19 Oct 2010

Gi Review: Tatami Fightwear 'Estilo' Gi

Tatami Fightwear’s new top of the range gi is an attractively presented and impressively constructed BJJ uniform that will not break the bank. It carries the same excellent cut and fabric of both the ‘Navy’ and ‘Zero G’ gis but with added styling details. It is a strong, light and comfortable gi that fitted me perfectly. I consider this gi to be extremely good value with quality and looks that rival many import brands costing twice as much.

As with all TFW gis it comes with a gi bag
The lads at Tatami Fightwear never seem to sit still. With the recent launch of their Zero G Black gi and Competition Navy gi (see my review) their new ‘Estilo Premier’ range promises to be Tatami’s show stopper item - and it sure delivers. The Estilo gi is effectively the same as the (slightly cheaper) pearl weave navy gi but includes a redesigned patch, contrast stitching and some contrast coloured trim. The jacket is exactly the same cut and fabric as the Zero G gi, but the trousers are made from heavier and thicker canvas cotton, not twill.

Size stats, measurements and other info
Tatami Fightwear are a UK company but have facilities to ship gis quickly all over the world.

The Estilo really keeps its size very well. What shrinkage there was, was proportional in all areas.

The white Estilo gi incorporates black coloured stitching throughout. It looks very nice in my opinion but one side-effect of contrast coloured stitching is that any tiny deviation or kink in the stitching process seem to stand out. It’s a minor flaw but something I have observed in other contrast-stitched gis eg the Roy Dean 'Honor' gi.

Black coloured stitching

Tatami did moot the idea of black coloured trim all the way along the bottom of the jacket skirt but reduced it to just the side vents on the final production model. I think this was a wise move, for some reason, I can’t stand black trim on white gis but on the Estilo, the trim is a neat stylish touch, without being too imposing.

Smaller 'tao' logo, double stitched shoulder patches

The styling on the trousers continues the contrast-coloured stitching theme, which is in most evidence on the reinforced knee regions and ankles. A black rope cord ties the trousers together. I personally much prefer rope cords to flat cotton cords as they stay tied together for longer and do not get lost within the hem of the trousers.

'Busy' chest patch design

Moving onto the patches, the Estilo carries on the same patch placement theme of previous Tatami Fightwear gis with chest, shoulder, back and leg patches. The corporate logo font has been modified and the ‘Tao’ symbol has been reduced in size. I personally think Tatami should go the whole hog and get rid of all the extraneous details within the patch and just have their name.

How other brands do chest patches

A simpler patch would harmonise better with the styling of the rest of the uniform. If you look at the patches of brands such as Atama, Keiko Raca, Vulkan, Koral - all of these prestige brands have a simple chest patch where the name is very prominent, but not much else.

Back embroidery

The collar is the usual thick, rubber-cored, excellent collar that previous Tatami Fightwear models have. As with the navy pearl weave gi, the material covering the collar is made from canvas cotton - which is supposed to be harder wearing than twill cotton. The contrast coloured stitching on the collar really seems to pop out.
It is slightly thicker compared to [photo below] the Vulkan Pro light gi and about the same as the Roy Dean Honor gi.

Collar thickness comparison

As with all other Tatami Fightwear gis I have tested, the Estilo is cut slightly bigger than other brands. This means I can fit quite comfortably into an A1 sized uniform, even with shrinkage taken into account. The sleeves of the A1 therefore are perfect for my long arms. The cuffs of the sleeves are reinforced with canvas fabric tape and triple stitched for extra reinforcement. The sleeves themselves are tapered and the cuffs, at 14.5 centimetres wide, are quite narrow. I like narrow cuffs but do watch that they fall within strict IBJF tournament guidelines.

Sleeve reinforcements, plus some small stitching kinks

Compared to a lot of other A1 sized gis I have tested, the Estilo (and navy pearlweave) trousers are quite long. This means that an A1 is the perfect length for me. However, I suspect that if you are comparitively short legged, then the trousers might be a tad too long for you. Check the Tatami Fightwear website for their size chart as you can now order mix and match trousers to suit your personal body dimensions.

Rope trouser cord

The trouser fabric is made from heavy duty canvas cotton which is cut quite slim. There are four belt loops and a rope drawstring cord, both features in my opinion are type of little details that indicate to me a lot of attention has been given towards the design of this uniform.

Trouser bottoms

Fit, comfort, rolling performance and dicussion
I spent the past three weeks wearing the Estilo to make sure it was fully battle tested. I can honestly say that this is Tatami's best ever gi and one of the best gis I have had the honour of wearing.

Very nice fit for me

Let me clarify why I feel this gi deserves such high acclaim. First, it fits me absolutely as perfectly as an off-the-peg gi could possibly fit me. Not an easy task when my body size flirts between being an A1 and being an A2. Many, many gis have come my way and I’ve found some aspect of the cut or size that have niggled me. But the Estilo A1 is bang on. If ever a gi was tailor made to my body dimensions, the Estilo would be it. But here’s the bad news...I have a weird body shape (long arms, short torso, skinny legs bleh!). This means the Estilo may be too long/short/narrow/wide etc for you. As mentioned before, do check my size stats above, and if you bigger than A1, check the Tatami Fightwear website for gi sizes so you can order the best fitting jacket and trouser combination for you.

