Hi Reddit,

great to be back! We did our last iAmA three years ago during our crowdfunding.

We were of course late with delivery, but testing the blackness of the final product against other materials marketed as being ultra black, we found that we in fact offer the blackest material which is publicly available (and not a hole in a box).

Here is a video of me measuring it.

And here is the final ViperblackTM shirt, modelled by one of the Vantablack engineers.

So hit me with questions about the technology behind it, our soul crushing endevour teaching us that hardware is indeed hard, or if we are planning to do a tactileneck.

Proof on bottom of page https://www.phoebeheess.com/

That was fun! I will get some rest and answer the rest of your questions tomorrow

Ok, I'm back with a cup of very black coffee. Ready to answer your questions

Comments: 182 • Responses: 59  • Date: 

hypoxiate96 karma

How can I, a middle-aged goth out of touch with the gothling kids these days, purchase one of these shirts to flaunt my old-school goth superiority?

gabrielbln33 karma

sasdie9 karma

Found the Comodore user and his floppy drive!

gabrielbln12 karma

Now there you are wrong, because I had a double drive!

sasdie4 karma

Ahhh... look at Me. Fancypants there! I upgraded from a tape to the 1541 5 1/4 floppy and was totally blown away by that freaking speed improvement... 😂 At least 25 years since I typed this command the last time...

gabrielbln3 karma

My parents bought mine from hacker. That's why it had a double floppy. And a black desktop! Ehm, screen background? Wow, I don't speak that language anymore

cbelt383 karma

Ok when will you properly sell a tactical black turtleneck of this ?

gabrielbln42 karma

Ok, I kind of waited or that question. He.

I wrote to the Instagram account of Archer and even to PAAAAM! u/ambercnash (goddammit!). But never received a reply. I don't even think we would ever sell this. I just really love the show. Oh and I learned of it through our last iAmA, thanks reddit!

mild_delusion24 karma

Well yeah. Archer needs 5 in black and 5 in a..slightly darker black.

You know what you have to do!

gabrielbln6 karma

Call (insert NAS relevant acronym here)?

manocheese72 karma

That's awesome. Can I buy a long ream of the uncut material? I want to cover my home theatre room in it. Also, is it easy to wash?

barnfodder22 karma

This is an application I had not considered. I too would like a long roll of this fabric.

LU908 karma

I also would like a roll of this fabric

gabrielbln10 karma

Ok, seems like you guys really want that. I will contact those who commented accordingly and we'll figure something out

RegZillar65 karma

Why is the hose from that machine going into your arse?

Can I still get the blackest t shirt ever made without a machine pumping the devils magic into my anus or is that all part of it?

gabrielbln46 karma

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering

Donnersebliksem2 karma

ugh fine, prequel memes are my weakness, is this intended for a purpose or just one of those 'to have it' type of deals?

gabrielbln13 karma

Well it was kind of an artistic concept originally. There are different creative tools: combination, deconstruction and one is to take something to the extreme.

But we found two really practical practices besides it just looking good:

The first is that we were surprised that we had a lot of heavier people ordering (we actually had to add plus sizes) because they wanted to look thinner.

The other, more profane one, was that it's really good to make bets against other black clad people. We even made an app with a light meter so you can win booze

BiceRankyman5 karma

Have you thought about making negative fill for the film industry? I think I’d want a shirt like this to work crew on film.

gabrielbln6 karma

The company who had the blackest fabric before us (shout out to Showtex, who were a big help) used theirs for theater backgrounds. We've sent them some of ours, but they seem to pivot into another business direction

true_spokes30 karma

Given the continued squabbles over the licensing of vantablack, and your own interest in profiting from a similar concept, how do you feel about the ownership/licensing of colors? Should individuals/brands be allowed to have exclusive rights to a certain color? Does it make any difference whether the color is something that cannot be produced by the average person with access to standard art supplies?

gabrielbln31 karma

Interesting question. So first of all, you can't own a color. You can own the name and you can patent the production process, if said process is an innovation.

