I finally saw some last week, so I thought I would fill you in. I was invited to tour the Beyond Clothing store in Seattle last week and the president (Rick Elder) spent about and hour giving me a tour of the facility, explaining his take on the brand and his vision as well as showing me some amazing technology that is going to truly change the higher end of the clothing industry. A week at the shot show with guns, lasers, bullets and rehashes of every good idea under the sun – but ultimately, not much new. On a whim in Seattle – performance outer wear visit – and there it is – something fundamentally different. I see a tactical utility in many things, but to me this is quality, high end tactical clothing you can wear anywhere.
How Custom Tactical Clothing is Made
Beyond was started in 1996 as a “custom” outdoor clothing company, with the hope of providing truly custom clothing solutions to outdoor enthusiasts. They were able to survive the recession, but growing a business like that would seem – well – impossible… There just aren’t that many people willing to pay for top of the line equipment, let alone pay the surcharge to have it custom made exclusively for them. The fact that they survived is a testament to ethos of quality that drew enough people who knew about, needed and were willing to pay for these quality products. Tactical Clothing’s future is here.
The real innovation is not the product. With an unlimited budget – anyone can grab top quality materials and a good seamstress and make a great product. Doing that on a scale that makes it to market is another story and what Beyond is doing – is just that. Materials are 100% custom made for Beyond by U.S. textile mills, which gives them the flexibility to stay at the forefront of innovation in material solutions. Labor is 100% sourced in the United States. Design, cutting and assembly is 100% done on site in Seattle by the same in-house labor force providing a completely integrated supply and production chain. Lastly – 100% of the garments are made to order – for that one person who ordered it, as well as many of the garments then being made available in standard sizing on the internet… Sounds just like the last time I went to REI – only completely different.Innovation in the tactical clothing market.
The product life-cycle is what makes it truly different. While Arc’Teryx is working frantically to get the 2016 line designed and ready for production, Beyond is looking to make improvements to options that will be shipped in the next 8 weeks. The distance from the body scanner (Yes – they have a body scanner, just like TSA only with out the incompetence) to accurately size clients, which gets transferred to a designers screen and then on to the cutting room, to the rows of sewing machines, to the seam taping stations, to the quality control table to the shipping department all in less than a football field. You could probably have a completely custom garment in less than an hour if you walked it though. Add a pocket on the left sleeve, make the zipper an inch longer, change a color and the material, and make in 43.5 inch chest with a 27.75 inch sleeve, and 34.4 inch waist – no delay, no difference and no problem – because it’s all made to order. The new face of tactical clothing.
Rick and his crew at beyond are putting out world class custom products at a price point that is competitive with top of the line performance gear. I just wish these guys were around when I used to need that kind of performance. Now, I’m just going to buy their stuff in some lame attempt to pretend I am still in good enough shape to put that type of strain on my equipment! Regardless, check them out – truly innovative process putting out a really amazing product and well worth the price. You can find out more at the Beyondclothing.com website. Custom Tactical Clothing.
~ Patrick Henry