15 Jun 2011

Apparel review: Mad Dog Custom Designed Rash Guard

Mad Dog are a fightwear company based in Poland that specialise in limited run custom designed MMA and grappling clothing. The advantage of using their service is that they can produce bespoke fightwear in low numbers which contrasts with a conventional overseas factory who tend to only accept large run orders. I tried out the Mad Dog service by submitting my own vector artwork. The resulting product was very high quality and well constructed albeit with a few design-alignment issues. Overall, an ideal option for academies looking to obtain high quality fightwear branded with their own logos.

Ordering and Service
The Mad Dog website appears to be written entirely in Polish with no English option. Despite this, it is fairly easy and intuitive to navigate. My contact wrote perfectly good English in his emailed replies and answered all my questions well. You can also contact the owner via Facebook. The website contains prices but according to the owner, custom designed fightwear is priced on a project by project basis.

In order to test the custom printing rash guard service I submitted this artwork (above), plus my Chinese signature stamp logo along with the company rash guard template where I indicated the placement of my artwork. I was not given the option of omitting the Mad Dog logos but then seeing as this was a free one-off I did not mind the mutual advertising. For full commercial orders I guess that the Mad Dog logo placement can be discussed at time of ordering.

Interestingly I was also offered the option of applying the design onto Mad Dog's other apparel items, which included fight shorts, wrestling tights (spats), patches and, if memory serves right, rash guard material t-shirts (looser than actual rash guards). I decided not to be greedy and stuck with the original plan to only test the rash guard out.

NOTE: Mad Dog tell me they will consider any order as long as the minimum order is 10 units (presumably of each item).

I submitted my vector art on May 10th and received the finished rash guard in the post on June 13th..so in my case the turnaround was around a month. Owner Bart tells me that this is the average, some orders take longer and some can be done in as little as a few days. Summer tends to be no-gi season with a lot of academies so demand for rash guards etc is high during this time.

Printing Results
Mad Dog use dye sublimation printing which is beneficial over other print techniques as it allows for a huge range of colours and does not peel, fade or crack over time. My vector art is a brightly coloured cartoon, but the service can also reproduce photographs, text, in fact any type of image.

I was very impressed with the way my artwork came out on the rash guard. Colours remained vibrant and the sharp vector linework was reproduced faithfully - no bleed or blurry lines. The stippling I drew on the dogskull was intentionally added to test how fine the sublimation printing detail could get. Every detail was picked up.

The only slightly annoying thing was that I misjudged the template margins and the dog is aligned a bit too low on the backside and the Meerkatsu signature stamp is diagonal - which is probably me not figuring out the sleeve template properly. If I was requesting a run of 20-30 rash guards for my academy, it would be worthwhile asking to see one prototype before commencing with the full order.

Rash guard quality
The rash guard material is constructed from 75% NYLON 20% SPANDEX 5% POLYESTER.
I like the feel of the fabric, it is soft, comfortable and stretchy. When I produced my Great British Rash Guard Review a while back, I noted that not all rash guards were alike. Some were more softer and comfier to wear than others. At the time, the Masaru rash guard stood out as my favourite and the Mad Dog rash guard is equally as comfortable.

My sample was a size SMALL.  The aperture of the head opening is a bit too small for my head size and it's a struggle to get it over my head. Once on however the body fits me perfectly.

As an aside, check out the fight shorts in the photo above. These were sent to me by my good friends at the F4 Martial Arts Academy in Arkansas. Regular readers will recall that I designed their academy logo and they have since gone on to design a whole range of academy branded figthwear. I love the way they have applied the scorpion and F4 logo! These shorts are also printed using dye sublimation.

Rash guards can undergo a lot of stress through friction, stretching, wear and tear during grappling. The key weak areas are the seams between the panels that make up the whole item. I am told that the Mad Dog rash guard is held together with a very tough dual stitching system - overlock stitching at first and then on the second seam, flatlock stitching. The result is a very securely constructed garment.

Mad Dog are an excellent choice if you want a limited run of fightwear designed for your academy (or other bespoke application). It was easy to create my own design, using the template provided - although I would probably prefer a second stab at it for better artwork alignment - the quibble is minor compared to the excellent service and high quality of product.

If you can negotiate a unit cost that is workable for your budget, then it seems a more obvious choice compared to large scale production companies who may offer cheaper unit cost per item, but require huge unit numbers per order.


Their website:  www.maddog.com.pl

This review represents my own opinions. I am not an expert in textiles or clothing etc, just a regular BJJ. I consider myself independent and impartial - I am not sponsored by any one company nor do I endorse any one brand. I have a close dialogue with a large number of companies, some of whom I collaborate with on various projects that are unconnected with this review. If you have any questions about this review, please feel free to email me (see About Me) or post a comment below. I hope this review was helpful.


About the Author


Author & Artist

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


Andy Bennett said...


is the 10 item minimum run in one size? or can will ordering 3 in each size (eg S, M, L. XL) count as 12 items?


Meerkatsu said...

I don't know for sure, but I would imagine you could mix and match sizes of the same rash guard...it makes no difference to them unless your design required re-aligment when printing. Speak to Bart (linked within the review).

F4 Martial Arts said...

I love the shorts your wearing. We have really loved the logo you created for us. We have used it on everything from those shorts your wearing to t-shirts to now our own custom gi's. Getting gear made with your own logo on it is a great way to brand yourself and help get your name out there. Thanks again for wearing the shorts

Anonymous said...

mix sizes

Liam H Wandi said...

I have to say this first: first pic: is that Blue steel or Magnum? :)

Excellent review and very excited about the product!

Meerkatsu said...

Hahah, definitely Blue Steel. Ooooo

André said...

Just to put things in perspective, what would the normal price for 10 rashie run such as the one reviewed?

Meerkatsu said...

sorry Andre, the owner declined to give me exact figures. I guess it is up for negotiation. I can't imagine it would be more expensive than buying off the peg, but certainly not as cheap as the mass-produced high uit ones from Pakistan/China.

Bart said...


Custom rashguard shortsleeve : 104PLN
Custom rashguard longsleeve : 109PLN
Custom spats : 100PLN
Custom long spats : 110PLN

1euro =3,8PLN

Minimum 10pcs from one model (mix sizes)

Bart said...


Custom rashguard shortsleeve : 104PLN
Custom rashguard longsleeve : 109PLN
Custom spats : 100PLN
Custom long spats : 110PLN

1euro =3,8PLN

Minimum 10pcs from one model (mix sizes)

André said...

Still cheaper than branded stuff... that's pretty good!

AndrewWrites said...

As always, great review... and a VERY interesting topic! I can't imagine anyone who reads your blog that hasn't at some point entertained the idea of designing some of their own gear.

b71 said...

Looking at your template your placed your meerkat sleeve log upside down and central. it look like they rotated it 135 degrees and offset it from centre. nice rashguards though.

Bart said...

logo on the sleeve has been positioned correctly.



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