This project taught me a lot about the fascinating history of different (rare) colors and the history of the color black specifically

true_spokes-26 karma

Sorry, but that didn’t really answer my question. I’d respectfully ask that you re-read my comment and offer an answer more aligned to it. I’m not asking “how does licensing work?” — I’m asking “Should we allow these types of ‘boutique’ colors to be produced and sold, especially given the precedent that it establishes that portions of the visible spectrum can be branded and licensed for profit?” You started this AMA in your capacity as an entrepreneur in this field; I hope you can offer a bit more insight into its ethical concerns.

Edit: hey downvoters, I respectfully asked for an answer to my actual question, which OP subsequently provided and substantially enriched the discussion. What exactly are you downvoting?

gabrielbln33 karma

Yes, sorry I wasn't precise enough.

"Should we allow these types of ‘boutique’ colors to be produced and sold Yes, innovation is a good thing. If capitalism is, is a whole different discussion

...especially given the precedent that it establishes that portions of the visible spectrum can be branded I wouldn't know of a product, you weren't allowed to brand

...and licensed for profit? see, here is the destinction. It's not the color that's being licensed, It's the brand name and the production process. You are absolutely free to come up with an even blacker black

evil_leaper17 karma

Were you not aware that my soul owns the copyright on that particular shade?

gabrielbln64 karma

You could fight my ex about it. But believe me, you wouldn't want that

WalterWhiteBeans16 karma

Gonna make underpants?

gabrielbln13 karma

Don't want to frighten the ladies?

Theandric11 karma

Have you considered doing merch for Spinal Tap?

gabrielbln8 karma

I don't know, they would probably keep complaining about the blackness of it

dsubandbeard5 karma

None. None more black.

gabrielbln1 karma

squid50s11 karma

This is super cool. I’d love to get one of these. If this is the blackest material PUBLICLY available, what’s the blackest material not publicly available?

manocheese28 karma


gabrielbln15 karma

Sehr gut. Genau!

manocheese4 karma


gabrielbln5 karma


Klaus_Goldfish4 karma

Sagen Sie guter Mann, sprechen Sie Deutsch?

gabrielbln3 karma

Ehm, is that a beerhall?

Cynditjuh9 karma

Do you have a cat? Somehow I'm very certain you don't have a cat...

gabrielbln7 karma

I love cats. But I somehow late developed an allergy. Which is good, because otherwise I'd hate them now. The universe, man...

Killer-Barbie9 karma

Will this fabric fade?

gabrielbln20 karma

Yes. Not as bad as a natural fiber though and even if it does ater some hundred washings, you still got a cool black shirt

baeatle8 karma

Will this hide you in the shadows when you need to duck out of a social gathering?

gabrielbln10 karma

Actually probably yes! The Gaboon Viper uses her ultra black scales so prey doesn't recognise its form (animals and humans are very good at form recognition).

And if nobody sees you as a person...

SlothOfDoom15 karma

Shit, I don't need a shirt for that.

gabrielbln13 karma


Never_Been_Missed8 karma

I bought one of these shirts during the crowdfunding phase and I notice the material wasn't what I was expecting. Instead of being soft like a normal shirt, it was very stiff and had a very plastic feel to it. Are there any plans to change that?


gabrielbln8 karma

Yes, our first prototype was a cotton fabric. Through the different partners we went through (6) it became clear that we weren't able to stay with a natural fiber. I am sorry, but it will always stay a synthetic even if we somewhen will be able to miniaturize the thickness. But that's a big leap

notananthem3 karma

I assume it's due to requiring thickness to block light, where cotton could stretch and afford light to bleed through this material is less prone to that

gabrielbln2 karma

Yes that's one of the reasons. And that 3D structure of course puts on thickness as well

MagicCityMan8 karma

How noisy is this synthetic fabric while moving about, compared to say, standard cotton you’d get on a T-shirt?

gabrielbln16 karma

That's a oddly specific question. But thinking about it, it is indeed noisier than a cotton shirt.

