How Ministry of Supply is reinventing business attire again

Retail Gets Real episode 215: VP of Operations Brian Kennedy on a pandemic pivot

Ministry of Supply built its brand around making business attire function more like performance apparel for modern professionals. The company reengineers work staples using cutting-edge technology to design pants that won’t wrinkle or fade and shirts that keep you cool as you sweat through a client presentation. So what does a company built for professionals who want to dress sharp do when a global pandemic hits and most customers start working from home? Ministry of Supply Vice President of Operations Brian Kennedy joins the Retail Gets Real podcast to share how the company pivoted during the pandemic and where it’s headed today.

 

Like the founders of Ministry of Supply, Kennedy is an engineer with a knack for finding creative solutions to problems. The founders had a history of hacking solutions to their apparel problems and founded a company based on building real solutions. They went down to the fiber level to ensure their designs would meet customers’ needs for fashion and comfort. 

In the early days of the pandemic, Ministry of Supply realized that it was uniquely positioned to help meet a growing need: masks. It quickly designed and distributed 3D printed masks not just to individuals, but also to companies experiencing a shortage of masks. 

The company’s engineering philosophy involves a culture of building and retesting designs from customer feedback. It found customers working from home were looking for comfortable but polished apparel, and had to find ways to use and modify existing products and inventory to work for what consumers needed now. Kennedy says the company plans for that emphasis on comfort to continue as people return to the office.

“We think there's a really big chance that people are going to dress for versatility, and for travel and movement,” Kennedy says. “A hybrid work model is something that's very realistic for a lot of professions, and that's something that might stay with us for decades.”

Listen to the full episode to learn more about how Ministry of Supply is redefining the fashion industry and how the pandemic has changed our expectations of apparel.

More from the podcast

4 retail executives on how to turn off work
 
out of office
Retail Gets Real 229: Execs from BJ’s, P&G, The Container Store and Carol’s Daughter share boundary setting tips.
Read more
How ‘circular commerce’ helps retailers protect their brands
 
Resale items
Retail Gets Real 228: Trove CEO Andy Ruben on resale’s dual promise of profitability and sustainability.
Read more
A closer look at navigating the return to the office
 
work from home
Retail Gets Real 227: PwC’s Sushil Ahuja and Elizabeth Yates on accommodating and adjusting to the new office dynamic
Read more