Chariot, a line of self-cleaning, hydrophobic clothing by California-based Fidea Inc, has launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter to raise a seed funding goal of US $20,000.

Chariot’s cotton clothing is made hydrophobic through bionic technology, which means that any liquids, such as water, Coke or coffee that come into contact with the surface of the material simply roll off. Chariot claims that although its clothing is essentially waterproof, breathability is retained.

Founded by Zhang Mingyuan, the idea for Chariot was inspired from this funny anecdote: his child once urinated on him and caused his mobile phone to suffer water damage. He originally was researching for ways to waterproof electronic devices, but the idea eventually evolved into creating ‘waterproof’ clothing.

Interestingly enough, Chariot is not the first ‘hydrophobic’ concept on the market. Earlier in January, a similar project, Silic, was successfully funded, raising almost US $300,000, over 14 times of its US $20,000 goal. Similar to Chariot, Silic is also a line of hydrophobic clothing, claiming that “unlike other hydrophobic nanotechnology application processes out there, ours is not cancerous”.

In June 2013, a video showing off a ‘revolutionary’ coating product called NeverWet went viral, and currently has over 10 million views. In the video, any item that was sprayed and coated with NeverWet instantly became hydrophobic, including shoes, electronics, clothing and surfaces. NeverWet received extensive media coverage resulting from its video and revolutionary product.

At the time of writing this article, the campaign has raised US $1,521 of its US $20,000 goal, a far cry from the amount raised from Silic’s campaign earlier this year. Chariot’s Kickstarter campaign will run until June 8, and pledges to receive a piece of Chariot clothing starts from US $39 for a T-shirt. If funding is successful, delivery to backers is estimated to be in July this year. Currently, the company has already produced several working factory samples and have a production schedule and suppliers lined up.

Zen is a tech journalist with a fondness for tech gadgets and pandas. She is also a full-time grad student studying business journalism at Tsinghua University, and often spends much time dreaming about...

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