It’s mid-January and you’ve made the resolution (which I’m sure you’ve forgotten about) to start playing Jiu-Jitsu, get that next belt, or even enter your first competition.  What better way to keep that going than buying a new gi!  Get that awesome competition gi you want, replace that old, stinky one that smells no matter how much soap and bleach you use or simply be the coolest kid on the mats!  Or just have something new to get choked out in…

5.  CTRLindustries

CTRL INDUSTRIES is the quiet but bold brand on the block.  They don’t try to overstate their products with designs of skulls and dragons, which I like.  Instead they look to pay homage to the places where the sport originated and took root.  Brazil is heavily themed.  The Rook is their gi for kicking off 2012 and looks pretty impressive.  I’m looking forward to 2012 and seeing where they take it CTRL in the next 12 months.

4.  The COMPETIDOR brand – Just Another Dope Brand

I found out about Competidor brand late last year and was super pumped about their designs.  They’re a Guam based brand that incorporates a kind of Asian-Fusion style of design into their gi’s and t-shirts.  The Guardian:  Charcoal Haze gi is pretty sic and definitely worth examining a little bit closer.  Guam has always taken great pride in their fighting and it’s nice to see that they’re taking great pride in their gi’s.  I’m looking forward to seeing their growth and expansion in the coming year.  I also love their love for the sport:  Rear-naked chokes served with a smile!  Check ’em out!

3.  Zombie Kimonos ~ Spread the Infection

Zombie Kimonos is really connecting with Hollywood and the current dig with the undead.  Zombieland, the Walking Dead, even the rash of zombie inspired books that have hit the market.  Why not do an undead theme?  Zombie Kimono’s was bought out last year and is under new management and is promising some new products over the next year.  We’ll see where Jesus Carlos takes them this year and watch their expansion into the market.  I’m looking forward to seeing their newest gi coming this year.  BRRAAIINNNNSSSS…..  er.. I mean..  OOOSSSSSZZZZZ……

2.  Scramble ~ No Jiu-Jitsu: No Life

I like Scramble.  They’re a UK brand that’s inspired by Japanese art.  It’s different.  It’s clean.  It’s straight-forward.  It’s fun!  They embrace the colors of yellow and purple and try to not take themselves too seriously.  It’s almost like they take the idea of a traditional Aikido kimono and incorporate that familia-style mindset into a modern Japanese tattooing style of art.  They also embrace new ideas.  Half-sleeved rash guards, for example.  Late last year we saw the release of the Ichiban.  What’s next?  I don’t know.  But I can’t wait!

1.  oriGIn:  In Search of the Perfect Roll

I really, really like Origin’s designs.  The small explosion of color in the right places makes all the difference.  Little pops of teal, or orange, or green against simple white or black make all the difference.  Reinforcement stitching but with design is going to be their money-maker.  That and Pete Roberts graphic-designer eye.  I would describe his style as calm, circles, and flow.  He get’s it.  He get’s Jiu-Jitsu.  You can’t push or pull – you have to circle out.  Bulldozing doesn’t work.  Roll baby, roll.  I also really dig the fact that they’ve produced kids gi’s.  Turns out my kid’s like to roll, too.

Comments
  1. Meerkatsu says:

    I would add Strike Fightwear into the mix. I’ve done a ton of designs for them and their energy and commitment to making their brand a success is impressive. I agree with your selection however only Competidor and CTRL Industries were new for late 2011 and will only really make their presence known in 2012. The others have had at least a year or more head start so hardly a ‘brand to watch out for’ this year as in my opinion, they have established themselves pretty well already.

    • Jonny says:

      Since CTRL and Competidor just busted out on the scene late last year I wanted to throw them out there. If you’re not looking for these “under the radar” brands you might never catch them. Strike Fightwear fits into that group as well. Strike Fightwear has done some things that the start-ups usually don’t do right out of the gate; that’s spats and a rash guard. A lot of folks come out and push their gi’s hard. The other side of the coin is that I haven’t heard anything about Strike FW’s gi’s. I didn’t even know they had gi’s until I went looking for them. Since I wanted to stick to just 5, I wanted to highlight the ones that had some sweet gi’s and were focusing on the traditional Jiu-Jitsu side of the house.

      Zombie re-invented themselves and had a change in ownership. Their owner is highly motivated, from what I can tell, to make this a major company. We’ll see how it plays out – but definitely worth watching.

      Origin started as a side project and has blown up. Sleek designs and a solid eye for what is functional are going to help it grow even further in 2012.

      Scramble could have been lumped in with Tatami as a major player in the gear market. The exception is their Japanese based styling which makes them stand out. They’re not going anywhere and because of that, I think they’re worth keeping an eye on.

      All in all, I’ll be watching more than just 5. Including Tatami, Strike Fightwear, and even Honey Badger Fightwear…

      • Jonny says:

        HAHA! Nice… release a sneak-peek of Strike Fightwears gi the day after I respond! I guess I get to swallow that pill, huh? Nice work on their gi, Meerkatsu! I’ll be watching…

  2. Jean says:

    New kid on the block Conspiracy Kimonos.
    Coolest prototype gi I have seen and rolled in some time.
    They are somewhere on Facebook but not sure if they have a site.

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