Knowing all the latest trends in the business, have made us an able partner in developing products from scratch. We enjoy developing undies and welcome any questions you may have.
There are many types of fabric out there, below are just the most commonly used for mens underwear.
To simplify things we can divide the fabrics into the below categories:
- Standard natural fabric blends
- Organic natural fabric blends
- Synthetic fabric blends
- Athletic and performance fabric blends
- Luxury fabric blends
Standard natural fabric blends
Cotton is the most commonly used fiber for underwear fabric in the world. It is soft, comfortable and breathes well. Cotton is usually mixed with spandex/elasthane to give it a better stretchability.
A type of extremely soft Cotton, treated with an extra production step in which short fibers are removed, and remaining fibers are straightened.
With longer fibers than Cotton, Pima Cotton is known for its durability and absorbency.
Supima® Cotton is the highest quality Cotton. It is made from long fibers, and provides a higher quality fabric than other Cottons.
Merino wool yarn is the softest wool yarn in the world. Merino wool is known for being insulating and moist wicking, while still being breathable.
Semi-natural fabric blends
Made from the pulp of bamboo grass, Bamboo fabric is light and strong. It has moist wicking features, is somewhat antibacterial, and is perfect for those with allergic reactions to other alternative fibers.
A manufactured fiber made of regenerated cellulose derived from plant materials, Rayon has a soft and comfortable Silk-like feel.
Organic natural fabric blends
Made from non-genetically altered plants, Organic Cotton is certified when grown without the use of agricultural chemicals.
Synthetic fabric blends
Microfiber can be any manufactured synthetic fiber (polyester or nylon.) Fabrics made with Microfiber are light-weight and durable, matching the qualities of natural fibers. Microfiber is also known for its moist wicking features.
An extremely durable synthetic fiber, Polyester has superb strength, resilience and generally does not wrinkle. It is quick drying, maintains shape and is known for it’s ability to hold color well.
Athletic and performance fabric blends
COOLMAX® is a series of specially engineered polyester fabrics with moisture wicking capabilities often used in active-wear. COOLMAX® fabrics are also resistant to fading, wrinkling and shrinking.
Luxury fabric blends
Once considered an “artificial silk,” Modal is a type of Rayon and is smooth, soft and breathes extremely well. An extremely luxurious fabric, it’s cool to the touch, absorbent and similar in texture to Silk or Cotton. Unlike Cotton, however, it is resistant to shrinkage and less likely to fade or pill.
MicroModal® is the Microfiber version of Modal and is perhaps more ideal for intimate apparel due to its superior softness.
When it comes to prints then there is often a lot of misconseptions about what is physically possible and what is economically feasible and a lot of time can be saved in the design process if you choose the printing method and print quality you want first and then design garments with set rules in mind.
As a rule of thumb you can´t print light colours on darker colours (unless we are talking surface prints like flock or rubber). You can get away with printing dark blue on a light yellow fabric but in almost all instances white fabric is used as the base layer as it gives your designer freedom to do whatever he or she pleases with no restrictions.
So if you imagine a print involving lighter colours then the whole surface has to be printed on white fabric. This way of printing demands a really smooth print made from the safest dyes possible and also it demands a print that scores very high on the colour fastness scale.
That´s why if you want to do printed underwear there´s no way, in our opinion, to get around reactive print. Reactive print has a superior hand feel and it scores between 4-5 on the garment industry colour fastness scale that goes to 5.
There is though a couple of cons:
Reactive print is made on a very large machine involving expensive rolls for each colour in the print so minimums are very high. Minimums on trunks are 6000 pcs per print. This is very high and even for some of the larger brands 1 style of print often doesnt reach that much. There are though ways of minimizing the added costs and still getting the number of styles you crave.
There are 2 seperate added fees when printing reactive. Print start up fee and fee per roll of colour. These fees will be a big part of the total cost of doing reactive print.
Before printing anything the machine has to be set up and this takes time and man hours so all reactive print facilities has a machine setup fee in case you are not reaching minimums.
Add to that and there´s an added fee per colour of the print. The colours are administered with a big roll per colour and the cost of making this roll will be added to your print costs.
The actual price of a reactive printed garment when the added print costs are taken away is slightly but not much more expensive than a solid colour garment and some multi coloured melange fabrics are actually more expensive than reactive printed fabric. It is the costs added if not meeting minimum quantities that makes this print expensive.
Currently the start up fee is around 500 USD and the price per colour 100 USD so a simple equation would be:
500 + (number of colours x 100) / (order quantity)
So an all over printed style with 3 different colours with a total of 800 pieces in order quantity would be:
500 + 300 = 800 / 800 = 1 USD / piece for the added print fees.
