A travel jacket probably isn’t something you knew you needed. But the Swiss army knife of jackets, filled with 15 features you didn’t even know a jacket could (or ever needed) to have to make life easier in airport security lines and far beyond? That’s a different story, judging by the more than 31,000 backers that’ve collectively pledged north of $6 million to the BauBax jacket’s Kickstarter. The jacket’s wackier features include a neck pillow, an eye mask, a drink pocket (yes, really), gloves, a zipper that turns into a pen and stylus, and a portable charger pocket, as well as a blanket pocket (the blanket itself is sold separately, for an additional $25). Other bells and whistles include a phone pocket, a sunglasses pocket, an iPad pocket, a passport pocket, a microfiber cloth, and hand-warming pockets. The multitasking piece of clothing comes in four styles — a sweatshirt, a windbreaker, a bomber, and even a blazer — with versions of each style for men and women. Although some of the features sort of freak us out — that drink pocket/koozie-like feature tops the list — it’s no surprise the, uh, unique product hit its Kickstarter goal of $20,000. It’s extremely gadget-friendly, which couldn’t be an easier sell for the screen-obsessed lives we lead today, and it’s a total cocktail-party ice-breaker in and of itself. (A pretty dorky one, but a conversation-starter nonetheless.) But the idea was such a hit that it's so far raised $6,060,000 — and counting — more than the founders’ initial goal of $20,000. The jackets won’t be cheap, either: Prices will range from $160 for the sweatshirt to $200 for the blazer.
BauBax’s epic success on Kickstarter might reflect the types of clothing items that kill it on crowdsourcing sites. Fashion projects make up a small portion of Kickstarter endeavors vying for cash and customer interest: Of 5,850 currently “live” projects one can pledge to, only 386, or 6.5%, are fashion-related. Many of these crowdfunded fashion projects are as novelty-filled as BauBax; there’s even a “Drinking Jacket” that has a couple of the same bells and whistles. So, why did BauBax in particular sell so well? For starters, it has the opportunity to hit a variety of shoppers — the college kid who lives in hoodies, the blazer-clad banker, the outdoorsy types always donning Patagonias and North Faces, etc. And then there’s the irresistible gimmick factor: No one really needs a koozie or stylus at all moments, but how cool is it to have both…and 13 other party tricks built into one jacket? You’ve got nine days left to contribute to BauBax, and while it’s not like the project needs any additional funds, a donation will at least get you “founding family” bragging rights.