Looking for a GREAT sportswear designer?

What’s important when you look for a performance sportswear designer?

We believe the most important aspect to any designer, is their production knowledge. You need to look past the pretty CAD drawings and understand what they know about sportswear production. If a sportswear designer has little or no knowledge of how sportswear is manufactured and is not actively involved in the production, then how can they really understand the design phase.

Sure, Pretty CAD’s look great and may get the look of the garment across, but without in-depth knowledge of each stage of production, then all they are creating is a CAD that directs the look.

We have been designing and producing high performance sportswear since 1997 and it’s the production phase that allows us to really understand each process of manufacture and what is and isn’t possible.

Understanding how the factories machines work also allows us the opportunity to push new concepts and ideas that haven’t been created before.

We also believe a sportswear designer needs to understand fibres as these create the performance aspect of every sports garment. Fibres are like the ingredients of a delicious cake. Get them right and the garment will perform and offer the athlete a real benefit. Get them wrong and the garment is little use to the athlete.

This knowledge of fibres and their performance characteristics is vital as it determines which fabrics are selected for each design. We see so many brands launch product that they claim to offer fantastic performance but the fabrics they have chosen actually work against the requirements of the sport. The brand then hoodwinks consumers by smothering them with techno marketing blurb to blind them with poorly researched stats or phrases that sound promising but offer very little.

If you look at some of the worlds greatest designers and product creators, they fully understand how the whole product works. Look at Gordan Murray, Adrian Newey, Steve Jobs or James Dyson, all pioneers in the design and production of superior product and all with in-depth knowledge of how to produce their product. They fully understand each component, its performance and how it relates to every other component and its only when you understand this can you tweak and push boundaries that will ultimately end up with something unique and superior.

Our approach is identical to these great designers, being that we visit the factories and understand how the process works and their abilities. We understand fibres and how they perform and often develop our own bespoke materials when off the shelf fabrics are not good enough and we stay involved from concept until finished production so we can sign off the development at every stage and make sure the concept is never diluted.

 

Not all sportswear designers are equal

We design and engineer performance sportswear by first creating a list of obstacles and problems we need to solve to produce the best garments possible.

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.