run through our test, bearing in mind that the overall claim about Lotus shirt is that it does all these things that expensive-looking shirts can’t do, while also looking the part.
The crease test
The Lotus shirt is indeed completely impossible to wrinkle. Made from a soft man-made fabric called, its makers claim that it uses nanotech. Suitably vague, for sure, but TravGear tossed a Lotushirt in a business trip bag for 24 hours and it was fine to where the other side without having to call reception for an iron. On the return journey, after a day of sitting in plane and train seats, it looked the same. Result!
The stain test
The first rule of business is eating a good first impression, which is hard to do when your shirt is splatted with coffee. Cue a shirt that’s inspired by the self-cleaning lotus leaf. It’s designed to repel water and stains, but does it? We did what any self-respecting product-tester would do; we threw a cup of (cold) coffee over Lotushirt. Most of the coffee fell off the shares without really appearing to make much contact, but some residue was left on the material, which needed care for mopping up with tissue. However, we did accidentally rub some into the material itself, which proved quite absorbent. That left a bit of a stain, though it was nowhere near as bad as on most shirts.
Breathable, but not odour-free
If you work or travel through humid environments, the white cotton shirt is a complete disaster. So the breathability claims of Lotushirt are just as important as its other facets. However, this is where it falls down. In our test it proved light and airy to wear, though it is a little figure-hugging. Under each arm – the disaster areas when in humidity – there are ultra-breathable ‘flying fish’ netting zones, though they’re not successful. After a long and stuffy trip the shirt smelled a lot worse than a normal shirt would. The netting zones appeared to be placed a little too low, and if anything, sweat is concentrated, and focused. A re-design is needed here, perhaps by making the ‘flying fish’ netting zones much, much bigger.
What the makers don’t mention is that Lotushirt also dries really quickly after a wash (which we had to do after a hot 24-hour trip). All in all, it’s rather like a shirt version of the quick-dry underwear so beloved of at TravGear. But if underwear can remain odour-free, why can’t a shirt? Without the odour-free talents of a lot of travel clothes, we’re not totally convinced about the Lotushirt despite some impressive features.