It is an understatement to say that this apparel release was complicated. We started this release back in December of 2014 but because of internal debates we didn’t really hit production till August 2015. Once we started production that was a whole other nightmare in itself. We learned a lot because of this huge headache which has made ongoing apparel releases that much smoother. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
So with every apparel release, it starts with drawing, a lot of drawing! This time we came up with a bunch of inspiration to lead the overall mood of this release. Mike Spizzirri, the very talented Illustrator normally tackles all of sketching because of his very fluent and natural hand that he has. He’s been doing this for years and so far we haven’t been able to stump him yet.
Once we have a decent amount of sketches, we start to scan everything in. Then we vector the chosen scans we like which takes plenty of time in itself. In addition to the scanning we also come up with a bunch of ideas on the computer because not everything needs an organic touch. The problem with doing things on the computer is it can get out of control very very fast. What if we tweak the lines, what if we shear the entire graphic, what if there was some color, ect. ect. you get the point. We normally try to design grey scale because color can really force your opinion about a design.
Back when we were sketching, we ordered a bunch of samples to figure out what fit we liked the best and how we envision the line going. Since we are all over the place in the United States we are forced to take photos of our selves wearing everything to explain the fit. Plenty of debating happens. We also spec any tags that will be apart of the final product like sizing tags.
After most of the sketching and designing is finished, Collin, Chris & Mike do a hangout to pick what graphics they think are the best and finalize them. We always mock up the design by placing them digitally on garments. This helps us visualize the final product and determine if we need to add anything else or to scrap the design entirely.
Now that we can narrow down the line, we show the team what we are looking to produce. This time we did it in person while we were in San Francisco during our “Tilt in the bay” trip in early 2015. The meeting was held in a hotel room at midnight and went till 2am. The team normally hates it or would rock it. This normally involves us going back to the design phase and changing things. After we are confident the team will be good with it, we start producing actual products. What was suppose to be a summer drop turned into a fall/winter release.
The companies we ended up using to make the apparel turned out to be a nightmare. The hat company only had a few molds which weren’t to our liking so we were forced to have a line without hats. The people that were printing our tops ended up not following our stylesheets and placed all of our graphics in different locations. The consistency on the printing was pretty bad which left us with inventory we didn’t feel comfortable selling.
Since we have the final product, it was time to shoot photos. Jona, Dylan and Chris pack their bags for a trip to Washington D.C. to get photos of the apparel in action. Matt Mckeen was kind enough to show them around and let them crash at his pad. The hardest thing about shooting apparel for action sports is making sure the part you want to capture on the garment is visible while the rider is doing their tricks. It’s not easy at all. Also, most of the riders just want to land tricks while the photographer wants extra stuff like riding around the city.
Throughout this process, we get to test our apparel just like any other product we put our name on. Now in the final steps of rapping up the fall/winter apparel line, the last things left to do are, take product photos, retouch the photos, upload them to the website, write product descriptions, send out emails and create marketing material to go with it. Just like this lookbook. What seems like something that should be pretty simple is never simple for TILT. We work hard and don’t cut any corners.