The Ostrichpillow, which launched in 2012 and quickly became a viral sensation, could never have existed before the internet. But this $100, tulip-shaped pillow, which you’re supposed to slip over your head to zone out and escape, was the perfect product for an over-connected world. It was also ideal clickbait for bloggers looking for a crazy story that would go big on social media. The European design firm behind the product, Studio Banana, would go on to sell 40,000 (or ~$1 million to $4 million worth) of Ostrichpillow products this year. The profitable Ostrichpillow line has expanded to all sorts of plush comfort items since the first model debuted on Kickstarter in 2012.
To date, Ostrichpillow’s half a dozen products fall into two camps. They’re either something quirky you’d wear during, say, a performance art piece, or something plush and ergonomic you’d wear getting onto a plane. In either case, you wouldn’t want to be caught dead on the street wearing it. But the Ostrichpillow Hood–launching this week for $40–promises to be a more refined version of the brand’s approach to product design. It’s meant to be “a classic wardrobe stable with a twist” and “…the perfect addition to any outfit…” according to the company.
Basically, the Ostrichpillow Hood is a hoodie with the sweatshirt part cut off. It’s a hood. Just the hood. At first I think that’s silly. Stupid. Real dumb. And then I think about it. Ostrichpillow is effectively giving me permission to turn any outfit–a seersucker suit, a tuxedo, etc!–into my favorite, comforting hoodie. And if it succeeds in that quest, wouldn’t that make this the single most important product of the 21st century? History could suddenly be condensed into a simple sequence of events: Fire. The wheel. Vaccines. Steam engines. iPhones. Hoods. Launch all our nukes into the sky; humankind is done here.
So I call in a review unit, and what arrives at my door is a white box designed with all the stark minimalism of an Apple product. On its front, a confident man with cheekbones that could cut glass looks me right in the eye. He seems to have reached the final stages of enlightenment; any moment he might burst into pure energy itself. Of course he’s wearing the Hood–not like it’s a big deal, mind you. He’s wearing the Hood in a “this old thing?” way. He’s wearing the Hood like he was born in the Hood.
“Did you get this on purpose?” my wife asks, looking at the box.
It’s a burn I cannot recover from. But I, too, want his cheekbones and a bit of solitude in a house full of little screaming PBS fanatics, so I rip the Hood from its box and I place it atop my head. It feels more synthetic than I’d anticipated. The perfect hoodie is mostly or all cotton, but this is 71% polyester and 2% spandex. It is something of a performance hood, apparently. I note the wide angle of view out the front. Another performance feature, perhaps. I would be lying if I said it felt comforting, or even that comfortable. I’d prefer the hug of a full-out hoodie any day.
Before I can leave it to my family to decide, they already start piping in with their opinions.
“You kinda look like you’re gonna cosplay a renaissance faire,” says my wife. “You look like a ninja,” says my son (attah boy!). “Are ninjas real?” Of course they’re real. Your dad is one now. I do not say any of this, of course. I explain that ninjas were indeed part of history before realizing any more explanation would require some deep Wikipediaing and this was really about the Hood.
Needing to confirm the sight for myself, I go to the bathroom to see how I look. I’m not naive. I know I won’t look good. I know I won’t look like Ninja Cheekbones. But it’s worse than I expect. With the frumpy fabric around my jowls, I look like Ninja Basset Hound.
I walk back into the living room and try one of the Hood’s other advertised modes of wear. I yank on it, so the fabric fully covers my face and my shame. I assume this mode is meant for naps. But it works pretty well for hiding humiliation, too.