Medical scrubs are hot right now—because, well, they’re hot all the time. They don’t go out of style, they’re always needed, and the people whose jobs require them will continue to rebuy them, as needed. The medical apparel industry was considered ripe for disruption, with direct-to-consumer brands like Jaanuu, Clove, Folds, and Figs featuring fashion-forward scrubs and footwear, thereby widening healthcare workers’ otherwise generic options. The concept seems to hold weight: Figs’ IPO debuted in 2021, targeting what the company estimated to be a $12 billion U.S. healthcare apparel industry.
Jaanuu received a $75 million investment from Eurazeo in January, bringing their total funding to just shy of $100 million. Company cofounder and CEO Shaan Sethi said they’ll use the funds to further brand awareness. Jaanuu began diversifying its marketing channel efforts earlier this year—its new campaign “Reimagine Greatness” debuted in late May—and the brand continues to expand its key leadership team (including two former Nike execs), fabric innovations, and categories.
And this is how we get to me (of course)—a non-healthcare worker who found and fell in love with Jaanuu this spring. Earlier this year, the brand branched into men’s and women’s loungewear, creating joggers, hoodies, and tanks made with a very soft, stretchy polyester blend in pillowy, heather shades, ranging from $42 to $60. Unlike their scrubs, Jaanuu isn’t breaking the mold with its lounge category, rather, its fitting into it. The silhouettes mirror popular athleisure. (Jaanuu’s $60 jogger is, in fact, a perfect dupe of my absolutely favorite $80+ joggers from a well-known athleisure brand. Right down to the fabrication and tag placement.) But that’s kind of the point.
Jaanuu’s core customer remains the healthcare worker, according to Sethi, but its face masks stretched the brand’s appeal beyond the everyday scrub wearer. The face masks—made from the same moisture-wicking scrubs fabric and treated with Silvadur, a silver ion polymer, which makes them antimicrobial—expanded Jaanuu’s reach to non-medical staff, like me, who wore Jaanuu’s comfortable, breathable masks while lecturing. (They were also bolstered by the ultimate celebrity “as seen on” endorsement with former President Barack Obama.) To date, the company has sold 8.2 million of its masks, and donated a million more to nonprofits throughout the pandemic.
Sethi says, while the masks were designed for the general public, the company sees the loungewear category as “supporting the 12-hour shift for 24-hour people”—aka, giving healthcare workers something comfy to change into when off-the-clock. This concept is somewhat guilt-inducing as living a few blocks from Mass General Hospital reminds me daily of how trivial my workday risks are, compared to those on the frontline. Still, the buttery fabric and never-twist waistband call to me as soon as it’s no-pants-o’clock. They are my favorite summer-weight sweats; subtle and conventional enough to fly under the radar as streetwear. They hold their shape, they never pill, and have kept their silky, smooth feel through many washes.
A licensed veterinary technician, aka, an actual medical professional, Baphomet Nayer (also, Fast Company associate editor David Salazar’s fiancé), had previously bought three pairs of Jaanuu scrubs for his job and had only good things to say.
“As a short man, I have always had trouble finding scrubs that don’t just swallow me whole,” he says. “In Jaanuu scrubs, I look like a member of my team rather than a kid playing doctor for the first time. Additionally, the fabric feels really good and can handle anything: hot coffee spills, blood, you name it. With every wash, all the stains and messes of the day are removed, even my Sharpied initials come right out, and the scrubs look just as good as the day before. All in all, I give Jaanuu a 10/10 for durability, inclusivity, and style.”
Jaanuu’s core decisions reflect the mindset of a physician, Dr. Neela Sethi Young, (the cofounder’s sister). The loungewear, explained Sethi, is an offering of easy, reliable comfort to healthcare workers like his sister, who “spend so much of their time serving others. Neela says you need to fill up your own cup to fill up the cup of others,” he adds.
While I can think of no one more deserving of super-comfortable sweats than those coming off a 16-hour shift in an ER—I think there are plenty more amazing doers out there who would benefit from Jaanu’s leisure wear—think parents, caregivers, dogwalkers, even you. Because self-care is important, too.