Without any prior experience in the clothing industry, we launched a brand of athletic wear because we saw a desperate need for it. Here are 3 interesting things we learned about how clothes are made.
1) BARELY ANY FABRIC IS STILL MADE IN PENNSYLVANIA -- OR THE U.S.
Pennsylvania used to be an industry leader for textile mills. In the mid- to late-1800s, thousands of textile factories and plants were spread throughout the state, with Philadelphia being a hotbed of sartorial activity. From lace to knitwear to men’s suiting, Philly used to drip fabric. By the beginning of the twentieth century, nearly 700 different textile companies employing 60,000 workers were in operation in Philadelphia. In fact, Philly’s production prowess was so renowned the city was known as the “Workshop of the World.”
Today, nearly all these mills and plants have shut down. A few quality places remain, but it is hard to compete with overseas markets where materials can be produced at much cheaper costs.
ATK Apparel was made in Pennsylvania—and so are our shorts. Our high-quality fabric is produced in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, and is made in factories where employees are compensated with fair wages.
2) THE EXACT SAME PATTERN FOR A PIECE OF CLOTHING CAN FIT MUCH DIFFERENTLY DEPENDING ON THE TYPE OF FABRIC USED.
First, let’s start with a definition. In sewing and fashion design, a pattern is the template from which the parts of a garment are traced onto fabric before being cut out and assembled.
We thought a pattern for shorts calling for a 20-inch outseam would produce 20-inch outseam shorts. This is not usually the case. Different fabrics have different pull and elasticity, and the exact same pattern can produce one pair of shorts that are too tight and another which are too baggy.
3) EVERYBODY’S BODY IS UNIQUE.
To get the sizing correct for our shorts, we did fittings with all different body types. Whether thick or thin, round or flat, we measured and studied the ways our shorts fit diverse bodies.
Surprisingly, even two people of the exact same height and weight can have vastly different fits for a pair of shorts. For example, take two individuals who tried on our medium shorts. They were both 5’7” and 150 pounds. On one of the individuals, the fit was perfect, while on the other we discovered the shorts were a tad long. How? Very simply, one individual had a relatively long torso and short legs while the other gentleman had the opposite proportions.
We believe our work has paid off. We figured out the trick for developing a pair of shorts that fit the greatest number of individuals properly. At ATK Apparel, we remove the guesswork from finding clothes that fit.