In late 2015, I set out to make a sweat suit inspired by the basketball memories of my youth. Back then my knowledge of the production process was minimal (at best).
Armed with a rudimentary sketch – I taught myself Adobe Illustrator just a few days prior from the website Lynda – along with a list of addresses I’d found using simple Google searches of boilerplate terms like Apparel Manufacturing LA or Garment ProductionLos Angeles, I started cold calling on factories.
Every production manager at every factory turned me down. They’d say things like: “No, we can’t do that. I mean we can but it’s just going to cost you like $100 per unit.” Or, “I know you’re new to this and so you don’t know enough about garment construction, but let me tell you, this is impossible.” Or most often, “We would do it, but not if it has to be reversible.”
I was adamant. It had to be reversible, like the practice jerseys and shorts of my youth.
Finally, after 6 months and on the verge of giving up, I came upon a factory that offered to give it a shot. They even quoted a reasonable price. But the first sample they produced was a disaster. The fabric, made from leftover fleece they had on hand and which we agreed to use in order to save money, felt and looked completely off. The fit also came out all wrong. It somehow managed to be both too big and too small at the same time (at the top, the waist and hip was as tight as leggings while the bottom flared out at the ankles, like bell-bottom jeans). It was a mess.
Over the next few years, we steadily tweaked the sweat suit improving it with each new iteration. Some adjustments would focus on fit, while others concentrated on the fabric and materials. Each new sample would improve by 3 or 4%, until finally we arrived at the garment you are holding in your hands today.
— Luke Tadashi, Founder/Creative Director