When setting out to develop this tee, there were a lot of options laid before us as to what fibers we wanted to use, each with its own pros and cons. The design intentions of the tee were to make sure that we created something with an incredibly soft hand feel, but also maintained robustness required out of a men’s tee based on daily wear and tear. We also wanted it to maintain some sort of moisture wicking properties that would help keep its wearer cool. This lead us to a 50/50 Blend of Supima® Cotton and Lenzing MicroModal®.
What is it? Why is it so fancy?
Supima® is a non-profit organization in the United States that has set out to work with domestic pima cotton growers to provide the best quality pima cotton in the world. It accounts for only 1% for the total world’s supply of cotton and 85% of it is grown in California. Supima® cotton contains a longer staple averaging about 1.5 inches where as normal cotton is only around 1 inch in staple length. Because of the longer staple, Supima® cotton is subject to less breakage within the fibers, less pilling, retains color better and is structurally stronger than any normal cotton. Cotton provides a natural feel that you can’t find within any other fiber and it reacts in the garment dye process much differently than anything else. You can learn more at www.supima.com.
Lenzing is an international group based out of Austria whom are known in the fiber world for their Veocel™ and Tencel™ branded fibers and harvesting in an eco-friendly and sustainable manner. Modal is a cellulose based fiber part of the rayon family but harvested specifically from Beechwood trees. Modal is an amazing fiber when used in textiles today. You might have noticed it being used in lots of underwear in the marketplace. This is because Modal® is incredibly soft, hypoallergenic and anti-microbial. More amazing properties to MicroModal® are that it is shrink and wrinkle resistant, which makes any basic tee that much better. Lastly, it retains color pigments very well, so it won’t fade as much over time and can survive many washes to come. With MicroModal® we are taking these amazing properties from Modal® and going one step further by taking the absolute finest grounds of beech trees and making a much more silkier and denser helping create incredible, buttery soft tees.
Nailing the fit is the most difficult part of this project. Addressing the fit for half the world’s population can’t be solved with 1 size fits all. There are people whom are short, tall, stocky, and slim. We worked with a fit model to get a fit based on an athletic and slim body. From there, we sent 36 styles to a few lucky followers and reworked the fittings based on some in field comments. In the future, we will create multiple slim and relaxed fits within a size range. Below are some action shots of the development.
There are a couple ways that fabric can be dyed in the textile world. Specifically, the garment dye used on our tees is called reactive dye. The dye house is a well-respected facility in downtown Los Angeles that has been family owned for a couple generations. They specialize in a lot of novelty dyes, and it’s very rare that we get to venture into their color lab. Fortunately, we were able to sneak in and snag some pictures.
A great thing about garment dying is that a smaller number of pieces can be dyed in each wash, allowing us to test a lot of different colors. Below are the colors we submitted to the lab to be part of the first 36 prototypes.
Of course there will be black and white, but we absolutely love color. Since we are quickly moving our way into winter, we chose some earthier tones that had a pastel wash which would work well as layering pieces. Let us know what you think about the colors in the comments below!
We are excited to share our process, and we just have so much to share! In a later post we will detail the second half of the production process for these basic tees. We hope you are excited about these as much as we are. You can find us on the Modern Cotton subreddit. See you in the next one!
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