Former US firefighter launches fire-resistant apparel company

February 22, 2024 - United States Of America

Embarking on a personal mission to supply firefighters with safe, convenient, more affordable uniforms, Florida Federal Firefighter/EMT-turned-entrepreneur Sean Conant has announced the launch of a new line of fire-resistant clothing: FILO Apparel.

"At FILO apparel, our goal is to make dressing for the job easier for firefighters," said FILO co-founder and vice president of sales Sean Conant, who has served as a firefighter and first responder for 18 years. "The company was born out of frustration when shopping for my own uniforms. My annual uniform stipend barely covered a couple pairs of pants and a shirt, and I had to wait a month or more for them to arrive. Then they had to be tailored to fit correctly. I decided our first responders deserve better."

Conant partnered with long-time friend Dan McLaughlin to create a hassle-free uniform brand that puts firefighters first. FILO stands for ‘First In, Last Out’, a familiar firefighter creed signifying every first responder's commitment to risk their lives to save others.

FILO Apparel's direct-to-consumer uniforms cost up to 56 per cent less, on average, than conventional firefighter uniform suppliers. FILO also offers free shipping, faster delivery times, free inseam tailoring for pants, and customisable name tapes and badge holders, the company said in a press release.

FILO specialises in PFAS-free Nomex fire station pants, shirts and shorts for both men and women. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, is a group of more than 10,000 synthetic, indestructible chemicals found in some Nomex products and they are extremely hazardous. Studies show exposure to PFAS can result in liver damage, thyroid disease, developmental issues, reduced fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression, and cancer.

"Firefighters have enough to worry about on the job; they shouldn't have to wonder if their uniforms are going to create debilitating health issues," Conant said. "As we were sourcing materials and developing our manufacturing operations, it was extremely important that we use safe, PFAS-free Nomex."

Notably, FILO's line of women's fire-resistant pants and shirts are among its most popular items, as women firefighters search for alternatives to the boxy, ill-fitting styles of conventional brands that design with men in mind.

"When I tell you these are the best women's Nomex pants I've tried on, I mean it," said Jackie Krych, a firefighter/paramedic in Ohio. "I've been really struggling to find a fit that looks professional but feminine, and these pants meet both of those needs! I was able to comfortably sit, squat, crawl, and move in the FILO Nomex which I couldn't do in the previous brands I've tried."