More than a couple years ago, women starting asking us "why don't you make vests?" And over these years, I think it is safe to say that many hundreds of people have specifically asked us this question. And over these same years, we have been trying and trying to manufacture a women's vest that we will be proud to sell. And FINALLY! We are very proud of these new vests!
An Impossible Task
It has been a very long journey that was far from simple. We are only a 2-person family/company and we are not clothing designers. And we live in Canada and our manufacturer lives in Nepal. And it takes 4-8 weeks for every version to be tested, tried on, altered via Facebook Messenger and photographs, sewn and shipped so we can test the next version. And did you know? Patterns are insanely difficult to wrap your head around!
After 2 years and no less than 8 versions of prototypes in 6 different sizes, we still were stuck: we were not happy with the vests we had and we did not know what to do next. The saying goes "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
For our customers and so that J4J could continue to sponsor girls' educations, we really wanted to make this happen. But we were exhibiting the signs of insanity; we needed a different way to proceed.
Enter the Unicorn
Through several steps of connections, we were introduced to an amazing pattern maker in spring of 2018 named Darja who lives here in Vancouver.
She listened to our ideas for what we wanted in a vest and she translated these ideas into a set of 2D pattern pieces that - when assembled - resulted in the look and fit we had been dreaming about. Basically, she is a unicorn who can perform magic!
With her fancy 3D pattern program, we were able to see what our vest might look like on a computer avatar, "Liz #2".
Within a month, we had our very first prototype and it was almost perfect! After getting loads of friends and neighbours (thank you!!!) to try on our first samples, we made a few design edits and mid-summer we received a complete size set of our first "almost samples".
It took a lot of remote communication with Rajan in Nepal so that he and his crew could not only find a place to print these paper patterns, but then manufacture what our new patterns intended. There were many details to work out that we never thought of along the way, from Arm-hole elastic tension to Zipper length and everything in between. Get it? A to Z! ;)
And now, after 2 years, 11 versions of prototypes (and more grey hair haha!), we have new measurement charts, photographs of our new vests, and our size samples have just today arrived from Nepal, just in the nick of time for our 2018/19 season. These vests are a fitted, flattering cut for women of all sizes between XXS and XXL and they come either with or without a hood.
And that, our friends, is how the vest was won! After years of trying, we are so excited to finally offer beautiful women's vests!
Now all YOU need to do is choose from this year's 53 colours!
[Edit Oct 10] You can see and try on these vests in person at our October Pop-Ups in North Vancouver, Kelowna, Courtenay, Port McNeill and Victoria (to be confirmed). And because we are an online shop, they are available now with our 100% We Want You to Love Your Vest guarantee.
(All product photography by Emilia Shevchenko)