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.
From Bathing Gowns to Tankinis: The Evolution of the Swimsuit
guest post by Issy Lovett
Four in 10 Americans planned to take a family vacation in 2019, meaning that if those numbers are anything like last year, swimwear will continue to be on the minds of many who plan to hit the beach in 2020. However, while there are many options today, such as gender-neutral suits to the classic bikini and everything in between, it didn’t use to be this way. In fact, before swimsuits, many simply swam in the nude - over the years, swimwear has gone from completely conservative to totally risque in the process — not to mention generated some unique and innovative options along the way, too.
The first swimsuits - bathing gowns of the 1800s
While the first actual swimsuits were established back in the 1800's, they were far from what we all know today as swimwear. This is because the swimsuits of the 1800's consisted of long, black gowns known as ‘bathing gowns’. Bathing gowns consisted of stockings, bloomers, and drawers, with the intention of providing full and modest coverage for women. Oftentimes made of wool (as it tended to not soak up as much water as cotton), the skirts of bathing gowns were sometimes even weighted at the hems in order to prevent the skirt from floating up while in the water. While women’s swimsuits might seem extreme, men’s suits in the 1880's weren’t much better. Also made from wool, men’s suits were similar to the undergarments of the time, and was quite heavy when wet. Such suits made it difficult to actually swim, though over time swimwear evolved to become more streamlined and comfortable.
A turning point
In the late 1800's and early 1900's, swimsuits took a turning point in history, as more skin was bared in the new century. In the late 1800s', accessories like bathing shoes were common and were used to prevent cuts from shells or broken glass on the beach. Bathing coats also became a staple for many, and while not nearly as protective as the bathing gowns, the coats (often long-sleeved and made of silk) provided protection until one was ready to get into the water.
In the 1910's, bathing suits began to get shorter and more form-fitting, with men wearing tank suits and women wearing sailor-inspired trends - though that didn’t mean it was necessarily socially acceptable to wear to the beach. In fact, swimsuit regulations were put in place at beaches across the United States, and throughout the early 1900's, swimwear that wasn’t considered appropriate, or was too revealing, could actually get you arrested. In fact, one Australian swimmer by the name Annette Kellerman was arrested and charged with indecent exposure in 1907 for wearing a knee-length suit that left her neck, legs, and arms exposed.
The introduction of more modern styles
A swimwear classic, the modern bikini was finally introduced in 1946 by french engineer Louis Reard, and went on to gain wide acceptance from Western society. Many other modern styles were brought to life throughout the later 1900's as well — in the '40s, swimwear for women began to evolve into little dress-like styles, while the '60s saw smaller and tighter suits. In the '70s, even more risque styles became popular, such as cut-out suits, thongs, and string bikinis — along with bold patterns and colors to match. And, in the '90s, the hit show Baywatch inspired suit styles that focused on lower necklines and high leg cuts. However, it’s thanks to the evolution of swimsuits throughout the late 1900s and early 2000s that eventually led to the innovation of today’s gender-neutral options.
Innovation at it’s finest
Throughout the decades, swimwear has seen many innovative styles and forms. For example, the 2000's brought some innovation with the spin on the classic bikini known as the ‘tankini’ — a tank-top-like top with traditional bikini bottoms. Swimwear today has evolved to bring options like a wide range of sizes for different body types, and gender-neutral swimwear that everyone can enjoy while still feeling comfortable. Because of these innovations in the swimwear industry, beachgoers everywhere bring a broad variety of styles across the board, with everything from vintage suits to classic bikinis constantly trending and in style — though perhaps it’s all thanks to swimwear of the late 1900s.
Cutout suits and the especially daring styles of the '70s and '80s also brought significant innovation to the table, and even more so with bold and bright daring patterns. In fact, swimwear of the late 1900s was more daring than ever before - bringing confidence to many. This is potentially the reason why suits today widely represent suits of the past and are often available in several colors and patterns - not to mention styles. With that said, it’s clear that swimwear of the past plays a major role in today’s hottest looks.
From conservative bathing gowns to risque revealing thongs, it’s evident that swimsuits have heavily evolved throughout history to match the styles of the times. Without such evolution and style risks taken, we wouldn’t have today’s innovative and all-inclusive options that we all know and love.
Wondering what Outplay compression top level would work best for you?
With several different levels of compression available, how do you know which one would be best for you?
This is a question we get a lot and it's a hard question to answer because it all depends on what you want to accomplish with the compression and how you want your Outplay gear to look and feel on you. Most of all, it's about what will make YOU feel your best and most comfortable.
Outplay compression tops are available in: no compression, low compression, high compression, and super.
