Clothes hangers, I’m sure you’ll agree, are in desperate need of a redesign. When I scour through my closet, strappy sundresses and silk blouses inevitably slide off the hangers, falling into a pool on the floor. And then there’s the fact that dozens of my blazers and Oxford shirts have been ruined because the hard edges of the hangers stretch out the fabric, creating unsightly bumps.
There’s a new hanger on the market that promises to make these problems a thing of the past. Hangio, a startup founded by Ayodele Aigbe, an engineering student at Texas Tech University, has redesigned the traditional hanger to make them more usable. Instead of using hard plastic, wood, or metal, she has created a moldable foam that can be configured in six ways to adapt to each garment. You can bend them to adapt to the shoulders of your coat or blazer. You can create little bumps on each side to prevent straps from falling off. You can even create a little circle, which can hold scarves or belts.
Throughout her life, Aigbe often wondered why hangers seemed so poorly adapted to the clothes they were meant to carry, particularly since it seemed like a relatively simple problem to fix. There is no obvious answer. The traditional hangers that fill our closets were first invented about 150 years ago to hold coats in a way that mimics how they hang on shoulders. The devices were first made from wood or wire, then later, plastic, but the basic shape stayed the same. Then, the entire infrastructure of our closets was designed around these hangers.
Aigbe decided to take a stab at evolving the hanger. She conducted focus groups and market research to see what consumers were looking for in hangers, then began to prototype a device that became Hangio. She joined two accelerator programs, one through Texas Tech and another through Mass Challenge, that helped her get the business off the ground.
The hangers are available from the Hangio website. They’re pricier than run-of-the-mill hangers, at $12.99 for a single one and $29.99 for a pack of three (and unfortunately, they’re sold out at the moment). But they’re likely to spare you the heartbreak of finding an enormous bump on your favorite blazer.