F++ is a US made clothing company geared towards rock climbers. Read more
This project's funding goal was not reached on February 18, 2013.
About this project
My name is Gabe, I am a rock climber and the owner of Fplusplus, a
U.S. based clothing company. My clothing and products are geared
towards rock climbers, but can be used and worn by everyone. All of my
products are made in the U.S.A.
The CTS shirt is meant for casual wear, it's not meant to wear while climbing. If my Kickstarter campaign is successful, my next project will be an active-wear shirt. I wanted to start off with something that I haven't seen before. Rock climbers don't really have a clothing style dedicated to them that isn't active-wear.
The shipping cost for each pledge has been included, unless
you are outside of the U.S.
For years I thought about creating a unique, American-made, clothing line for active people, but I didn’t do anything about it. One day after coming home from another long day of work at my IT job, I made the decision to actually start a clothing company.
The creation of my launch shirt
I really like many of the unique shirt designs available in the UK and in the Netherlands, which prompted me to sketch out some of my own design ideas. I knew I wanted my shirt to be masculine, athletic, and unique, but without being too over-the-top, so I sketched several versions of my shirt design until I was satisfied. My first shirt is unique because various cuts of colored cloth are pieced together in an asymmetrical design to create the shirt. In contrast, most clothing companies buy pre-made, solid-colored shirts from China and iron graphic decals onto them.
I am definitely influenced by some of the amazing character designs in video games. The problem with video game character designs is that a lot of the clothing is over-the-top, and wouldn’t be worn by your average person.
I found a manufacturer based in California. He has over 30 years of experience in the clothing business and has taught me a lot about the process. When I initially brought my design to him, he turned me down. I told him that I wanted to make the shirt by piecing fabric together as opposed to just modifying a shirt that was pre-made. He told me that this just wasn't done and that I would have to be crazy to continue. He also told me that this would be an expensive and difficult project, especially if I used 100% cotton fabric. I convinced him to work with me, because I wanted to do this right. It was all or nothing for me.
Made in the U.S.
I wanted this shirt to be made in the U.S. because so many companies manufacture their products overseas to increase their profits. I was surprised by how many companies that I associated as being “all American,” are really just making their stuff in China. It would be much cheaper for me to make my products overseas, but I believe in supporting American workers. Everything associated with the F++ company, and in this Kickstarter campaign, is made in the U.S.
I found a U.S. based company that manufactures their fabric in the U.S. I spoke to them about weaving a heavier weight fabric made from 100% cotton that was soft and comfortable to wear. This high quality fabric is expensive and was specially woven per my specifications. I also made sure that the fabric was pre-shrunk. This is pricey because you lose a lot of yardage due to shrinkage, but it is worth it because you know the shirt will maintain its integrity after you wash it. Many companies cut corners when choosing fabric. I wanted my shirt to be made out of a high quality fabric that would maintain its original size and fit.
The Dyeing Process
After the fabric was woven and preshrunk, I had to get it dyed. I sent the yardage to a dyeing company and worked with them on dye samples and color matching. I had to go with this route, since this shirt is assembled from different pieces of colored fabric.
The pattern was the most challenging part of making this shirt. Since the fabric is so soft, it was very difficult to cut and stitch the shirt without stretching the material. After a long period of back and forth with different shirt prototypes, my manufacturer was able to successfully draft a pattern that worked. Along the way, the design lines of the shirt were changed. For example, the yellow fabric on the sleeve initially had too many seams. The easiest way to remedy this problem was to cut that piece of the shirt with a laser cutter. The other issue was the circle on the shoulder area of the shirt. Circular cuts of fabric are naturally stretchy and warp easily when stitched. After several failed prototypes, the manufacturer suggested stabilizing the circle with interfacing to make it sturdier, which solved the problem.
This shirt has a slight athletic fit to it and will fit slim, or athletic, body types very well. Since my business focuses on rock climbers, the shoulders have a little extra room. The shirts come in small, medium, and large.
I wanted to place my logo on the shirt without making it the primary focus, so I placed it on the back, above the shoulder blades. The F from the logo matches the yellow on the sleeve. The plus signs are a deeper orange version of the yellow. The care label is printed directly on the inside of the shirt, on the opposite side of the logo. I wanted this shirt to be as comfortable as possible, so itchy tags were not an option.
The Shirt Name
I was originally going to name the first shirt after a rock-climbing move. I changed my mind after my brother, Creighton Thurl Stalnaker, passed away this summer. My first shirt is named the "CTS shirt" after his initials. He was 27 years old when he died from an infection in his heart and lungs.
Other products in the F++ line include a custom-designed chalk bag as well as a custom-designed 32oz BPA-free water bottle. For my Kickstarter campaign, I have obtained sponsorship from the Garuka Bar company and from the Climb On! Bar company.
In addition, I have worked with Terry Lee Renner, an artisan who will hand make custom-designed knives that are unique to the F++ Kickstarter campaign.
The music used in the F++ kickstarter video is "I dunno" by grapes
His portfolio is located here: http://ccmixter.org/files/grapes/16626
Risks and challenges
I have put quite a bit of my own money and many years into this project and left my job in IT to work on this business full time. The shirts are almost done, but everything else is ready. It has been a very long road and I am confident in my products. Once I am funded I will move forward on fulfilling orders. I have a few plans in place for fulfillment and am confident that everything will go smoothly.
Where in the process am I?
The designs for my water bottles, chalk bags and shirts have been completed. The shirts are currently in the final stages of the manufacturing process. The water bottles and chalk bags are ready to go. The knives will be custom-made to order and may take up to a year to complete.
What I'm trying to accomplish:
I'm using this campaign to launch my first shirt design, so I can grow and expand my new business. I have several ideas for active wear that I would like to work on next.
What does your support do?
Your support will help me to expand my company. My goal is to make an honest living while simultaneously supporting US workers. All of my clothing and products will be made exclusively in the USA.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
- (45 days)