Black trim on the side vent splits

The second important aspect I really like about the Estilo gi is the quality of materials used. The pearl weave fabric Tatami have used is such a great material, I really like the strength, lightness and feel of it. It manages to maintain a good level of wearer comfort (some pearl weaves can be quite rough on the skin) without losing shape (as some single and goldweaves do).

The trousers are smart too - the canvas cotton is both hard wearing and comfortable. The crispness of the material ensures they always look neat and trim. But they do feel a tad heavy and get progressively heavier as they soak up more sweat. It doesn’t bother me, but I do admit, I prefer the basic cotton twill your find on judo or karate pants. I certainly prefer them over and above the couple of rip stop trousers I have previously tested.

The final aspect worth repeating is the styling. I love the simple elegance of using black thread over a white gi. It’s so beautiful. I haven’t seen the other colour Estilo models up close so can’t comment on the black (with red contrast stitching) or blue gi (which has white contrast colours), but to me the white stands out as the best colour combination. The patches however, as discussed earlier, do spoil the effect somewhat with their busy-ness.

Getting less dorky with my belt height

The Estilo gi is Tatami Fightwear’s top of the line model. It draws style influences from many other well known ‘bling’ brands into something Tatami can call their own. In my opinion it’s an absolutely outstanding product that combines quality materials with classy styling. It is a gi that is not trying to be a copycat prestige model...it is a prestige model - equal to the likes of Atama, Koral, Keiko Raca and many other famous names. For a price of £72 (plus PP) it brings prestige gi quality to the reach of most people’s budgets.

The black Estilo modelled by Greg Creely and blue Estilo modelled by Ross Nichols

I am not sponsored by any company nor do I endorse any one brand. My views are simply my own opinion. If you like this review and found it helpful, please post a comment and tell the company too - it helps me get more reviews. Readers may also like to know that they can get a discount from Tatami Fightwear of 5% using the code 'MEERKATSU5' at checkout.

For a different opinion on the Estilo gi, check out SkinnyD's Arcanum blog review here and his bold attempt to dye it deep yellow!


About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


SkinnyD said...

Yeah! I've been waiting for this for a while. I seriously don't know how you put all these reviews together - they're a lot of work. Very nice review, as usual. I had pretty much the exact same impressions - including my preference of twill for the pants rather than canvas. It is a very smooth looking gi. It's the styleI had been looking for but unable to find until the Estilo came out.

That professional fabric softener from Dharma Trading did quite a bit to soften the trousers quite a bit for me.

Liam H Wandi said...

As always bro. Excellent review.

You're gonna have to start smiling tho :o)

The gi is gorgeous. I love the Tatami gi's for the same reasons (the fit, the material, the design) but I don't feel the chest patch takes away much. It's enough "busy" for me.

AndrewWrites said...

Nice review as always. Its no wonder some people are claiming you to be "probably the best writer currently scribing for Martial
Arts Illustrated and has done wonders in promoting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu..." etc etc!!

But seriously mate, another great review than ends with me thinking, OK THIS is my next purchase - at least until the next review!

And is that a new stripe on your purple belt, or am I a bit slow..?

Aaron said...

great great review, as always ;)

Just 1 simple question from me, if I own a Zero G Black already, should I just go for an exact size match, it fit's me pretty snug and out of the 2 Gi's I own, it's the better fitting one?

Think im going to pick up the blue estilo when the time comes,

keep these coming S :)

Meerkatsu said...

@SkinnyD, thanks for the softener tip, glad you liked the Estilo too. Judging from your photos, we're both completely different sizes, so it's interesting that one gi design (albeit totally different sizes) can fulfil our personal preferences so well.

@PTG. I do smile! they're all in the off-cuts. One day I'll compile all my goofy shots together. Wonder how the patch will evolve in their next offering (thanks to our constant nagging about it LOL!)

@Copland, hey Andrew, thanks for your comments. Yes, my instructor awarded me one stripe last month...for hanging on and refusing to give it up even though I am clearly the worst purple belt ever. HAHA.

@Aaron, you're gonna look cool in whatever TFW gi you choose I reckon...send photos!

Fish said...

Love your reviews, it has actually motivated me to do something similar.

How would you compare this to the Fushida? Other than the "issue" with the pants. It looks sharp, although I personally can't see buying another white gi, too high maintenance.

Meerkatsu said...

Hey Fish, I prefer the Estilo over the Fushida - sorry Fushida fans, but the Komodo is a tad heavier and longer than the Estilo so, splitting hairs, I would go with Estilo. However they are both outstanding uniforms and for the money, they both represent great value. Put it like this, you could so easily spend twice as much and get something half as good in my opinion.

Unknown said...

Just bought one of these based on your review, thanks for the 5% off!

Hope I like it 8o)

gingejitsu said...

I have the tatami gold weave gi and found after a few washes it shrank quite a bit, I'm wondering if the Estilo does the same??

Meerkatsu said...

gingejitsu - goldweaves will shrink, some by quite a lot. The Estilo is pearlweave and as you will note from the stats in the review, it only shrinks by a very small margin.

Clinton O'Shea said...

I'm seriously considering buying this gi, but I'm pretty strapped for cash so I'd like this to double as my judo gi as well. I'm an A2 in the Koral Light gi, which is pretty snug but fine for BJJ. I wear it to judo practise but couldn't wear it in a judo competition as it's not baggy enough. Would you say an A2 in the Estilo would be okay, or should I go up to an A3? I'm 5'9" tall (okay, short!) and weigh about 84kg, if that's any help.

Excellent review, by the way!


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