Depending on how the top is made and what materials are used, the compression level is different.
|No compression - the tops we offer with no compression are like regular bathing suits or sports tops. Their cuts are androgynous and gender inclusive but they are made in a variety of traditional fabrics used for swimwear or sportswear. They don't have any extra support in them or any additional materials that can create any type of compression over the chest or torso.|
You can try our racerback full coverage top like the Flatriver with no compression for this look.
|Low compression - the tops offered in low compression have a special mesh material in the front. This mesh material is placed between the outer layer of fabric and the lining and it stretches differently than the inner and outer layers of fabric mentioned. This special mesh fabric creates some compression only from the front as it doesn't allow the traditional stretch material on the outside to stretch as much as it would on its own. This creates a hold on the front portion of the top.|
High compression - the tops offered in high compression have this special mesh material in both the front and the back and through out the top. When the top fits nice and snug, this special material between the outer layer of fabric and the lining, restricts the stretch of the top enough that it creates a strong hold on your body, hence creating a feeling of compression.
|Super Compression - this level of compression is only offered on the Flatsea S right now. Thats where the S in the name comes from. The Flatsea S has the same mesh material in the front and the back, like the high compression tops and it also has a stronger mesh material only over the chest area to give it even more compressing force over the chest. This option is the strongest hold we have at the moment, that allows you to still move and be active in for long periods of time without causing internal or physical issues. Because the fabrics are constricted in order to create the compression, it's not the easiest top to put on but once it's on your body and it fits nice and snug, it will compression your chest very well.|
You can read more about how we made the Flatsea S here on our blog.
Outplay Flatsea S
In all Outplay compression tops currently available, the compressing mesh material is found throughout the entire top evenly, so it would compress your chest as well as your stomach. Of course, all bodies are different so how and how much it compresses your stomach and chest depends on your personal experience and shape. It also depends on the size and cut of the top you choose as well.
You can find different levels of compression offered on our swimwear tops as well as our sportswear tops. Outplay compression levels are the same regardless of them being swimwear or sportswear and most of them (not all) can be used for either one as well. So going from the pool to the gym means you don't need to change in some cases.
Please remember our compression tops are not binders. Depending on the size and fit you choose, they can serve very closely to a binder. But because the materials we use are made to stretch and chosen for you to be able to move, swim, and be active in freely and comfortably, they are never going to be or hold the same as a traditional chest binder.
Always check our size chart to find the size that would best fit you.
What is fashion sustainability and how do we at Outplay play our part.
The industry is changing though. Some might say not fast enough and others see a light at the end of the tunnel as change is happening. And it's happening at every level. Those who don't change will be left behind as the consumer is more educated everyday and cares more about where their clothes came from, who made it, and what it's made of.
Fashion sustainability is a growing movement in the fashion industry. It's a process of fostering real change in the fashion industry all around. Moving the fashion industry towards greater ecological integrity and social concern. And a great deal of innovation is going into crafting lower-impact fabrics.
So what makes a fashion brand a sustainable brand? Making sustainable clothing means the brand is contributing to the well-being of planet Earth by producing garments that are made from environmentally-friendly materials as well as minimizing waste (materials and water) throughout the entire process.
Making sure those in the produce each garment are paid fair living wages, forced child labor isn't being used, and everyone works in safe and clean environments. It also includes minimal exposure to chemicals that can harm workers as well as the end consumer later wearing the garment. How do we do that and still deliver a great quality product? Technology, and a lot of integrity and heart.
Wearing a garment for just nine months longer could diminish its environmental impacts by 20–30%.
Sustainable fashion isn't biggest outlet, fast fashion. It isn't cheap fashion either. But knowing no one or nothing was hurt, forced or destroyed in the making of the quality garment you can wear for a very long time is so much more valuable. Wearing something that was made by a child forced to work under horrific conditions, will last only a couple of washes, and later end up in a mountain of garbage somewhere for decades is the sad alternative. There are small changes you can make today. Think about investing in higher-quality clothing. Wear them more often and hold onto them for longer. This is the not-so-secret weapon for combatting the carbon footprint from your garments. Wearing a garment for just nine months longer could diminish its environmental impacts by 20–30%.
At Outplay we keep all of this very present with the design and production of each and every product we offer. We only work with the best factories and we visit them often. It's important to us we get to know the people making each and every one of our products. Our packaging is made out of recycled/recyclable plastics, or environmentally friendly fabrics. We work with amazing people who are constantly looking for ways to incorporate greener and more sustainable materials into our production. Our fabrics are digitally printed in order to avoid water waste and made with environmentally friendly textiles.
There is still so much to do in the fashion industry. So many more steps to take but we're in it for the long haul. For example, switching to recycled polyester fabric can help to reduce the carbon emissions. Recycled polyester releases half to a quarter of the emissions of virgin polyester. As we find more and better ways to create and make great quality clothing that is good for you and won't harm our planet, we'll bring them to you. And of course, we'll let you know what we've done to make it a bit better than before.