Urban jacket: the functional jacket that doesn’t look like one

London designer Ali Namdari had the brainwave of launching his own sportswear label after getting absolutely soaked cycling home in a rainstorm one day. After drying himself off he set about finding a good, waterproof jacket that was comfortable to wear when cycling, had the necessary safety features but which also looked good.

The few jackets he did find were too plain for his tastes and not generally manufactured sustainably – something close to the designer’s heart. So Ali decided to design a trendy, functional and sustainable cycling and rain jacket, invented the urban jacket and also set up his own start-up brand, “Labo Mono”.

When designing his jacket, Ali focussed both on its practicability and looks – the cycling jacket is available in six different designs. Before starting on the project, he spoke with commuters, cyclists and non-cyclists to understand all their different needs regarding rainwear and protective clothing better. The product was ultimately very much developed on the basis of this user-focussed research. The end result is a stylish sports jacket with sixteen different functional features and is made from 30 recycled plastic bottles. Its fabric is waterproof, windproof and also breathable. Cyclists particularly like the two-way zipper, the fact that it is long enough to reach your thighs and has a helmet-compatible hood that sits firmly in place without restricting over-the-shoulder visibility. All the jacket’s different features are explained in this video link.

The people behind Labo Mono also attach a lot of importance to the production process of their jackets being transparent and comprehensible to their customers. The jacket is currently produced in a Chinese factory specialized in producing technical clothing. After production, the fabric is waterproofed in Germany with BIONIC finish ® ECO, an environment-friendly fluorine-free coating technology.

Ali Namdari is currently looking at setting up a production site in Portugal to manufacture other items such as recycled shirts and trousers. With his label, Labo Mono, he would like to demonstrate that it is also possible for small suppliers to create a sustainable brand for environment-friendly and socially acceptable quality products from scratch and develop it step by step into something bigger.

Images: Labo Mono