When working from home (WFH) was initiated at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a lingering question that is going on in the minds of employees: Is it still necessary for them to wear their office uniform while WFH?
Well, the obvious answer to this question is OF COURSE NOT! Many have gone for more casual styles of T-shirt, sweatpants, or yoga pants. While others wear a polo shirt on top, the bottoms can range from pajamas to shorts.
Now, fashion experts are wondering if it is possible to come up with an outfit that is both formal, especially on video conferencing, and yet comfortable enough so that they worker can also relax in it?
The solution to this dilemma may lie in a humble Kickstarter project in Japan called WFH Jammies.
What are WFH Jammies?
WFH Jammies is the brainchild of Japanese creative agency, Whatever, Inc.
There is actually a funny story that happened which led to the creation of this unique apparel.
According to the creator’s Kickstarter page, Japanese radio station KUPL was having an internal video conference call with employees who are WFH. At the end of the call, one of the attendees apparently needed to go to the toilet pronto and, unfortunately, ended up going Full Monty on his shocked colleagues.
In an interview with Bored Panda, Whatever’s Senior Designer Taichi Ito understood this poor employee’s dilemma. “When remote work became more common, my wife went through the trouble of changing into casual office attire to attend a video conference, and I thought it would be a shame if she couldn’t enjoy her work from home attire. Then I thought it would be nice if she could wear formal attire only for the part of the video screen.”
How WFH Jammies Were Designed
Whatever, Inc. designed the WFH Jammies together with famous Japanese fashion designer Akihiko Kimura, the creative mind behind Japan’s popular fashion brand, LOKITHO.
The shirt part extends down to about half the length of the pullover – approximately the head and the upper half of the body that will appear on the computer screen. If you go down the short further, it transforms into a sweatshirt. Sweatpants complete the ensemble.
Ever the perfectionist, Ito noted that he preferred the border of the shirt and jammies to be a little lower. However, to add visual appeal to the sweat shirt, priority was given to the height of the shirt. This move was done so that they sweat shirt pockets are cut off right n the middle, so that they are not too visible on the computer screen. In addition, they deliberately created the designs and variations to be simple but eye-catching, so that they can also be worn outside.
With the design in place, the creators faced a number of problems in the actual production of the WFH Jammies themselves.
In the same Bored Panda interview, Ito explained, “In addition to proposing materials and colors to combine, we were also conscious of the speed of the process from planning to production and delivery. When it comes to sewing, just as with fashion basics products, we paid attention to the position and finish of each seam to ensure a strong and beautiful finish.”
With the design and prototype garments ready, what better place to give the project a jumpstart, as well as boost some much needed funding, than in Kickstarter.
When Whatever launched the WFH Jammies crowdfunding on Kickstarter in May 2020, they only went for a modest target amount of 205141.61 yen (USD $ 1,865). Among the promised rewards are the actual jammies (with a choice of the shirt alone or a full set, for those who make higher contributions), a thank you email, and WFH style Zoom backgrounds. One interesting perk is that contributors can also send in their shirts to be transformed into a WFH Jammies custom combo. Suffice to say, WFH Jammies were a huge success. As of this writing, the company exceeded the target at 939,509 yen (USD $ 8,541.34) with only 83 backers.
WFH Jammies Today and Beyond
At present, WFH Jammies are available in only two sizes – Medium (M) and Large (L) – and three styles, namely:
- White shirt x Grey jersey
- Blue stripe shirt x Dark grey jersey
- Pink shirt x Black jersey
The jammies can be purchased at their Kickstarter page at a price of 9,000 yen ($85) for the shirt alone and 12,000 yen ($113) for a full set of sweatpants.
For those who are living in Japan, they can also be purchased from Whatever’s Online Store and in New Stand Tokyo.
Because the enterprise is still in its early stages, there are no plans as yet to create more WFH Jammies styles, although there are suggestions from international buyers to make the jammies more “corporate friendly” by having customized garments with the official colors and logos of the purchasing company. There are also requests for collaboration with known shirt brands in Japan.
Despite their inability to do this suggestion for now, Ito is very hopeful that they could meet the current online demand. “We would like to continue to sell online, if possible. We hope people will be able to keep an eye on the future of this project on Kickstarter. We have also received many requests, so we would be happy to collaborate with a shirt brand.”
The unique design of WFH Jammies definitely make them the new uniform for working from home, a true combination of the formality of office uniforms and the comfort of loungewear.
As Ito mentioned in his interview, “Originally, we made WFH Jammies because it is very humorous and we want to wear it! We honestly don’t know if this project will ever become a standard or not in certain countries or cultures. But it is unique as a fashion item, so if you could wear it outside or in the office, it would be a good story to tell, and we would be happy. As remote work itself becomes more commonplace, we think we will see more and more designs like WFH Jammies that fit the new lifestyle.”