A garish garment guaranteed to have the opposite sex swooning is currently being marketed by Gullane-based designers Foul Fashion.
Its makers claim wearers will get lucky between the sheets within weeks of wearing one – or get their money back.
So when I was asked to put this claim to the test I thought I’d landed the assignment of the year.
But the excitement soon turned to a cringe when I was handed what looked like a psychedelic version of the shirt a pensioner might wear on a Caribbean cruise.
However, the fashion company claims the loud look is the secret to its success – as it can prove to be an ice breaker in chatting-up scenarios.
“We do totally believe that these shirts will get the attention of the opposite sex,” explained co-founder Ali Smeaton, 31. “It’s the peacock effect. A lot of people won’t admit it, but it’s in our genetic make-up that we like standing out from the crowd. Our products are about getting girls’ attention and having a bit of fun.”
And it seems the blunt approach is working.
“We set up a page on Facebook and we have already got more than 50,000 likes,” revealed the designer. “There’s lots of pictures with everything from 18 to 25-year-olds looking to pull to 40 to 55-year-olds who are wanting to put on an outrageous shirt to revel in the embarrassment of their families.”
All well and good, but how would the Lothario shirt fare on the Capital’s streets? Wearing the colourful garment I made a beeline for Joseph Pearce Bar in Elm Row where Cat Simpson, 23, took one look at my garish clobber and exploded into laughter. “It looks like someone has found their grandmother’s fabric box and has sown it together because they couldn’t afford anything else,” she said.
“But then a guy who can go out with a shirt like that on has to be pretty confident. Would I go home with you? Maybe – if you had a nice personality, but the shirt would have to disappear pretty quickly.”
Success. Sort of. But proceedings quickly took a dive when I bumped into Angeline Shen, 30. “It’s a no from me,” said the banker from Shanghai in a quiet Royal Mile cafe.
“But I’m quite old-fashioned. I don’t think it makes you more attractive – there’s too much colour. Perhaps if you wore it with something like jeans it would look better.”
Perhaps. But the rollercoaster ended on a high when I met Canadian Joyce Goggin – film, literature and new media lecturer at Amsterdam University – outside the National Gallery.
The 53-year-old’s initial reaction wasn’t exactly what I was after. “Girlfriend – that is some shirt!” she hollered. “But it makes me happy. I’m not in the best of moods and that shirt cheered me up.”
Then the $64,000 question.
“You’re asking someone old enough to be your grandmother whether it’d help you pull?” answered Joyce. “OK, go on, yes, it would. But only because you’re younger!”
Not a bad result, but the boast of 100 per cent pulling power would appear a tad over-ambitious.
Ali said sales of his shirts rocketed after Foul Fashion decided to sponsor darts ace Gary Anderson in November – a move predicted to bring his firm £500,000 in year one sales.
Maybe I should stick a cushion up the front and head out with a pint and a pocketful of darts next time.
THERE’S another reason to believe there might be method to the madness of Foul Fashion.
The woman-conquering shirts come from the same people who brought you Morphsuits – the spandex, neon-coloured garments that have become unlikely favourites of the international party and club scene, as well as icons of the Capital’s Fringe Festival.
Ali and Fraser Smeaton and Gregor Lawson were inspired to create their company after watching a pal wearing a zentai bodysuit steal the show at a party in Dublin. Inspired by what they had seen, the trio invested £3000 each in their new venture and haven’t looked back.
Now thought to be the world’s largest fancy-dress outfit, Morphsuits received £4.2 million of investment to drive expansion of the business, which has seen turnover rise from £1.2m to a projected £11m last year.