RTQ Apparel is setting aside a full month for wear testing our first two garments before we launch to the public. We are looking for honest and open feedback from a key group of women to ensure the product we plan to sell is meeting all of the standards we’ve put in place, and nobody is having major issues with fit or functionality.
As we plan to receive our wear test garments in January of 2023, we’ll package and ship all of the testers their kits before February 1, 2023. A small, virtual launch party will be held the first weekend in February to celebrate the kick-off of this important stage of our process, and then testing will be under way!
So what the heck is a wear test and what does it entail?
Many of the best apparel brands throughout the world will incorporate this process into their calendar, and it’s a set amount of time for them to work with a chosen group of ideal customers to receive their feedback and thoughts on the pieces. Some brands employ full-time teams just for organizing and implementing wear tests, and the feedback they receive can be the most important part of their development timeline. Other brands figure out how to incorporate the tasks into existing teams’ workload while others choose to hire contractors to take on the additional work.
As apparel developers and designers, we tend to get tunnel vision when working on new products. We’re so intimately familiar with the products in design reviews, fittings and presentations that we have a hard time seeing the details objectively. We can forget how the garments will feel or look to our target audience, and we only see the issues the garment once had and the improvements that have been made.
Wear tests can take anywhere from a week to a year. All of this will depend on the size of the brand and the timeline that they’ve put in place. Larger companies can build in so much more time and process into wear testing than smaller brands because they can develop early, hire more people to take on these extra tasks and some even pay their wear testers as brand experts or ambassadors.
RTQ Apparel will be holding this initial wear test in just a month. We’re really pleased to be able to offer the test kit for free to our testers as payment, which is not always possible for small start-up brands. We will be asking 20 women of all different shapes and sizes to wear and wash their test garments at least 4 times in a month. Ideally, that would be once a week but we’ll be super happy if the team can wear them even more. In just a month, it is difficult to insist that everyone travel at least once in the garments, but we are trying to choose testers who travel often to fit in some airport security testing and in-flight testing as well.
In regular surveys, the testers will be asked to rate and give feedback on fit, functionality, construction and advise on any issues they’ve seen with the garments. Did any of the stitching break or pop? How is the heat transfer label holding up to washing? Are the garments too tight or too loose anywhere? Do any of the seams feel scratchy or irritating? What are they using their pockets to store?
At the end of the month’s testing, the RTQ Apparel team will compile all of the feedback and apply any necessary updates to future production runs. We can make improvements and changes to ensure that the items going out to the world after we fully launch the brand are the best they can be!