Sportswear designers need to address a design as a list of problems that need to be resolved.
Designing sportswear is a simple checklist of obstacles. We always start with a blank page and compile a list of the requirements of the athlete. Do they need it to be waterproof, incredibly breathable, durable, soft hand, quiet, lightweight, contoured and tailored,multifunctional, quick drying, fast wicking, thermo regulating, warm or cooling.
Once you have determined the function, we then start to look at fibres rather than fabric and determine the best mix of fibres suitable to answer all of these obstacles. We then start to look for the fabric and if nothing exists we develop our own bespoke fabric through a network of mills around the world.
We then start to compile a new checklist detailing the features required. We only add features needed for the sport, for instance we don’t add hand pockets if you don’t put hands in pockets when doing the sport. They add cost and restrict movement or breathability.
Once we have a list of features and understand which fabrics we will use, we then start to place the features in the relevant position on the garment for maximum benefit to the user. Simple stuff but so many designers don’t do this and end up with features that don’t work in practice.
We then start to construct the garment with seamlines that enable an erganomic fit to allow the wearer maximum reach and movement while allowing the garment to be manufactured easily and cost effectively and without limiting the performance.
We end up with a product that really works. Something that is a class leader and soon becomes recognised as “Best in Class” because we have engineered this garment rather than simply designed something that looks great.
We are able to engineer rather than simple design because we have a wealth of experience in sportswear design, development and production. Most of our clients require us to manage the whole process from design through to production of their range and this allows us to fully understand the garment construction. It gives us the knowledge to understand what is possible and what’s not and also the implications of each feature.
Many sportswear designers just design and never get involved in the development or production and this really stifles the engineering of the product. If you don’t understand how the garment is going to be made or how mixing different fibres together will effect the overall performance of the garment, how on earth can you design something innovative, something that pushes the boundaries and develop a game-changer.
We see so many products on the market that have obviously been designed without any engineering involved. Running jackets made completely from reflective material so you can be seen but the fabric does not breath and you end up a sweaty mess or outdoor jackets with pockets that sit under rucksack straps so you cannot access them.
When we complete our designs we present one design per style. There is no option B or alternative to choose from as this is always weaker than the original. If the design is engineered to perfection then improvements simply cannot be made.
This is how we work and our reputation is built on award winning product rather than fancy drawings and flashy presentations that distract from the real design, the product.