A lot of cool cycling gear comes through the doors of the Canadian Cycling Magazine office, but few generate as much excitement as one that arrived from Giordana recently. We all gathered around as the tape was ripped off the box. What could make us this excited? It was new kit day for Canadian Cycling Magazine.

From deciding to order new apparel to taking to social media with #newkitday, there was a bit of work (and some fun) along the way. The process of ordering new kit is similar across most brands, the differences lie in the details. It started because it was time for Canadian Cycling Magazine to get into some new stylish team kit to rock on the road and the trails. After discussions with a few different brands, we decided to try out Giordana’s custom program this time around.

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Giordana has a pretty low 10-item minimum that we had no trouble reaching, but is something to consider if you have a very small team or order. We had to pick a level of kit from Giordana’s extensive range, which has options for most riders and riding conditions. With Giordana’s staff, we discussed fit, the materials involved, how much riding we tend to do and how long we’d like our team kit to stay current. We decided to try out their highest-end and newest offering, the FR-C Pro model bibs and jersey, the same used by Team Orica-Scott and Team Astana.

Designing the Canadian Cycling Magazine kit

Once we settled on the model of jersey and bibs, Giordana sent us templates in late May of the FR-C Pro line. The fun process of designing the kits could begin. While Giordana have an excellent team of in-house designers who can consult with you and present you with three design options, we worked with the same team who design our magazine and website. No one knows our look better.

While we were discussing kit options with Giordana, we were able to start preliminary discussions about graphics we wanted. No matter that custom kit manufacturer you use, get thinking early about design elements that you want. It will help guide designers, whether they are your own or the kit manufacturer’s.

Before you get down the finer details of the actual design, take note of elements that you and your team like in other jerseys. If you have specific colours in mind, will they work well on the kit? If not, give some thought to how get a cohesive design. What about team logos? How big and prominent do they need to be? Same goes with any sponsor logos, if you have any. Another consideration is how frequently do you anticipate changing the design of your team kit? If you change team kit every year or need it to last a few seasons, those differences will influence the design direction you take.

Our designers presented us with quite a few different options based on our initial discussions. A more extensive but similar process to what we would have done with Giordana’s design team. From the initial range of eight designs, we narrowed things down to two designs that everyone liked. A final round of voting gave us our winner. With that, we submitted the design to Giordana’s layout team.

Next, we definitely benefitted from experience and expertise of Giordana’s team. Within 24 hours of receiving our design, they anticipated a potential issue with our design. There were horizontal lines across the chest of the jersey. What works on a two dimensional computer screen doesn’t always translate when printed onto fabric and sewn into a garment. Giordana noted that some of the lines cross different panels, which may not line up on the actual garment. They suggested we shift them down the sleeves a bit to avoid the problem, sending us a rendering of the change, which we approved. Experienced insight on how things would look when the final kit was made is very valuable, not only to ensure we looked as suave as we hoped, but to avoid any feelings of disappointment.

We settled on navy blue kits. The jersey has a red collar. There are coloured horizontal lines only on the right side of the jersey and bibs, on the chest, sleeve and leg cuff. It’s a simple and striking design for a top-end performance kit, perfect for our most intense rides as well as café jaunts. We finalized the design. Giordana came back to us with one final design proof to confirm the colours. Once we gave final approval, the design went to Italy for production. The whole process with three rounds of proofs took a week.

Order

Our order was compiled in a Google Docs spreadsheet, which everyone was able to edit. Everyone selected the size and quantity he or she wanted. It was a streamlined process. For large teams, Giordana can set up an online shop to manage larger and more complicated orders, saving a team member the work of chasing everyone down, and keeping track of the order.

“Managing a big order is laborious so we open a private shop through our website with a deadline to make the pre-order,” said Bronko Glavich of Uno Imports. “We will also collect the funds once the order has been finalized. Whether the order is managed internally or in the shop, the biggest hurdle is getting members to go on and make their order. Everyone waits until the last minute.”

Once everyone had indicated size in our spreadsheet, a member of the Canadian Cycling Magazine team who was handling everything with Giordana double-checked the final numbers to ensure everything lined up before submitting it to the company. Checking and then double-checking the order is an important step to ensure you don’t end up with incorrect sizes.

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By early June, the order numbers were finalized and on June 6 the order form was submitted to Giordana. As this point a 50 per cent down deposit is do. Upon shipment of the order the rest of the payment is due. Approximately 10 weeks later we received the kit in the office. Giordana got our order in at one of the busiest times of the year, just before the factory shut down for the summer. Generally, they expect a six to eight week lead time after October. In low season orders take four to six weeks. Giordana offers free ground shipping on custom orders in Canada.

Giordana FR-C Pro kit

While we were able to hit the minimum number for kits easily, we were not a big enough team to hit the minimum for separate men’s and women’s kits, with different fit patterns. Here, Giordana went the extra mile by offering to stitch a female-specific chamois onto some of the bibs, so that the female members of our team were happily accommodated. In additional to jerseys and bibs shorts, we also ordered skinsuits for those who race cyclocross.

Giordana custom program checklist

  • Ensure you meet the minimums per style
  • Choose styles and clothing lines that suit your team’s needs
  • Use Giordana’s design team or your own to come up with a look for the kit
  • Receive the final proof and check colours, logos, etc.
  • Compile the order or, for bigger teams, ensure everyone uses Giordana’s online store
  • Double-check the order and do any revisions if minimums are not met
  • Submit the final order
  • Collect money from club members and make initial 50 per cent payment on the order
  • Wait for production time
  • Upon shipment, settle the remainder of the payment
  • Once you’ve received the kit, check that everything has arrived as ordered
  • Distribute the kit to your team or club members #newkitday