Inverting Gear: How our Rashguards are Designed

Inverting Gear: How our Rashguards are Designed

Ranked rashguards as we know them today were not really a thing until 2007 World Nogi Championships by the IBJJF. See, before then nogi tournaments were entirely run by experience divisions. So when Nogi Worlds came around there was much excitement to see guys like Ryan Hall, a purple belt at the time, compete against other purple belts. Instead of mixing it up in the advanced division in the north east circuit. At the first iteration of the Nogi Worlds and Nogi Pans you got a ranked rashguard that you had to wear, black belts were exempt, since back then there were only a few competitors with sponsors. By the next year the free ranked rashguards were gone, and a link to the tournament sponsors selling ranked rashguards were up.

I remember the first batches of ranked rashguards having heat printed logos that would start coming apart around your second roll in them. Rank-colored sleeves and solid color black body seemed the norm. And there really was not much choice. Back then the brands to choose from were either Koral, Keiko or Nogi. By 2013 there were more choices but still most companies followed the pattern of the original “IBJJF Legal” rashguards. 4 panel construction, front and back panel with the company logo, side panels with the rank. We did it too. Check out this BJJHQ deal from October 2013. Same look but with a sublimated design to withstand roll after roll.

We wanted to make something different next so Hillary and I came up with a solid color design, which was not very common back then. The IBJJF rule book was not clear on what was and what was not legal. Solid colors were legal, but then you could have a black or white rashguard with I believe at least 15% of the ranked color, (I always thought this arbitrary, and hard to enforce. Was a judge going to take measurements and break out a calculator? But what about a solid color and a percentage of black or white? So we shot the IBJJF rules committee the following email.

 We ordered these a few times. Between sales from our site and the BJJHQ deals, about 1000 of them were produced. I still have mine floating around somewhere. Logistics of ranked rashguards are tough. 5 ranks, 7 sizes (XS-3XL) make 35 variations. If you make them in short sleeve and long sleeve that makes 70 variations. The more variations, the more logistical problems arise. One, they take up a lot of room in a warehouse. Each size, color, and model gets a bin. Two, it’s very hard to keep all sizes of each model and rank in stock. And this is why sometimes some years we only make long sleeve ranked or vice versa. 

The following year we changed up to a solid design. We went with solid black and put our logo in the ranked color. We made them short sleeve. And this is probably my favorite design. By this time we had done away with the size tags in the collar and started printing them in the material itself. We kept this design around for a few years, doing our best to keep these, and the long sleeve ones stock.

In 2019 we revisited the panel design, this time with panda swag in the rank panel. We also went with an asymmetrical design, only one sleeve has the rank. This was a fun design, and we ended up running it in both short and long sleeve.

Which brings us to 2020. It’s been a hard year for manufacturing, factories were shut down, and then came back at partial capacity. Once they were in full capacity, international shipping has become a nightmare. But our design finally left the factory and will be arriving in our warehouse this week. We went back to the full body design idea. We changed the placement a bit, sent the panda to the back and kept only the lettering in our front panel. Really like how these came out and looking forward to wearing them soon!

Hopefully you enjoyed this look behind the scenes. Let us know if you like this kind of content? Which of our ranked rashguards is your favorite? Should we bring any of them back?