What Inspired the Unisex Ideal Heavyweight Crew
Style revolutions don’t just happen overnight. In fact, Next Level Apparel’s reimagined tubular tee, the Unisex Ideal Heavyweight Crew, was years in the making. To understand the impact of this game-changing garment and to properly explain its key selling points, it’s important to look back at the inspiration behind it.
“We saw that there was a big gap between our 100% cotton and CVC fabrics and your entry-level tubular shirt,” explains Eric Simsolo, director of business development for Next Level Apparel. “We wanted to get rid of that negative stigma of what a tubular design is and show a different version of that type of construction.”
“Nowadays, with the resurgence of surf/skate wear and workwear … people like that boxy fit. With the 1800, what we’re launching, we feel like you’re not getting something that doesn’t fit right. It’s the tubular shirt that everyone is familiar with the idea of, but it’s the transformation of it. It’s a new version of it.”
That meant reinventing the tubular tee, reengineering how it was made to elevate the two-piece construction. Unlike the traditional side seam process, this would require cutting the front of the sleeve separately from the back of the sleeve, creating a 3-D form from a flat, 2-D piece of fabric. It would also require precision calculations and planning in the dyeing process to keep knit shrinkage from impacting the fit.
Caius Olowu, director of design and pre-production elaborates further on how Next Level Apparel was able to achieve such a high-quality tee while keeping costs low. “We brought in a knit expert, we have a fabric specialist, we have our own in-house panel cutter. By bringing all of these people in-house and working together, we were able to control the process.”
“Our final product is going to revolutionize the tubular tee,” he adds. “It’s not just a skate and surf piece, it’s a lifestyle piece now.”