Reactive print is made as an all over print meaning that we will deliver a roll of fabric to the printing facility uncut and get the same roll back, still uncut, only now with the print administered to the fabric.
This makes it very difficult to do placement prints and as a rule of thumb this print method should be used only as an all over print.
Water print/Screen print.
On smaller quantities this is often seen as an affordable solution when doing all over prints and also as the only feasible solution if making larger placement prints. This print is made by pressing colour through a fine masked screen which is eather done by hand or by a machine.
The print is not expensive and for smaller quantities often the only available solution.
Water prints/Screen prints often tend to feel stiff to the touch. A solution for this is to add a softener but adding too much softener to the garment will influence the color fastness of the print.
We do not recommend using this print, it will look great in the shop but after a few washes it will leave your garment looking faded.
Rubber print is a very thick and durable rubbery print which is great for smaller placement prints and is often used in childrens clothes.
Very lasting colours and if done in a good quality will never fade and will never crack. Also this print method allows you to print white on black.
For underwear production it is not very often used as it can feel uncomfortable if it is too big.
Flock print is a print where small fibers are administered to the printed surface and made to stand up using electricity in the production process. This print will, as the only print, give you a 3D effect and you can print white on black.
Flock is a great alternative to rubber print on smaller placement prints and not too expensive.
If the print becomes too large it can feel uncomfortable on a pair of undies.
Discharge is when you pull out the dye already in the fabric. This will enable you to print lighter colours on top of darker fabrics.
In cases where you would like to have a dark fabric as a base layer and a lighter pattern on top and flock or rubber print is not doable do to the size of the print then this is the only way to go. Some brands also just use this technique as a cool looking effect, without adding colour after discharging the fabric.
If you want to add colours after discharging the fabric basically has to be printed twice, meaning that a hand printed screen print is the only way to do it, as a roller print wont be accurate enough if it has to be run through the machine twice.
Also discharging the fabric makes it more porous and if large patches are discharged this can make the fabric susceptible to tearing.
When choosing the right waistband for your product there are a lot of consideration to do. Some brands have super soft micro nylon bands that feels like silk while others prefere a more rugged waistband with or without cotton which feels more like denim.
There´s also the price to consider. While some waistbands can be added to the product for 0,2 USD/pcs, other waistbands can be above 0,6 USD/pcs.Some waistbands are only 3 cm in height, and some are 5,5 cm. The increace in height is followed by a similar increace in price.
The price doesnt necessarily equate quality, but if you are going for the super soft silky band then they do tend to be very expensive, but also a great way to add exclusivity to your product.
At KAMA we have an exciting cooperation with one of the leading suppliers of waistband in the price friendly Fujian province, where we can guarantee the quality of even the best Guangdong suppliers, and still save our customers a fair amount.
All our waistbands are made on imported Santorini machines with up to as much as 1000 needles. The allows for some very crisp and detailed jacquards. As a rule of thumb then each colour in the band will become a layer in thickness so usually a two colour waistband is the prefered choice.
When waistband is ordered it usually comes folded together in one long piece The distance between logos, if placement is needed, will be just long enough to fit the largest size of underwear in production. This results in approximately 10 % wastage, in total, as there will be more cut off on the smaller sizes. Also there will be extra work involved cutting the band, as you will need to cut twice as many times. To save on costs, many brands choose to have a logo with a short fixed distance, all the way around the garment.
If you need, please let us know if you want to receive a few samples for inspiration when developing.
We have been producing and developing packaging in all shapes and sizes, for as long as we have been doing undies, so we are of course more than happy to be of assistance in this area as well.
We can quote you a ball park figure in a matter of days from just a brief description of an idea, and we can suggest changes in material or shape that would suit your needs perfectly if needed.
Besides from special promotional items we usually produce underwear packaging in three different categories: paper/cardboard, hard plastics, soft plastics and often a combination of two or all three of these.
From your simple waterfall packaging to hard boxes covered in italian paper, this category has something for all price ranges. We can supply all thinkable surface effects like heat pressed foil, UV laquer, precision cut outs, prints and embossing.
Made in either PVC or EVA, soft plastics make for great underwear packaging. A lot of brands use these kind of bags with a plastic zipper on the side. These bags can be made printed, see through, frosted or coloured all after request.
Usually made in PVC or PET hard plastic boxes are a very versatile packaging product. Combined with inner cardboard and stickers this kind of packaging can be made to look very exclusive at a fair price.