With dress shirts as the center of our wardrobe system, we continue to ask how they can be improved so that you can be comfortable and perform at your best every day of the year. Our latest concept is the LABS Zoned Dress Shirt. We’ve been developing the technologies behind this shirt for over a year with the goal of creating a better shirt for hot days.
The LABS Zoned dress shirt is an exploration in new methods for creating visually-subtle, efficient ventilation into professional shirting. We pushed the boundaries of advanced materials and construction to increase breathability in a crisp woven dress shirt. Using thermal body-mapping, we designed targeted microventilation, which is integrated seamlessly through a new weaving technique and precisely engineered pattern. Traditionally ventilation could be added by sewing in using multiple panels of different fabrics. However, our goal was to remove seams where possible and use variable weaving to create sections of breathability. Our hypothesis is that the ventilation will increase comfort without extra seams and unsightly panels. We’ve achieved this goal through a combination of three key processes: Thermal Mapping, Zoned Fabric Construction, and Engineered Patterning.
Through infrared thermal analysis, we’re able to determine the key areas where heat is expelled when we undergo increased levels of activity (walking, fast walking, running). Thermal imagery shows that the center back and underarms release the most heat. Our shirting ventilation is based on this study. We align areas with a more open ventilation pattern to match the parts of the body that produce more heat.
Infrared imaging lets us see heat. The light yellow areas show increased temperature zones such as the center back and underarms.
To create a shirt with seamless ventilation, we needed a fabric with both tight- and open-weave zones–difficult to create on traditional looms. An innovative dobby weaving process, which involves a loom attachment for creating tight patterns, allows us to create alternating sections of open ventilation regions and more opaque areas for coverage. This fabric is made as a single roll, reducing wasted resources through creating multiple fabrics for a single shirt.
Once the fabric is woven, it needs to be cut and sewn. In order to take advantage of the different woven zones, we use a digital design process to lay out a shirt pattern on the zoned fabric. Through this system, we’re able to align the ventilation based on our initial thermal body mapping without adding extra seams. The result is subtly integrated ventilation in the center back, sides and undersleeve, while the visible parts of the shirt retain the crisp lines you expect.
A computer design file allows us to arrange the pattern pieces along the bolt of fabric. The dotted lines represent the ventilation zones and allow us to determine the proper orientation.
The LABS Zoned Dress shirt allows us to continue pushing the boundaries of performance, without sacrificing a sharp aesthetic. Like all our LABS products, it’s available in a limited first run. We’ll be gathering feedback on this concept and using it to develop the next generation of revolutionary shirting.