Just wanted to post a quick update of gis that I have had a hand in designing and that are available to buy right now (bar the Ronin).
Before I do however, some people have asked, why am I able to design gis for several different companies who are, in effect, rivals of each other? Another couple comments I received were over the question of how my role as a designer of gis affects my impartiality when it comes to gi reviews? In the words of one person who rather unflatteringly posted somewhere: Meerkatsu has sold out!
Let me respond to the first question; it's quite simple, I tout myself as a freelance illustrator so freelance means I get to work for whoever wishes to pay me. So far I've been very fortunate to work with a bunch of great companies - all of whom approached me with the full knowledge that I also work for other fightwear companies. It hasn't been a problem so far and I'm hopeful it is a situation that continues to grow. If there was a conflict of interest, they haven't mentioned it to me. I guess I am the Cozy Powell of the fightwear design world (Cozy is a famous rock drummer who has played for a ridiculous number of different bands).
On the second issue of impartiality, well, there's not much I can do if someone distrusts my gi reviews. I write them as honestly as I can. I always disclose my full involvement. I don't have to and I am not accountable to anyone, but I feel it is important to state these things so the reader can at least understand the circumstances in which I write the reviews. Does my freelance status affect the positivity or negativity of my gi reviews? I personally don't think so - regular readers will note that I back up my commentary with hard stats. If a gi is shorter than other gis, I show the figures to prove it etc. I have even critiqued my own products so I'm even hard on the stuff that I design myself! People have limited money to spend on these things, and many of these products are expensive. I'm not going to take the piss with my writeups. If something sucks, I will state it. It's up to you then to make your mind up based on the review and the facts. It also helps to check out other bloggers' reviews too.
Anyway, on to the round up:
1. HONEY BADGER FIGHTWEAR GI
This baby was launched today at 3pm and I must say, here was a bit of a mad rush! Several hundred were sold within a couple of hours. There are still plenty left so here are the sellers in case you still fancy one:
UK: Tatami Fightwear
USA: Budovideos, MMAOutlet, NHBGear, martialartssupplies
CANADA: Fighters Market
JAPAN: BT Fight Gear
Some independent reviews from: Gi Reviews, BJJ Gear Junkie, Grappling Addict.
2. Red Dragon Kimono
I first revealed this gi here. It was designed in honour of it being Year of the Chinese Dragon. The good news is these are here and available now both here in the UK and now, in the USA!
You can buy it here from MMAOutlet in the USA
Or here in the UK (and ROW) from Strike Fightwear.
3. Raptor Gi
I first revealed the Black Eagle Raptor Gi here and soon after it was made into a pre-order special. Since then, Black Eagle ordered a few more to hold as stock so they are still available. In my biased opinion, I honestly believe it is one of the most beautiful gis on the market right now. Maybe that's why the ladies version (Raptora) has been selling so well!
You can buy it here on the Black Eagle website.
4. Ronin Samurai Gi
This is not quite out yet, but here's a sneaky preview. I drew the 'Ronin' typelogo and the sleeve 'kamon' patch and placed all the elements together for Ronin. So it's roughly 50-60% my work. Not sure when this is out but stay tuned on the Ronin Brand Facebook for news.
If you are one of the lucky purchasers of these gis, I just want to say THANK YOU!! My dual role here might be rather unusual, possibly unique! But when it comes to gi reports - I make sure my damndest to present facts and a clear analysis in as objective manner as I can. On the flipside, then it comes to fightwear design, I place equal amounts of energy and emphasis on the quality of the design. It's my mission to design the most kickass original, fresh and funky fightwear designs on the planet. I just hope you all like them and continue to give me the opportunity to make them :)