If you're the kind of businessman who travels cheek to cheek with commuters on the metro or subway – or who cycles to work – then you'll know that by the time you change into your once-pristine suit at the office, it can look more like a "before" image from a steam iron commercial than something fit to impress the boss. Tony Higson's crusade against creases started with Suit Commute, and is now about to enter the next phase with Freefold.
The one-size-fits-all Freefold commuter travel system from Higson's Worldline Luggage is a specially-contoured, anti-bacterial EVA foam suit former which is said to maintain the shape of business suit jacket, tie, shirt and trousers without needing to buy a special bag to put them in. Once the suit is wrapped around the Freefold former, it can be safely and neatly stowed away in a user's backpack or hand luggage, to re-emerge at the end of their journey still looking good enough to wear to that important meeting.
Freefold reportedly weighs less than 200 grams (7 oz), is compatible with most backpacks of 25-liter capacity and above, and can be recycled at the end of its useful life.
Higson told us that his development research has indicated that Freefold is "the lightest and most effective suit carrier on the market unless you are just putting it on a really thin metal hanger and a dry cleaner issue suit cover in which case that comes in around the same weight but much larger and less transportable."
Users of the system first need to fold the suit's trousers around a flat foam former/guide and then secure them within the cavity of the main contoured sleeve structure with Velcro straps. The shirt is then hung over the shoulders of the main contoured structure, followed by the jacket. Another flat former/guide (with room for a tie) is placed over the chest area of the jacket and the bottom of the jacket is folded up and the top half folded down. The whole shebang can then be placed inside the supplied nylon sleeve or packed straight in a backpack or travel bag as is.
Freefold is currently at the pre-production phase and, although Higson says that he intends to bring the system to market through Worldline Luggage, he has secured a licensing deal and is currently on the lookout for other licensing partners. At the time of writing, pricing has yet to be announced.
Higson is also in the final development stage of an inflatable version of the system, which is being treated to a nice faux suede finish and collapses to a fraction of the size of the foam version for ease of storage or transport.