World War I fighter pilots wore silk scarves for a very functional reason: In the pre-radar era, pilots spent a lot of time swiveling their heads around looking for the enemy, chafing their necks against their collars. Add some silk and problem solved.
Now a company called Baubax has designed a super-functional piece of clothing to solve the modern-day problems of those who fly—as passengers. Think of the typical inconveniences you encounter on your average airplane trip: Emptying your pockets at the security checkpoint; trying to fish your tablet out of your bag when it’s crammed under the seat in front of you; no place to put your drink when the laptop’s taking up the tray table; untangling the headphones crammed in your pocket; trying to catch some shuteye in the world’s most uncomfortable seats. Baubax’s Travel Jacket aims to solve all of these things and more.
The design brain behind the jacket is Yoganshi Shah, who watched her husband, entrepreneur Hiral Sanghavi, constantly fly from their home in the U.S. to the company they co-founded in India. Sanghavi would forget to bring his travel pillow each time, and “Shah finally got fed up watching her husband spend $25 on a pillow every time he traveled,” writes Entrepreneur magazine, “and didn’t love the stockpile of pillows they were gradually amassing either.”
Shah isn’t a stay-at-home wife; she’s a UX designer and UI expert with a degree from Columbia, and apparently her on-screen design abilities translated well to the physical realm of clothing. Together she and Sanghavi formed Baubax and began ticking off the “pain points” of air travel. The resultant jacket appears to handily solve most.
Kickstarter backers agree. The Travel Jacket campaign sought $20,000; it’s now up to $4.6 million (making it the most crowdfunded piece of clothing in history, according to Baubax). I’m watching the pledge numbers steadily tick up as I write this. There are 23 days left to pledge, and Sanghavi and Shaw anticipate being ready to ship by November.