7 Sep 2013
Cruz Combat are a US company that specialise in short-run custom fightwear. They are able to print any design using dye sublimation onto rashguards, fight shorts, vale tudo shorts and patches. I sampled their rashguard service using my own illustration of a 'Hell Sloth' (inspired by my instructor, who is nick-named the 'Sloth').
One of the most common questions I get asked is where one can go to print a small run of rashguards. Usually the people who require this service only need a small handful of unit numbers or even as low as a single item - eg as a walk out top for MMA fighters. Cruz Combat fulfils this niche demand by offering custom fightwear printing. To my knowledge, they can produce a single item or many multiples. Their website openly discloses all the prices and includes a template where users are shown where the graphics can be printed.
After examining the website I sent an email and a chap called Ryan quickly answered back. After a short discussion about the service, he sent me full Illustrator vector files for the rashguard template with short sleeves.
As an Illustrator nut, it was straightforward for me to use the template. Most of the freelance rashguard assignments I get there is no known template so I have to make one up and hope the factory can make it as close to my design as possible. But not in this case, with the Cruz Combat template, every millimetre can be accounted for!
For most clients, Cruz Combat can offer to perform the laying out and design work as long as the client supplies reasonably decent quality graphics and logos.
One single short sleeve custom rashguard costs $59 for the basic version and $69 for the full custom. The only difference I see between the two is the ability to apply graphics down the side rib panels. My Hell Sloth custom rashie was based on the basic version. Shipping cost me roughly $50 including a payment I had to make to customs.
There was a slight delay to the usual turn around time as Ryan explained he had some equipment problems that needed fixing. In the end, I received my rashguard about a month after first placing the order. When the package arrived, I was surprised to see a ton of other stuff included as well (which I think was for my benefit and NOT a normal part of every order.)
The rashguard is made from 92% polyester and 8% spandex and firmly flatlock stitched in place. Branding tags are stitched into the seam and overall the rashguard looks as professionally made as any off-the-shelf brand.
Washing instructions and size details are printed on the inside collar:
Print quality is super good. Colour appear nicely saturated and every detail is picked out t a very high resolution:
Sleeves could do with tapering or some kind of elastic around the opening. Mine seemed a little loose:
The side rib panels feature a mesh fabric:
This is the back design:
The rashguard has a lot of additional details:
Dye sublimated artwork is first printed onto a gigantic sheet of special heat transfer paper (bottom) which is then adhered to the fabric and then the backing paper removed. It means the artwork has to be mirrored when printed onto the paper.
The rashguard quality is awesome and feels super comfy to wear. Sadly I think size Medium is too big for me and I should have opted for a size small as it is a little loose fitting on me. Nevertheless, it's a great item and Cruz Combat did an amazing job!
Cruz Combat was able to manufacture a single one-off custom rashguard exactly to my design requirements. It is the perfect choice for a fighter looking for a walk-out top or the nogi fighter who needs sponsor logos added onto his rash top. The basic cost is more than reasonable but do take into account shipping and customs if ordering from abroad.
UPDATE: I was so pleased with the way my custom Hell Sloth came out that I have decided to get it made into a full production own-brand product for my store. Stay tuned for updates.