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  • Writer's picturelevi

Creating a Fitness Brand 3 - The first T-Shirt.

The Inspired oversized T-shirt. The first physical piece of the brand to hit the shelves. To decide on what style of t-shirt I was going to release first, I asked you all on my social media. then I delivered.

 

I wasn't sure what had better demand between a fitted or oversized t-shirt, colours, styles etc. So I asked people who follow me, who are also generally in the target market, which style they preferred. I suppose you can see this as my first piece of product market research.


I know a lot of people who start brands tend to buy pre-made blanks and print logos on them. But NG has to be more than a logo brand, the fitting is apart of the brand.

 

Making the initial decisions.


The brand is small, the waters haven't been tested, investing in a full collection release from nothing seemed a little too risky. So I've gone with a steady drip feed of releases, so I can adapt to things that may not work as well as I wanted a lot easier. So this means my first release was just one t-shirt style. But, what kind of t-shirt?


Like with every social interaction, the first impression means a lot. So I had to make a good first impression, with a style that people would want. So I did a series of polls through the Instagram page to see what people were generally interested in.


I learnt that the oversized style had a lot of interest. So I researched what made an oversized t-shirt the way it is and added these features to my own design. And no, It's not just a few sizes up, which I thought originally.


As for the colours, Black was a given. I don't think any of NG's core pieces of clothing won't come in black. White was also another given, but wearing white in the gym is actually pretty risky so I went for an off-white colour, called Ivory.

A fitness couple wearing the black inspired oversized t-shirt

As for the last colour, I originally wanted an army faded green. But when I did a poll on this, people voted against it and voted for a grey colour, so I listened. This was most likely a bad idea as this is my least selling colour. but of course, one of the three colours will fall into this category regardless.



How are oversized t-shirts made?


The actual shape of an oversized t-shirt are actually different to a normal t-shirts. Firstly, the shoulder is dropped and generally curved downwards. This means that there's more fabric running along the shoulder part of the t-shirt which will drop the sleeves lower down the arms. This gives the impression that the t-shirt is too big, but while actually fitting well.


The torso part of our oversized t-shirt isn't excessively larger than it could be. I didn't want the body to look draped on the wearer. Obviously, If you was to buy one, which would be immensely appreciated as a small brand, you could buy one a size up if you prefer to be swallowed in t-shirt. Some people like this.


The length of these t-shirts are also slightly longer fitting. Me being 6ft 3in, I can't even describe what its like wearing normal t-shirt that resemble a 3/4 cropped top. This has utility value to taller people but also has added aesthetic value to shorter people who love the oversized look.


The sleeves are actually slightly smaller than a traditional oversized (16in for XL). This was a move for a more snug arm feel. I mean, come on, who doesn't like that feeling haha. A snug arm makes the wearing feel better and bigger. when I personally train arms, I do like to feel the pump pressing against my clothes. But generally, oversized sleeves will be sized according to the body size. Which adds the the drape look.


How are these designed and made to your specification?


There's actually multiple methods for bringing your own design to reality. Some methods are more efficient (in time & resource) than others.


Software design (CAD). This was how I made my initial design concept. The good thing about this is that they will show you in real time, what your adjustments look like. They do come with cons thou. firstly, you have to learn the software and the learning curve is incredibly steep. They are also expensive to acquire. Although I've learnt the basic of this software, I think this is a job better passed onto a professional.


This method is great for accuracy. What you see, Is what you get. The software is actually very accurate to real life fitting, It's very impressive. As long as your manufacturer can use your export file type to make the cuts.


The software I used was called CLO 3D (Pictured below).

A screenshot of CLO 3D clothing design software.

(Image from ottoline CLO3D)


Blank Adjustment. This is where you source a style of t-shirt you like and note adjustments you want made to that particular design. Once you have all the adjustments needed, you simply send the t-shirt, plus the adjustments to your manufacturer(s). This is certainly the easiest method. But It may take a few sampling attempts to get it right.


These are the two methods I've used personally. I don't see any other reason to try another way. But of course, this is something you'll have to try yourself to find what works for you.


Packaging and extra thoughts.


Once you have your t-shirts, how will you package them? I actually think this is a very important part of the whole buying experience. I've rinsed YouTube and books on this topic. As you'll already know, the first impression in any interaction is incredibly important. Not only that, but packaging protects the t-shirt from the harsh realities of being thrown around by couriers.


Sourcing packaging Is fairly easy and it's relatively cheap verse the repercussions of handling damaged returns items. I personally chose frosted packaging as I believe it may have a psychological effect on the receiver. They open the poly-mailer bag to a packaged t-shirt, they can see the t-shirt (through the frosting) but they can't feel it yet. So anticipation and excitement builds up, adding positive emotions to their experience with the brand. This is the theory anyway.


If you're a customer, I'd would love to know If you felt any of these when you opened your parcel :-) you can message our page or comment below and I'll reply to you.


Conclusion.


The general process is quite straight forward. Do a little market research, learn how to design the t-shirt, use the method you find best to communicate to a manufacturer what you want, sample it, Produce it, package it for shipping. That being said, I'm not making out this is insanely easy, this is actually the easy part because you're the customer at this point. But now you've got to work to get your own customers with your own marketing.


At this point of time, I'm still working out what does and doesn't work with my own marketing. So this is most likely a blog topic for a later date.


I hope you learnt something from this blog, I keep them short and sweet, we're all busy now days. Everything I'm writing in these blogs are from my own personal experience. I have received questions about manufacturers via social media. So I think I'll touch on this subject in my next blog.


If you haven't already, you may want to subscribe to our mailing list. We do not spam, but its a direct form of communication to you, from us. At the minute, It's the only way to receive discounts on our store. We tend to send codes once every 1-2 months, plus information on future release and plans.


Until next time, have a good one.


Levi











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