1 Sep 2013
I recently noticed that the gi brand Killer Bee Kimonos offers a custom design and fit service on their website. This seems like the perfect option for people like me who are constantly moaning about ill-fitting off the shelf gis. The option of custom embroidered patches was the icing on the cake that I was not able to not resist. The website ordering process was a marvel too...
I first heard about Killer Bee Kimonos around two years ago. At the time I spoke with the owner Jesse about working on a collaborative design project but for various reasons it didn't happen. I was curious about the name Killer Bee and Jesse explained that it was inspired by his love of apiculture. He also explained that he was not keen on the overly aggressive juiced out bee with a frowny face, hence why his gis and tees did not contain such imagery. This custom gi order meant I could jump on the chance to design an overly aggressive juiced out bee all for myself :)
The home page of the Killer Bee website is an explosion of boxes, slideshows, offers and links.
The custom gi landing page explains the process in detail and offers photographic examples of the embroidery. I must admit I'm not really attracted to the text and font options, they seem cheesy to me plus on one example, the kerning is all over the place. What excited me however was the ability to upload my own graphics which is explained by clicking on the REQUEST PAGE.
The actual custom gi request order form is an interactive page that gives the user a visible guide to their custom gi. As I clicked the various colour options, I was able to see an illustrated example of what it would look like (see next picture). Although simple, I did find it thrilling to be able to do this and couldn't resist the temptation to try out every single colour option available. There are for example 13 different colour stitching options and there is even the option for an alternative coloured collar (not a cool look in my opinion).
This is what I opted for:-
I figured I would go for the full Killer Bee look with a black gi and yellow/orange contrast stitching and trim. I chose the Ligustica as my weave of choice and I also examined the very comprehensive size chart to determine the ideal sleeve lengths and jacket height. I noticed their standard A1 would mean the sleeves would end up being too short but with the custom option, I was able to order the same gi but with longer arms....brilliant!
After ordering jacket options, the next tab to click brought up the pant options. I chose ripstop pants as the cotton pants might seem a bit heavy for my liking.
The next tab allowed me to upload my own graphics. In actual fact I chose to email them as vector files over to Jesse as a backup. The options indicate that the maximum size for embroidery is 14 inches - which is pretty large. The firey bee at the top of this page was my back design and I also tweaked it for an embroidered patch on the front of the jacket (only two designs are allowed).
After filling in all my personal details on the next tab, it was time to press submit. Nothing seemed to happen so as backup, I sent off an email to Jesse just to make sure he got all my details.
The custom gi order takes up to 60-75 days but can be as soon as 45 days. Jesse takes all the custom orders submitted over the month and sends them to his factory at the end of the month.
UPDATE: Jesse just emailed me to mention that he is offering a 15% discount for custom orders. The code is CUSTOM15