11 Steps to Manufacture Unique Sportswear Products

LVLS Sportswear custom branded waistband samples

At LVLS, we pride ourselves on designing and producing unique sportswear products that allow athletes to stand out in a crowd without compromising comfort. We are extremely diligent and detailed when it comes to perfecting our designs before they even launch on our website. Our 11-step prototyping process allows us to iteratively improve each product until it meets our high standards for quality, fit, and style. Let’s take a quick look at how we bring our designs to life and continue to push the boundaries of what traditional sportswear should look like.

Step 1: Photoshop Mockup Designs

Photoshop Mockup Single Leg Tights

The prototyping process begins with our design team mocking up initial concepts in Adobe Photoshop. This gives our factory a general idea of what the garment will look like in terms of color, shape, and styling details. The Photoshop file serves as a starting point that will be refined throughout this process.

Step 2: Tech Pack Creation

Next, we prepare detailed technical specification sheets known as tech packs that provide all the specs the factory will need to construct the garments. These include size measurements, materials, stitching patterns, logo details, and more. The other important feature of the tech pack is a detailed measurement delta to notify the factory how far off from specific specifications they are allowed to be. If a hip measurement is determined to be 100 cm and the delta is 0.5 cm, but the prototype arrives at 101 cm, we are able to critique the factory for delivering a product out of scope. The tech pack ensures the early prototypes closely match our vision for the final product. 

Step 3: Fabric Swatch Review

We then receive fabric swatches from the factory so we can see, feel, and select the exact materials we want used on the final product. It’s important to note that making a final decision just based on feel won’t cut it in today’s sportswear industry - athletes value 4-way stretch construction, sweat wicking, and breathable materials - so having a keen eye on the details of each swatch is also paramount to the look and function of the product.

Step 4: Custom Waistband Design and Selection

An important trademark of the LVLS brand is our distinctive waistband logo and design (shown in the featured image above). We don’t believe in slapping a logo on our products in a strategic location, turning athletes into walking advertisements and potentially running them into sponsorship conflicts. As a result, we customize our game-worn products in locations that can be easily covered up, yet still provide incredible value to performance and comfort. At this stage, we create custom Adobe Illustrator files to provide our factory with the dimension specifications for our logo to be placed appropriately on the waistband. The factory also sends sample waistbands to help gauge our final decisions on feel, stretch, and material.

Step 5: Version One Prototype Review

This is an exciting stage because all the hard work that went into the designs, fabric swatches, and tech pack are finally brought to life. It’s important to note that at this point this is just a working prototype, so any custom design specifications aren’t yet applied to the garment, but it’s still exciting to feel and try on this first draft. We assess the fit, comfort, and attention to detail because if we let a small issue go now, it will more than likely get exponentially worse in bulk production.

Step 6: Fitting Adjustments

If any design or fitting adjustments are needed for the initial sample, we request them from the factory with detailed imagery and update the tech pack specifications accordingly. This cross-collaboration ensures the next round of prototypes will be even closer to our ultimate goal as we inch closer to a consumer ready product.

Step 7: Custom Heat Press Tag Design

Heat Press Tag Design

It was an easy and early decision internally to never release products with traditional, uncomfortable tags attached. Not only do tags typically make it a few seconds after unboxing before they’re cut off, but they’re also incredibly unappealing and annoying. We design custom heat press tags to replace those traditional sewn-in tags with Adobe Illustrator, which is then sent to the factory to deliver a cleaner, more premium look and feel for our customers.

Step 8: Preproduction Review

This stage is round two of prototype reviews. It’s at this stage that we receive the second draft of our prototypes with both our custom waistband, heat press tag, and heat seal patch. After thoroughly evaluating these samples, we provide detailed, and often hyper-critical feedback to finalize any last tweaks.

Step 9: Full Skew Review

Full Skew Review Single Leg Tights

At this advanced stage, we receive samples in all sizes to review the entire product line and make sure there aren’t any irregularities. We check for consistency across sizing and make any adjustments to dial in the perfect fit.

Step 10: Determine Quantities For Bulk Order

After finalizing the product design and manufacturing, we strategically determine production quantities for each skew to align with our sales forecasts. Will more athletes want white pairs instead of black? Will more baseball and football players order an Ace Compression Shirt with the right sleeve longer or the left? Which sizes will be most popular? All these important projections ensure we order enough but avoid excessive quantities.

Step 11: Bulk Order

The final step is placing the bulk order for mass production and beginning to promote the new product across our marketing channels! This iterative prototyping process allows us to perfect every detail to create products that truly stand out and feel incredible on our customers.

This multi-step prototyping process enables us to bring innovative sportswear designs from concept to creation. By collaborating closely with our factory partners and thoroughly refining each product, we're able to deliver athletic apparel that turns some heads, feels great, and performs at the highest level for our customers. This entire journey from Photoshop concept to final bulk order is filled with passion, craftsmanship, and attention to detail. 

Whether you’re thinking of starting your own sportswear company or just curious how our unique products are brought to life, it’s important to note that in a highly competitive market, details matter but creativity can set you apart.

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