When Michael Markesbery, Rithvik Venna, and Massimiliano Squire launched their high-quality outerwear company Lukla last year, the trio envisioned creating a lasting line of performance apparel that could conquer harsh winter weather. After initially trying their luck on Kickstarter, the three budding entrepreneurs turned to the crowdfunding site yet again to promote the next step in their vision: a line of superior winter garments featuring SolarCore aerogel — aka the stuff NASA uses to insulate its space suits, the Mars Rover, etc.
Formally launched February 1, the trio’s new line of clothing (now known under the moniker Oros) looks to raise roughly $310k during its residency on Kickstarter though the founders have their sights set on a seven-figure haul. If the use of Solarcore aerogel catches on and the trio gets their way, layering to combat severe weather may soon be a thing of the past.
“Oros performance apparel brings something completely different to the game of outerwear and insulation and that is our SolarCore aerogel,” says Oros founder Michael Markesbery. “Aerogel is an amazing insulator; it has to be since NASA uses it in outer space where the temperature is only 2 degrees above absolute zero.”
As touched on above, the brand’s SolarCore aerogel (found previously in the Lukla Endeavor jackets) is the product line’s claim to fame. Extremely lightweight and officially the lowest thermal conductor on Earth, SolarCore’s propensity for insulation allowed the Oros founders to construct a clothing that not only keeps the cold out but refrains from becoming too bulky or heavy. Measuring in at just 3MM, the Oros line achieves an equivalent warmth of those extremely puffy, 40MM goose down jackets. In other words, wearers of any of Oros’ space-age outerwear line will function less like Bibendum the Michelin Man and more like someone with complete control over their body.
“We did incredibly well with our first line of jackets a year ago and now with the second generation, we have improved the aerogel to make the jackets even lighter and thinner and have added gloves, beanies, and snowpants to our line so Oros can be the go-to performance apparel for your winter adventures and passions,” Markesbery continues. “The new line of clothes gives you complete flexibility and comfort, a slim profile, are very lightweight and great looking so they are perfect for everything you want to do in the cold.”
Simply saying the jackets provide wearers with unprecedented protection and flexibility only means so much, so naturally, the Oros team put its apparel through the ringer of durability tests. Be it the mountains of Nepal or a liquid nitrogen test, no trial was too large for Markesbery, Venna, and Squire’s jacket. In the liquid nitrogen test, the trio blasted the line at temperatures registering a frigid -321 degrees Fahrenheit, with the test subject reporting not even the slightest sensation of feeling cold. Moreover, if temperatures dramatically rise, the SolarCore aerogel’s breathability proves wildly effective at circumventing any overheating spells.
“Whether you plan to climb Mt. Everest, go skiing, winter camping or just want to be warmer when you relax at the ski lodge patio, our Oros performance apparel is going to change the way you experience the outdoors,” Markesbery notes.
All told, Oros’ Kickstarter encompasses a jacket, a pair of pants, a set of gloves, as well as a soft, ribbed knit beanie for backers to invest in. Set to conclude March 2, the Oros Kickstarter campaign has already raised $20k (i.e. 15 percent of the $310k goal) in the few short hours it’s been online. Considering the overwhelmingly positive response thus far, it’s not a matter of if the campaign is ultimately funded, but when.