Why you should care

Because comfort and fashion rarely collide. 

We’ve all been there: struggling to get comfortable on a red-eye, banging our head on the cold window during a long road trip, shifting endlessly inside a sleeping bag. Finding a sweet spot to rest that little head can be a Sisyphean task, which is why Josh Woodle wanted to create an affordable and stylish antidote to the traveler’s dilemma.

We didn’t want it to be like the Super Mario Bros. turtles.

Josh Woodle, Hypnos Hoodie founder

His solution: an inflatable pillow built into a sweatshirt. We can probably all agree when it comes to walking around with a built-in pillow, being practical might not be enough. So, along with comfort, the Hypnos Hoodie also packs style — and at $50, it’s surprisingly affordable. “We wanted to make it inconspicuous,” Woodle, 32, says over coffee in Los Angeles’ trendy Los Feliz neighborhood. “We didn’t want it to be like the Super Mario Bros. turtles.”

The Hypnos Hoodie’s inflatable pillow takes about three breaths, delivered into a small, hidden mouthpiece, to fully inflate. At that point, you can rest your head against any unwelcoming surface and be enveloped by an absorbent cushion layered in comforting cotton. The hooded piece is detachable, allowing it to become your standard pillow if you so choose.

Woodle, whose background is in independent film, often traveled to shooting locations and couldn’t accept there wasn’t a better solution than the standard neck pillow or, worse, the flimsy pillows airlines sometimes provide to passengers. It was during a venting session with his brother that the idea came to Woodle, which led to a Kickstarter campaign. He’s trying to raise $30,000 to release around 5,000 Hypnos Hoodies. Woodle continues to work with an independent designer who came from Hurley, a small team of engineers and a production facility in El Monte, California, to perfect his product. His secondary challenges are getting people to take the Hypnos Hoodie seriously and, if the sweatshirt does go mainstream, how to scale up production.

If all goes to plan, the first line of Hypnos Hoodies will be released in March. After that, it’s on to products for kids and dogs. And in an age when teenage girls think it’s cool to wear inflatable pillows around their necks while walking through the airport, and when hoodies are the new blazer in corporate circles, it’s not hard to imagine the Hypnos Hoodie catching on.

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