Hammies Short 2.0
After nearly a year of development, we are supremely stoked to announce an entirely redesigned short: Hammies Short 2.0.
The short version is that the new short features a new stretch corduroy, true-to-size fit, richer colors, and some nice things like branded snap and dye-matched zipper!
A GIF is worth a thousand words...
New stretch corduroy
A big segment of our customers are women rollerskaters who want a form-fitting short but also want to do backflips in bowls...
...so we thought that a slight stretch in the fabric could be a killer feature and a significant upgrade to the original vintage short (e.g. OP short).
The new fabric is 98% cotton and 2% elastic, so it breathes and stretches with you. The new fabric is also 8-wale vs. 6-wale, so the wale (or grooves) are slightly more narrow than our previous short and consistent with the vintage short.
We improve the fit with every production run, but this time around we worked with professional fit models to dial in the sizing. The shorts are now truly true-to-size. The former fit models were Sarah and I. After working with our fit models, we discovered that Sarah is more of a size 24 than 26 and I am closer to a size 31 than 32. The result is these shorts are slightly more spacious than our previous shorts. If you were in between sizes before, you should be safe to size down. If a women's 28 was a bit too snug before, it should fit just right now.
We made all of the Hammies classic colors (gray, sand, white, blue, green, yellow, red, and purple) as well as two-tones of those colors.
The colors are richer and should hold their color in the wash better than before. A few colors have changed a bit:
The green is more of a kelly green vs. a leafy green.
The yellow is more of a sunflower yellow vs. lemon yellow.
The purple is more of a true purple vs. raspberry purple.
We still have some old shorts in the Fall (camel, forest green, indigo, magenta, rust), powder (powder blue, powder pink), and orange colors left in the new Sale section of the website.
Our snaps are now branded!
We introduced metal zippers in our last batch which was an upgrade to the plastic zippers of the original vintage short. The new short has dye-matched zippers meaning that the zipper tape matches the color of the short.
The new short is made in China. We understand that this may come as a disappointment to some of you so we would like to share the story behind this decision.
Hammies was born a little over 2 years ago. We started manufacturing our shorts at a small, family-run factory in Orange County. We sourced our corduroy and dyed it at small, family-run dye houses in Downtown and East LA. It was a great experience to do production domestically because we were involved in every step of the process. However, as demand for the Hammies grew, we started to feel the growing pains of domestic production...
First, we exhausted our original corduroy source and were left with very few domestic options. We realized that we needed a secure fabric source in order to deliver a consistent product and that meant importing fabric directly from China, India, Turkey, or one of the other few countries that mills corduroy. We continued producing Hammies with the remaining corduroy in LA and started looking for a long-term fabric supplier.
Second, we very quickly outgrew our domestic factory. The primary advantage of manufacturing in the USA is that minimums are low so it was great for us in the beginning. The primary disadvantage is not cost so much as quality. The cost of manufacturing in China is about $3 less per short than in California. However, the quality of our China-made shorts is really tangible when you compare them side-by-side with our California-made shorts. The most obvious difference is fabric. Our China-made fabric is custom milled to have the fullest wales, softest feel, and a slight stretch. The most important difference for us is consistency. Our California factory couldn't deliver product to our specifications. The result is that we would receive men's shorts with a 2" inseam vs. 4" or shorts with a button/tack vs. snap (despite us supplying the factory with thousands of snaps!).
In addition to not delivering a consistent product, our California factory didn't commit to timelines so we never knew exactly when we would restock product.
Third, we managed production ourselves. Our California factory was only a cut-and-sew factory, so we were responsible for sourcing fabric and trim, dying fabric, and delivering all of the materials to our factory. Inevitably, something would go wrong:
- Fabric loss during dye
- Dye complications
- Fabric loss during cutting
- Defects during sewing
It became very clear to us that we needed a production partner who would manage the entire production process and guarantee a high standard of quality. We needed a professional, full-package factory.
We had two options: We could either import fabric from China and produce the shorts in LA or we could produce the shorts in China and import finished product. We explored the full-package factory options in LA and found only one that could meet our needs. This factory required that we provide our own fabric source so we started working with a sourcing company to help us locate the right fabric in China. During this process, we were introduced to two Chinese factories who both generously developed a proto or sample for us. When we compared the China-made protos with the California-made proto, one China-made proto clearly stood out from the rest. We considered the trade-offs of our products being "made in China" vs. being lesser quality. We looked into the specific Chinese factory that would be producing Hammies and found that it was certified in all the important global standards for environmental and social responsibility (ISO 9001 for product quality standards, ISO 14001 for environmental standards, SA 8000 for social responsibility standards, and OHSAS 18001 for health and safety standards). As we learned more, we realized that some of the most conscientious brands, like Patagonia, manufacture their products in China but do so using the most low-impact materials and processes. The reality is that the world's largest garment industry and most skilled labor force is in China. In the interest of producing the highest quality product, we decided to work with this Chinese factory for this production run and we are very happy with the results.
We are committed to making the highest quality product with the lowest impact possible. We will share much more on this topic in future posts.
The new short represents a coming-of-age for Hammies so we redesigned our website reflect that.