The Mesh Collection - our first design collaboration
The Mesh Collection
Our First Design Collaboration
The Outplay Mesh Collection in Collaboration with Dan Owens-Reid
It took a while to get everything to this point where we're ready to share this with the world but it has been a fun year of bringing Dan's concept to life.
About a little over a year ago Dan (creator and CEO of Radimo) mentioned they wanted to do something different and Dan was such a fan of Outplay already, they wanted to do something different and special with us. So we came up with the idea of a collaboration; let's design a capsule collection that fits into Outplay's style and combine it with what Dan loves the most and feels most comfortable in. We started with the most basic thing, what did Dan like wearing? What did Dan feel the most comfortable in and the answer was easy: mesh. The capsule collection would be centered around mesh. Once we picked out the right mesh fabric and the colors, we started working on design and then the sample making.
The design process was fun and easy, Dan is so easy to work with. The sketches didn't take long and then we were off to the factory to get the first samples made.
First we needed to take our sketches and create patterns to be able to cut the pieces in the right shapes and sizes.
Then we took these patterns and cut our first pieces once we picked the perfect colors and type of mesh we wanted to use.
Then the sample making began. In the hands of incredibly talented seamstresses, they began to assemble each piece, brining our sketches to life.
We paid really close attention to every detail. Everything was measured several times and every seam was meticulously checked and tested.
After everything was sewn, we tested everything on several different bodies, different sizes, different shapes; checking the sizing, the cuts, and the fabrics.
The mesh was not easy to work with, it stretches very differently than the solid spandex-mix fabrics and once we added the compression material we had to test it all out again as well.
We made sure everything was cut right and fit right. How each piece fits the body is the most important part of this process. We may come up with the best design ever but if it doesn't fit right, nothing else matters. So we have to do a ton of testing for each piece and for each compression level.
At the end of all of it, we came up with 3 great looking and fitting mesh tops we were very proud to share with everyone.
But now we had to come up with names for each one so we went back to Dan and asked about their favorite places/beaches, those places that were meaningful and held a special place in their heart.
Dan came up with three names that were just perfect.
They had so much meaning behind them, there was a story behind each one that meant so much to Dan and now the collaboration had even more of Dan in it with these names.
"I grew up kind of all over, lived in 11 cities before I was 9 years old (those are just the ones i can remember). I say I grew up in SC because it's the longest we stayed in one place, most of memeories are of SC, and my dad is still there - that's where I visit when I go home. Chicago is where I say I did my real growing up. In 2008, at 21 years old I moved there to pursue all my comedy dreams. Being on my own for the first time, being a queer kid in a big city for the first time, figuring out how to pay bills, rent an apartment, film a web-series, start a band, everything I wanted to do I just figured out how to do on my own. Chicago is one of my favorite cities in the world. I could walk to Montrose Beach from my first apartment and it's still one of the chillest ones to take a walk on when I go back to visit. I miss it every day. "
"My home is on Isle of Palms and right across a little bridge is Sullivan's Island - this is kind of the marker, like I get to Sullivan's and I am like OK I DON'T HAVE TO STOP TO PEE I'LL BE HOME IN TEN MINUTES. It's like the ultimate going-home-landmark. It's not a beach that I spent much time on as a kid, but my first crush lived on Sullivan's and my favorite job was on Sullivan's. There's a kid I've known since they were 7 years old - they're like 50 now or something I have no idea how kid ages work. REGARDLESS, they're from my hometown, I'm close with their whole family, and we've kept up with each other a bit over the years. They sent me a message a few years ago to be like 'omg you're wearing a bow tie I love it" and started to explore dressing more masculine. And then a year or so ago a message saying that I really inspired them to figure out their identity. They started going by Sullivan and it kind of made the island and the name mean even more to me. So, there's a lot wrapped up in this one."
"When I need a break from city life, I drive 30 mins down the road and find a place on Venice beach that's a little bare, park my car, and walk onto the hot sand, swim in the cold water, smell the sun, watch the sailboats, and chill. It's the cheapest way to enjoy myself in LA. My gf and I will look for sea shells, dive into the waves, splash each other, I'll dig holes and bury her legs, it's like a first date all over again. The fact that we always manage to find a chill, quiet, area on one of the most popular beaches in the US... it feels like a sign. Like we're meant to be resting and enjoying what the earth has to offer. One time I was reading about anxiety as it relates to my astrological chart, it said "when you need a break, go to the water" - so I went to Venice."
A few words from Dan about the process of creating this capsule collection with us,
"My moon is in Capricorn, which means the emotional part of me is ruled by business. Sometimes, when I achieve something I've always wanted, it feels like nothing. It just happens and I move on. I don't even take the time to recognize the reality of what I've done, or how I've reached one of my major goals. There's a major part of me too, that has such imposter syndrome about everything I'm doing - my brand, my identity, publishing a book, managing artists - I'm kind of like... shouldn't someone else be doing this? Isn't there someone better, more qualified, someone who knows what they're doing and what they're talking about? Maybe I should back out, maybe I should recommend someone else, I don't know. Something I'm working on right now is really focusing on all that I've done. When I'm doubting myself so much, it's hard to be grateful. That's a part of why it's taken me so long to get you these descriptions. I was kind of like "but I didn't do anything" - when in reality, I just expressed to you guys what I wanted to see and you made it happen. It's borderline unbelievable to me. The fact that there is a cropped, mesh swim top in the world... that is life altering for me. It's the swimsuit I've always wanted. When I found Outplay I was already blown away by the opportunity to be on the beach and feel comfortable. I hadn't been in a swimsuit in maybe 5 years. I felt so uncomfortable with my body and being on display and having my body projected to the world as feminine. I like feeling femme sometimes, but I like for it to be my choice to present that way. Swimwear has never given me the choice.. until Outplay.
I can't express how much this brand changed my life and put me on the path to feeling confident in my body, and understanding my identity. It was like I could finally be myself on the beach in PUBLIC. The fact that I get to represent your brand is one of the things I'm most proud of, every time I'm talking about Radimo I bring up as an example. I love giving more people access to your swimwear. When we decided to design together I had no idea what that would look like or mean, but I knew I wanted to do it. I came to you with a vague idea - I can't really picture things in my head so it wasnt until you showed me the first draft of the products that I realized it was possible to design something. haha. I don't know how else to explain that, but it was a pretty overwhelming experience.