Design evolution

by Alisa Otto on Apr 01, 2022

Design evolution

This post popped up in my memories today 🙂 Just a reminder that designs TAKE TIME.  I started this summers collection way back in 2019 and with the dedication of my current team of amazing humans, that vision was finally realized this year.

3.5 years ago (after my trip to Palo Duro that was the true start of OT), I started designing the ultimate supportive hiking tank top. 3 years ago I was sewing our scoop tank samples out of my spare room/studio and giving samples to friends. They hiked overseas, completed boot camp challenges, and burpee-d their way through the testing process giving me the feedback I needed to feel confident moving forward. I used scraps of those fabrics to make headbands to test the moisture-wicking properties of the fabrics I found and had testers fill out questionnaires to help me compile enough research to justify fabric choices. I tested custom prints, appliqué, labeling techniques, etc. for MONTHS before I felt confident enough to sell my tops.


After our initial launch in January 2020, I started working with a local cut/sew manufacturer to start developing the base of our original marble leggings, which then became the foundation of our base layers and bikers. I knew I wanted a solid foundation for our pants, so I started with limited quantities, got feedback from customers, and adjusted patterns as needed to get the perfect fit.  While we eventually parted ways with that manufacture to open our own microfactory, the time spent in those first few months were invaluable.

As our team grew, designs evolved as they do when working with a team of other creatives. Our current support tank was inspired by many things, but as our team developed samples, the goals of that original hiking tank were applied to this new designs.  We wanted women to have the option to wear a bra or not on the trail and not worry about their packs digging in to those straps. We got great feedback at market and continued to improve the design.

The 6 months leading up to our 2022 spring collection production, was full of adjusting designs, redoing patterns, and getting the rest of our fabrics. Yes. It took TWO YEARS for our team to get the fabrics we wanted.

Why didn’t we just scrap it and start over?  Because that’s wasteful. That’s what the fast fashion industry has conditioned us to do, when in reality, spending time perfecting and revising designs that can be used for several seasons is more sustainable.