Enter The Arena is an ongoing journal series capturing the WYLD1 brand journey. We invite you to join us and hope you enjoy the ride as much as we have!

CHAPTER 2: THE MAKING OF A SHIRT

We left off with how we established our brand foundation and began the transition into the product design and development phase.

The idea of developing an apparel line seems simple. The reality is more complex once you get into the details of developing proprietary designs, materials, fit and processes. The apparel development eco-system often involves multiple independent parties with different specialties who reside in various areas of the world. Identifying parties that align with your brand values and needs is one challenge. Another is being able to create a new partnership as a startup brand without significant capital and established networks. When you throw in a strict requirement of sustainability, the partnership field rapidly shrinks and the competition gets stiff.

We smartly decided to find a product partner with strong and successful startup experience, one who had already formed an established global vertical apparel development and logistics network; had known expertise in product innovation and sustainability; and could accelerate our product development process. This led us to The S Group based out of Portland, owned and led by Gary Peck. Mr. Peck is a seasoned apparel leader who helped establish and build successful apparel divisions with Nike and Adidas. After leaving Adidas in 2000, Mr. Peck formed The S Group to help brands better connect design DNA to brand story, implement product innovation and build effective product eco-systems.  

The S Group has been an invaluable partner. They quickly embraced our brand objectives and position, and helped further refine our brand DNA with a powerful connection to product. Below are the WYLD1 Guiding Principles we established with The S Group:

  • Innovative and purposeful performance features and benefits 
  • Sustainable-rooted design, materials, production and packaging
  • World's finest materials technically blended using innovative fabric science
  • Clean, timeless designs with sharp modern details
  • High-quality construction engineered with technical precision

Under these Guiding Principles we developed our initial design direction, including product design concepts and the color and graphic treatments seen below.

 

Click here to read more on our complete design philosophy.

Another key area we spent ample time on with The S Group was establishing our +Impact Lab, where we focused on developing innovative sustainable performance blends that used the latest in fabric science, and could outperform synthetic materials and reduce environmental impact.  

Sportswear and Activewear are dominated by man made synthetic materials (primarily poly petroleum-derived fabrics from the 1950s) with many negative environmental impacts, including higher levels of CO2 output, multiple centuries lifespan and high micro-plastic shedding. These synthetic materials are preferred by many apparel brands because they are durable and provide good performance benefits but are also low-cost, readily available and can be cost-effectively planned and managed.  

As mentioned in our previous chapter, we felt that offering sustainable materials capable of delivering performance equal or better to synthetics was critical to steering consumer behavior in favor of sustainable apparel options. So, we hand selected unique sustainable materials with special performance properties that could be technically blended with cutting-edge fabric science partners. The result of these efforts are four innovative sustainable performance fabrics we are incorporating into all of our products. 

Thermal Drive™

A performance blend of graphene and spandex. Graphene is one of the thinnest, strongest and lightest materials known; and a fantastic conductor of heat at room temperature delivering amplified thermal and moisture wicking benefits.

Merino Sport™

A remarkable blend of merino wool and Innergy nylon. Merino is an elite performance with thermal and moisture wicking benefits. Innergy is functionalized with bio minerals that boost peripheral microcirculation and thermo comfort levels.

Dynamic Motion™

A technical blend of Solotex and continuous filament recycled polyester with 4 way machine stretch. Solotex has a unique plant-derived molecular fiber structure with soft touch, stretch, lightweight, and moisture wicking abilities.

POSITIVE ENERGY™

An innovative blend of natural SeaCell™, Supima cotton and spandex. SeaCell™ uses a patented process that embeds seaweed within the cotton fiber enhancing comfort, and providing anti-odor and skin enrichment benefits.

 

We were making strong progress on the brand and product front. The next steps were tightening up all the product components to begin prototyping and wear testing, finalizing production partners, and preparing the brand and business for launch. 

This brings us back to another quote from Enter The Arena Chapter 1: "Starting a new brand isn't for the faint of heart. Passion is critical, as you are certain to face an endless stream of challenges through every stage and dimension, known and unknown."

We were making great progress, until a large unforeseeable challenge emerged...the global Pandemic.  

Stay tuned for Enter The Arena Chapter 3 to learn  how the next stage of the WYLD1 brand journey unfolded. Until then, get out and play.

-The WYLD1 Team