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Review: Koyono BlackCoat-T shirt (English version)

Door Roel van der Vegte Klik op de plaatjes voor een vergrote versie
Publicatiedatum: 10 oktober 2004

A T-shirt with a zipper and two compartments for your mobile phone and pda or other valuable items

If you only wear the BlackCoat-T, the filled compartments stand out

Under a shirt it's much less obtrusive, and that's how it's meant to be

Undo a shirtbutton, open the zipper and you can reach your gear

Summary: gadgets, shirt and a BlackCoat-T to hide your gadgets
Koyono is a company that offers clothes for people who like gadgets. Like they say themselves: Geniuses, Artists, & Innovators: sounds like Guy!, in which GAI derives from the Japanese character gai. This should indicate the things that differ, and Koyono designs clothing for people who do not mind attracting attention. The main idea of all their clothing is that you should be able to carry your pda, mobile phone, ipod and other indispensable stuff invisibly with you wherever you want to go. The new BlackCoat-T shirt allows you to carry two devices invicibly, as long as you wear other clothing, like a shirt, on top of it. A nice idea, so a review sample was ordered and delivered without any hassle. See it being put into practice here.

The BlackCoat-T

At first sight, The BlackCoat-T looks like a normal T-shirt. However, the zipper (especially my white shirt with red zipper) centered at the front attracts attention. It gives access to two compartments on the sides. These compartments are large enough for things such as a cell phone, MP3 player or a Tungsten|T3 in an aluminium case. Concluding: most small devices should fit. The shirts are made of a stout kind of cotton, and available in black or white with a red zipper, but Koyono is working on a model with a zipper having the same color as the shirt. You have to pay for the quality, because a BlackCoat-T costs US$ 35,- (five pieces cost US$ 125,- in a multi-color bundle). Of course cost of transmission is added. Since Koyono does not have any dealers in Europe except one in Italy, that is another US$ 13,00 regardless of the number of shirts. That is a total of € 39,00 for one shirt or € 112,35 for five shirts, which boils down to € 22,47 for one shirt.

Usage of the BlackCoat-T

Imagine you normally hold your cell phone in your left hand. Then it is convenient to put it in the compartment on the right. Open the zipper, put the cell phone in and push it downwards until it is at the bottom. To retrieve it it is better to use both hands. You push the cell phone up with your right hand, and with your left hand you retrieve it through the opened zipper. The opening is fairly tight, so going in with your hand is less practical, but Koyono explains this as follows:
"The passageway opening is the optimum size that allows for most digital devices to pass through it, while leaving enough height for a pocket on the sides. As simple as it may seem, if you increase the size of the passageway, you decrease the height of the pocket. This is one of the trickiest aspects of the shirt that took several iterations to get the shirt where it is today."
The shirt is designed stoutly, but it still warps a little due to the weight of a device. That is the reason why it is better to wear a shirt on top of it. The zipper can be reached by opening the right button, so you can access the compartments with your devices, whithout showing that you are carrying anything with you, and that could be convenient.

Other Koyono products

The BlackCoat-T is the newest clothing with special compartments. Koyono also offers the slimmy, which they claim to be the smallest purse available; the BlackCoat Titanium, a lightweight rain-coat with compartments, and the BlackCoat Classic, a jacket with a removable bodywarmer with 11 coat-pockets, including a special magazine compartment. So there are enough possibilities.
Koyono is looking for dealerships in the Netherlands. Go to their website for their contact information.


If you’re a follower of fashion and do not mind to stand out from the crowd, then the BlackCoat-T is a striking shirt for unstrikingly carrying small stuff, like your cell phone, pda, credit cards, some money, MP3 player, etc. Unfortunately there’s no dealer in The Netherlands yet, so including the shipping cost, this is an expensive shirt, but wearing this will show your individuality.

Open to improvement

  • zipper and opening could be bigger, although Koyono declares that this design works best;
  • besides black or white with a red zipper, a less conspicious model would be nice, Koyono is working on a model with a zipper in the same color as the shirt;
  • shipping cost for one shirt is a bit high for delivery to the Netherlands, but this is a flat fee, regardless of the number of shirts.


  • carry your gadgets strikingly unstriking;
  • well-designed piece of clothing;
  • under a shirt it's very usable and even less obtrusive.


  • Company: Koyono
  • Product: BlackCoat-T shirt
  • Available colors: black or white with a red zipper
    and very soon a model with a zipper in the same color as the shirt and also a range of new colors
  • Available sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra large, XX large
  • Price: US$ 35,00 + US$ 13,00 delivery costs, that's about € 39,00
    The delivery cost is a flat fee, regardless of the number of shirts
    A multi-color bundle of five shirts costs US$ 125,00 + US$ 13,00 which boils down to € 22,47 for one shirt.


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