GardenGnomeOfEden5 karma

He's asking for a ninja friend of his.

gabrielbln3 karma

That was sneaky, but then, what do you expect?

moonmanchild6 karma

Is it true what they say, that once you go with this particular color of t-shirt you never go back?

gabrielbln8 karma

The holy grail of customer retention, so to speak

Littlemeggie5 karma

Doesn't Anish Kapoor own Vantablack?

gabrielbln14 karma

No, he has a license to use Vantablack, and this only in an artistic context

in_the_comatorium5 karma

I have to ask, what's up with the weird seethrough mesh things on the sleeves of the shirt? Are you going to sell a normal T-shirt with Vantablack?

How is it possible to make Vantablack into a dye? Or is this a different product? I was under the impression it was a special coating, like a paint. Does the material you apply the dye to (e.g. cotton, polyester...) affect how dark the final product looks?

gabrielbln3 karma

That's just the design of the shirt. Just to be clear, this isn't Vantablack. We use a very dark pigment and create a surface structure that traps light

cdub3845 karma

Will it be available in paint or other form?

gabrielbln9 karma

There is a paint from Stuart Semple that is very black. And other textiles are in the making

Virt_McPolygon5 karma

How much more black could it be?

gabrielbln16 karma

None more black

baracuda684 karma

So, how does the 'blackness' hold up after washing?

gabrielbln9 karma

Very well. It's a synthetic and they don't fade very much.

Synthetics don't fade. Anybody in need of a band name?

KhunDavid4 karma

Have you signed the contract to paint Disaster Area’s spaceships?

gabrielbln4 karma

Would. But the sound somehow is just unbearable after thirty seven miles

necro_kederekt4 karma

From the picture, it looks like it has a velvet texture. Does it?

gabrielbln3 karma

Yes, that's the 3D surface that attracts light. It's much shorter than velvet, though

necro_kederekt3 karma

Thanks for the reply! My go-to for getting dust and fibers off of velvet is tape, usually masking tape. Would that damage the surface much?

gabrielbln11 karma

Not at all. But as practical Germans, we put a designer lint roller in your packet as a giveaway ^

CHarleq4 karma

A long-sleeve pull-over hoodie, even if material is thin, would be a great product that we ninjas could get behind. Any plans?

Also, no one has asked about pricing yet, which surprises me. Why is the cost (comparatively) so high? Is it due to sourcing materials from the dark lord himself?

gabrielbln11 karma

Nah, he's just taking your soul as currency.

The price comes from two different factors. * Material: we, compared to fast fashion, order such low quantities that we have to pay a premium. Also the fabric is made in Italy * Labour: We produce in Germany under fair wages

Look at a Gucci t-Shirt or Off-White. You pay hundreds there and thats for a normal cotton shirt which is not costing more than 10$ in production.

RaptorDesign4 karma

Why do the sleeves look so terrible?

gabrielbln4 karma

Yeah sorry u/raptordesign. You'll need proper arms for them

RaptorDesign5 karma

Can you post a photo of someone with proper arms wearing it?

gabrielbln5 karma

Wooosh. That was a joke relating to your username

OvertonesNA3 karma

I could see this selling very well in the entertainment and staging industry. Do you have any plans to make slacks/shoes with this material for stagehands/production crews?

gabrielbln2 karma

Not yet, but you were not the first one mentioning this today. Will look into it, thank you

He11oK1tty3 karma

I was just talking to my son about this today. Is it possible to ever create a nail polish with this technology?

gabrielbln5 karma

Well not with this technology, but the basic concept of creating a rough surface that is optimised to trap light

BostonDodgeGuy3 karma

Why are the sleeves so short?

gabrielbln3 karma

Part of the design. There is a longsleeve, though, without mesh inserts

RobloxOverFortnite3 karma

What is the point/usage of the shirt?

gabrielbln6 karma

Answered this below:

Well it was kind of an artistic concept originally. There are different creative tools: combination, deconstruction and one is to take something to the extreme.

But we found two really practical practices besides it just looking good:

The first is that we were surprised that we had a lot of heavier people ordering (we actually had to add plus sizes) because they wanted to look thinner.

