CHANGING THE WORLD WITH ... A T-SHIRT
What do you understand by “smart clothes”? It’s not, as some may think, a t-shirt that is removed, washed and saved by itself, or a shirt whose collar tells you the answers of an exam without the need of revealing “cheating tricks”. In the fitness world, for example, are the fabrics equipped with sensors and devices that plan your training, so that your underwear can monitor the calories burning, control your breathing or watch for your cardiovascular data: all for the well-being of body and soul.
However, there are people like the Cuban entrepreneur Juan Pablo Fung, who understands “smart clothes” as a revolutionary element of freedom, expression and authenticity. With that concept, a dream and the fruitful mixture of Asian tenacity and Cuban inventiveness, Fung created Dirstuff, a small company dedicated to the production of interactive t-shirts, whose messages vary and even have an exclusive QR code to share personal information, make payments and other applications.
Fung is 28 years old, and he has spent the last seven in China, the cradle of his ancestors. Negolution traced him all the way to the very Shanghai to ask him, exclusively, how can a Cuban think of such a futuristic idea? “Who better? The Cuban does a lot with little. Our creativity goes beyond having an idea that can be sold: we express it by quick answers, by the spark, by the funny ideas. I was a kind but I remember the everyday inventions during the Special Period, and that ability to innovate nurtures projects like ours. I never thought it would get so deep, but I always knew it was a good idea”, Fung says.
The idea came to him as epiphanies do, as a revelation out of nothing, from that need of the Cuban people to give freedom to mockery. When he arrived at his school residence after a triumphant soccer afternoon, he wanted to provoke his roommate by leaving him a mocking message attached with magnets to the refrigerator. Bang! What if I could do it, but on a t-shirt? This is how he started thinking about the project everyone is talking about now. With the support of several childhood friends and others known in the Asian giant, Dirstuff began to take its first steps in a futuristic, but at the same time close area. The moment is encouraging, especially with the boom of wearable items that triumph in the fitness field, although its possibilities scope is vast, Fung is interested in its expressive potential.
“While the competition focuses on measuring body indicators and such, we are seduced by Dirstuff’s expressive potential, its ability to shout without opening the mouth, to be able to send powerful messages, to be your spokesperson, to speak for you and not for others. Thus, the same clothes can be pronounced on several causes, from social, personal and even advertising”, explains the young Cuban who never stops dreaming.
In fact, among his plans, it’s important to update his garments with “augmented reality”, thus highlighting the educational potential of his creation. After all, in essence these t-shirts are like a school composer, a place to form words and letter-by-letter messages. A children’s clothes line would not be bad, by the way. Anyway, Fung cares more about making a difference than all the money that this company can make for him. He’s not naive, he knows that the business is measured according to its earnings, but his incentives are different. “The entrepreneur has to fight for his dream and put his heart into it: if with Dirstuff and my other projects I help make the world a better place, I will be a happy person”, he says.
Any resemblance to a genuine negolutionarie, is no coincidence.