The other, more profane one, was that it's really good to make bets against other black clad people. We even made an app with a light meter so you can win booze

DJ_Molten_Lava3 karma

What happens if I bleach it?

gabrielbln3 karma

It becomes a black shirt with loose morals

DoublePostedBroski3 karma

Are you single?

gabrielbln1 karma

Sorry, I'm together with Phoebe and we have two little boys

Tired82813 karma

How about a dress shirt with collar and buttons and a breast pocket?

gabrielbln3 karma

Sorry, not the right material for it. But maybe in a later iteration

omiaguirre3 karma

Is there just a black tee version ? like plain black tee without sleeve details ? Not into those at all ✌🏼

gabrielbln1 karma

There is a longsleeve as well. You can see it in the last pictures and select it through the pull down menue

omiaguirre2 karma

I mean just a plain tee without those mesh trims in the sleeves . Regular old plain t shirt. That’s what I wear and that’s what I would love to buy in super black

gabrielbln1 karma

Yes, I understood. But I am sorry, we don't have that

Daboccu3 karma

Why t-shirts of all things?

gabrielbln1 karma

Well clothes because of we are a fashion brand and a shirt specifically because we thought it's the most accessible

NateTheNooferNaught2 karma

A guy made something darker than vantablack on youtube btw. But my question why? Why do you want to make a super black tshirt? Im actually intrested in buying it but thats besides the point!

gabrielbln2 karma

You are probably referring to this hole in a box, which of course is not a material. I talked to the creator of Vantablack about it and he said it was a gimmick. I guess that's about the harshest criticism you could get from a British gentleman scientist

It really started when we saw this meme. Our clothes are black and as a creative you constantly work with different tools: combination, deconstruction and one is to take something to the extreme. So it just clicked and we said why not try it?

BarelyRunning2 karma

Is it not true that Sniptanium is actually the blackest substance known to man?

gabrielbln1 karma

And there I thought i heard all memetic references around that subject

MassNukes2 karma

I'm guessing this absorbs heat from the sun like crazy making it basically unwearable in the sun?

gabrielbln7 karma

No, actually not at all. At our first iAmA I also concluded this would be the case, but in fact heat (infrared) waves are not being absorbed. So there is no big difference to any other black shirt.

Fun fact, we also made a shirt that only heats up like a white shirt. The effect is really astonishing

xela882 karma

Am I crazy or are there clearly reflections all over the t-shirt?

gabrielbln1 karma

Yes, you do get some reflections. Not many, but due to the forest-like structure, the effect is getting less from some angles

Mxnada2 karma

Does it have increased protection for UV-Sunlight?

edit: färbt es ab und wenn ja wie stark fränkelt man danach?? ;)

gabrielbln2 karma

Ich habe keine Angst, dass es abfärbt. Zumindest nicht so viel, wie dass der Fränkische Dialekt auf mich abfärbt

RPDRNick2 karma

They say wearing black is slimming. So if this is the blackest t-shirt on the market, how much skinnier will it make me?

gabrielbln1 karma

About 40% thinner

Waytwhat2 karma

On your website under the viper black section, two of the photos are of a long sleeve shirt, and the rest are short sleeve. Do we have the option of a long sleeve version?

gabrielbln3 karma

Yes, you need to open the pull down size menue

AlexatRF212 karma

How is this compared to VantaBlack?

gabrielbln1 karma

Vantablack is a lot blacker. If I'd turn a Vantablack cube in front of your eyes, you would only see the outlines change. It looks really freaky and is hard to process. We are the next best thing, though

Myselfmiandi2 karma

How does it handle washing? What's the life of the shirt?

gabrielbln2 karma

We are recommending hand wash. But since its a synthetic, it's very sturdy. Hundreds of washes

TheContraPro1 karma

How dark is your humor?

gabrielbln3 karma

I think this is really funny.

TheContraPro1 karma

Nice, germans, unfortunately there some blind ones that can’t get in joy of your invention. Do you know how to call them? A Not See

gabrielbln1 karma

But then they already experience it in a much more immersive way. I'll show myself out...